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Finding beauty in the unexpected: Creative Pathways North Ayrshire

A new block of Creative Pathways in North Ayrshire is off to a strong start with an inquisitive, enthusiastic and engaged group of young people taking part in creative workshops in Irvine.

The group - all aged 16-17 and not currently in employment or education - will be working with artists Ruth and Christine for 12 weeks, learning artistic techniques, creating artwork through experimenting with unusual and unexpected materials, and thinking about environmentally-themed interventions and installations.

Upon beginning the programme, the group discussed the concept of "the environment" and some specific themes: namely urban spaces, boring places, atmosphere, memories, and how to challenge stereotypes associated with the environmental movement (going beyond blue bins and co-called "greenwashing").



The team also discussed art and creativity more generally, and the differences between the two ideas. As participant Matthew aptly noted, “art is an expression of creativity”.

The group began by making marbled paper to use as covers for handmade sketchbooks, which will serve as a place for notes, doodles and records of their research out in the field over the next few months.

By the end of week one, the young people self-organised an outdoor exploration in Irvine to take pictures of details in the environment they find interesting. They decided an important consideration is the fact that the environment and place means something different to everyone.



The second week of the programme focused on quick practical experiments using scavenged and scrap wood. The group was given different briefs: make the tallest sculpture, the widest elevated sculpture, a sculpture with the most volume, etc. They then progressed into thinking about aesthetics: what makes something beautiful or ugly? Can this influence how people feel about a place?

Looking ahead, the young people will be taking their materials outdoors and seeing how they can use their newfound creative skills to transform local spaces.

We still have a few spaces on this programme! Are you aged 16-17 and not currently in education, employment or training? Do you live in North Ayrshire? Want to develop your creative skills? Want to earn £55 per week (plus travel) as you do so?

Participants will get invaluable hands-on experience of digital art, graphic design, photography and more, while learning about environmental issues and working as a team to organise a showcase and exhibition event.

Those taking part will also get advice on CVs, job-hunting, next steps, and have the opportunity to complete an SQA Stage 3 award in Employability.

If you are interested and would like to discuss the programme further, please contact Impact Arts Programme Manager Jamie Proudfoot on 0141 575 3001 / 07741 640 417 or email

Funding and support for the project comes from Skills Development Scotland, Our Bright Future, the Big Lottery Fund, Inspiring Scotland and the Gannochy Trust.


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