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Harnessing young people’s creativity through animation

We were approached by the national film club organisation Into Film to deliver an animation project called ‘See It, Make It’ in local schools.Our Project Manager Steph worked with talented freelance artist Hannah Fox, who f​or 25 years has created images, characters and performances worldwide and has worked with radical art organisations. They delivered 18 workshops at Yarlside Academy in Barrow, Leven Valley in Backbarrow and Staveley Primary school in Staveley.

Steph and Hannah worked together, as a creative team, to produce animation workshops for 18-20 young people at a time.

Hannah said: “Working with children and young people in rural Cumbria has been full of challenges. With such large groups, you have to find ways to keep every participant interested and involved during slow processes, which is the nature of animation. What we were trying to get across to them is that creativity really is in their fingertips, and that no idea is beyond the possibilities of creation. Want to show a skyscraper bursting out of a teapot? Ok. No problem!

The good thing is that everyone can be involved, whatever their skills. Filmmaking is all about hard work, persistence, and patience, but putting in the effort gets results at the end of the day, which is incredibly gratifying for the participants. For one student, Tom, the project had a profound impact. At first he was incredibly shy, but the filmmaking grabbed him and he participated in a way not normally forthcoming to him. We asked him to speak out, to take the lead on certain things, to help with younger children.

The varied and practical nature of the project meant that he didn’t have the time to stop and worry, and he really excelled.” It was great to work with students in an area of rural isolation who have less direct access to the arts. Little professional work comes to their doorsteps, so projects like this are a great way to open up access to culture. Through the media many rural kids think that ‘creative people’ are elsewhere, in cities. Projects like See It, Make It demonstrate that we are all creative, valid, and unique, and we can all make brilliant work, whoever we are, where ever we are.

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