North Lanarkshire young people dip into canalside history through digital art

Fri 02nd November 2018

In Coatbridge, young people are working with Impact Arts as part of a unique new project
mixing digital art, employability skills and the heritage of North Lanarkshire’s
Monkland Canal.

Fifteen unemployed young people aged 16-25 are working at
Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life with artists Emmett McSheffrey and
Sarah Hill as part of the Creative Waterways project.

Working in an environment steeped in history of life by the
canal, the group will be dabbling in photography, filmmaking,
animation and sound design, working towards designing an exhibition and
canalside light show for Thursday 13th December 2018.

In the meantime they will be getting support from Impact
Arts employability staff to work out what they would like to do after the
programme, whether in employment, education or further training.



In the opening weeks of the project, the tutors have been
encouraging the young people to throw themselves into creative tasks and get
rid of the anxiety that can be involved in first putting pen to paper.

Timed drawing activities using chalk, felt pen, pencils and
silhouettes were a quick way of getting the group expressing their own unique
styles, getting the creative juices flowing and breaking down that initial

The team were also introduced to the digital component of
the course through workshops in Miksang
, a form of contemplative photography emphasising an open way of seeing the world.

The weather and surroundings at Summerlee really lent
themselves to this exercise, as the group spent a morning in the Autumn sunshine
looking for colour, pattern, light, shadow and interesting juxtapositions.



Many participants were using a DSLR camera for the first
time, and this was an opportunity to get used to its feel and function as well
as getting them thinking visually about the world around them.

Scottish Waterways Trust are funding and supporting the
Creative Waterways programme, and Claire from SWT also treated the young people
to a workshop by the canal.

The group dipped nets into the Monkland canal to sample the
wildlife living just beneath the surface, before identifying the creatures they
found using a pictorial chart. The group discovered more than ten creatures and
from this could tell that the water – if a bit smelly – was very clean.

“I think we’ve done the best because we’ve found the most
creatures,” said participant Nina. “We need to come back next year to see what
some of them have grown into.”



The programme will be continuing with further research into
the history of the area and developing photography workshops. Much more to come
as the group build towards the big exhibition in December!

Creative Waterways is funded by Scottish Waterways Trust,
YouthLink Scotland, the Big Lottery Fund’s Our Bright Future initiative,
Bairdwatson Charitable Trust, CashBack for Communities and the Scottish

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