The Creative Doodle Book Project

Bradford’s Mind The Gap Theatre Company has partnered with York St John University to develop a creative, hands-on resource. The joint digital arts ‘Creative Doodle Book’ Project is destined to support community groups and give vulnerable and marginalised people access to the arts and to creativity.

Matthew Reason, Professor of Theatre & Performance at the University, first developed The Doodle Book in 2019, collaborating with Mind The Gap, with the aim of encouraging the Theatre Company’s learning disabled artists to become more independent and to reflect on their theatre practice. In 2020, The Doodle Book proved invaluable during a pilot of distance delivery with the artists.

“When lockdown hit, we had to drastically adapt our activities and find different ways to connect with our artists. We needed to continue providing opportunities for positive creative expression and connection,” says Mind the Gap’s Senior Producer Deborah Dickinson.

Deborah Dickinson. Photograph by Les Parkinson

“Together with access champions Totally Inclusive People, we began online sessions using the Doodle Book – they were an instant success and we felt it was important to roll it out further and give others access to this fantastic resource.”

When the pilot scheme has concluded, it is hoped the Doodle Book will provide a model for inclusion at distance, allowing access for people who would otherwise be excluded from digital arts activity. The only hardware required is either a laptop or a mobile phone.

“The pandemic has been particularly hard on organisations working with marginalised or vulnerable people,” says Professor Matthew Reason.

Professor Matthew Reason

“During ‘normal’ times, the arts have a vital role in supporting resilience through providing opportunities for positive creative expression. During the Covid19 crisis, it is even more vital to find ways for everyone to express their creativity in community contexts and find digital solutions.”

The Creative Doodle Book Project is free, and the team is looking for more community groups with whom to collaborate over a four-week period between mid-January and July 2021.

They will receive:

– support from Access Champion Vicky Ackroyd

– a Doodle Book for each group member

– up to four online interactive activity sessions

– models for working on and offline or across the two

– access to online resources

“We are very excited to be able to deliver this free project to those who need it and will benefit from it,” concludes Deborah.

“We aim to provide evidence of the importance of creativity to support wellbeing and personal agency particularly during a time of extreme uncertainty.”

The deadline for application is March 31st

Interested groups should contact [email protected]

For more information visit here.

Leeds Living