The global pandemic has highlighted the importance and centrality of arts and creativity in all our lives and we have been amazed by the incredible energy and resilience of group members and the phenomenal creativity and versatility of the DIY freelance team. Long periods of uncertainty have meant we have had to use our improvisation skills and creativity more than at any other time. The following month by month run-down of just some of the things we’ve done since March 2020 is evidence of this.
The past year and a half has been challenging, distressing and disorientating for all of us. Many have lost loved ones and we have all struggled with the restrictions and uncertainties of the pandemic and successive lockdowns.
DIY has kept going during this difficult time because we knew it was essential that we continued to offer creative opportunities to connect and support peoples’ health and wellbeing during this time. We have been regularly working with 28 core members and participants but have reached many more through events, education and outreach activities throughout the Pandemic.
DIY face-to-face activities stopped overnight. We responded by setting up one to one phone calls and creative resource packs sent out by post to all our members and regular participants. This combination of phone calls and resource packs continued until Spring 2021 when all our members and regular participants had been supported to get online.
DIY Launched our Create & Connect Page on our website to support people to create and connect at home, even though we were unable to do so in person. Take a look at our Create & Connect resources page.
We started our very first weekly Zoom sessions and supported the first group of DIY members to access Zoom. As time went on we were able to start running all our regular sessions on Zoom and to support everybody to get online through our Digital Inclusion project.
At first I didn’t like Zoom because all I could see was a small little box but every time I’ve come on Zoom I’ve got more confident and got used to seeing people in little boxes.”
– DIY Young Leader
DIY members worked hard to create two new songs about the Lockdown: ‘Always Connecting’ and ‘We’re All in this Together’ about members’ experiences of lockdown. Peoples’ voices were recorded down the phone!
DIY premiered our film “I wish Everything Was Back to Normal” Working online with film maker Hilary Easter-Jones, individual DIY members recorded sections which were brought together in this film. The film gives members’ personal views of their experiences of Lockdown. Find out more about the premier in our news item from the time or why not view the film on YouTube.
Our special “Senses of Summer” resource pack was sent out to help people keep creative during the Summer break. As our plans for live performances of our Following Patient 36 show were shelved for the foreseeable future, we made an interactive story book as our way of sharing our work. Visit our Following Patient 36 show page to find out more.
DIY toured 3 Festivals in 3 days – we toured the country: Kicking off at Manchester Histories Festival, then down to Watford to perform at Enrich Festival then up to Gateshead to join the Lawnmowers for Connect LD+ … and all without leaving Manchester.
Patient 36 went down amazingly and we feel so special that you allowed us to show it!”
– Eloise, Enrich Festival Organiser.
It feels good to get my Silver. I put in a lot of hard work. It was difficult doing it during Lockdown. Big thumbs up from me!”
We celebrated some great Arts Award success with Amy completing her Gold Arts Award and Scott and Adam both completing their Silver Arts Award as part of the Passing the Baton Young Leaders Programme. Read more in our news from the time.
We launched two online resources. The first was the Launch of Circus Tricks Animations & Resources by our Passing the Baton Programme. This resource for sensory learners was piloted at Springwood School and Chatsworth High School. Go to our Circus Resources page to find out more and access this free resource.
Due to Lockdown our learners had missed the opportunity to complete their Discover Arts Award as usual. Circus Tricks meant that they were able to catch up on this learning.”
– Sadie Smith, Teacher, Chatsworth High School
We also launched our Following Patient 36 Resources as part of UK Disability History Month and trialed the of resources at Loretto High School and Manchester Hospital School. Find out more look at our news item from the time or visit the Following Patient 36 Resources page.
To mark the festive season we released our very own Christmas song “We Shall Overcome”. We also created our DIY Calendar – full of images from all our activities during the year. Visit DIY’s vimeo to sing along with our Christmas version of “We Shall Overcome”
iPads and routers were distributed to all DIY members who needed them. We set up our Digital Inclusion project including one to ones and small group sessions as well as weekly “Let’s Get Digital” sessions to enable people to develop their skills.
We hosted on online Event called “Let’s Connect” as part of Manchester International Festival’s “My Festival” programme, see more in our news publicising the event.
We ran a series of six sessions with students on the University of Manchester’s Performance Practice Course.
A second full term of Zoom sessions came to an end, including the second New Skills New Choices course. Group members explored choices and aspirations, not just for themselves but for the city of Salford as a whole. They used a range of theatre techniques to come up with solutions to problems and practiced creative ways of pitching them to gain funding. See more in our news piece “Our Salford – Made Perfect!”
DIY’s launched our “It Does Make a Big Difference” film and a series of 4 short tweets as part of our Digital Inclusion programme – to support others to give digital a go. Read more in our news piece “It does made a big difference!”
Dancing in the river
Smell the flowers
Animals can drink and swim.”
– Excerpt from the audio trail.
DIY’s Tuesday Group started working on an audio sculpture trail for Peel Park.We worked in partnership with Peel Park Rangers Service and Unlimited Headroom to create this trail which was launched in June 2021. Read more about the Sound Sculpture Trail for Peel Park.
DIY’s Friday Group Launched our of “Enjoy Your Time Online” film as part of our Leaders With Lived Experience Initiative. Read more about how DIY helped others to overcome their digital monsters.
DIY Core Company members started meeting face to face as part of our Inside: Outside project in Peel Park. We launched our Sculpture Trail at an event and had some fantastic inputs from a range of Outdoor Arts Specialists.
We completed a Healthy Schools Transition Project in Partnership with Chatsworth High School and Springwood Primary School.
During August 2021 we will all be taking a well-earned break from DIY but are looking forward to returning in September with lots of exciting new projects and opportunities.
In the meantime DIY would like to thank all the amazing members, artists, supporters, volunteers and partner organisations who have made it possible for us to continue creating and connecting during the pandemic. We would also like to thank our funders whose flexibility and continued support have enabled us to adapt and respond to the situation as it developed:
• National Lottery Community Fund • Arts Council England • Salford CVS • GMCA • NHS Salford CCG • Workers Education Authority (WEA) • European Social Fund (ESF) • National Lottery Heritage Fund • Community Learning at Salford City College • Salford City Council • National Lottery Heritage Fund • Youth Music •