When we started Element, we knew that we wanted to put partnership and collaborative working centre stage: if there’s one thing that both the social care and the arts sector would benefit from, it’s interconnected working. We also believe that joining and completing an Element project should not be seen as an end in itself, but a springboard onto further engagement in the arts and beyond. As such, have worked with iconic cultural institutions like the National Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre to support Element alumni into further creative opportunities; as well as referring alumni onto specialist employment organisations.
Over the past year, we’ve been busy working on how we might be able to expand and strengthen our offer to Element young creatives who finish a project with us. Whilst chatting with our Youth Advisor (and former Element participant) Ash, we all came up with an exciting idea: what if we could offer a paid internship with the Element team to an Element young creative? It would enable the intern to develop their skills in facilitation, in project planning, and in youth work. It would also give the Element team a heap to learn about how a former participant perceives the organisational structure and design of an Element project; and give us all the opportunity to collaborate on fresh new content.
With the support of the London Community Foundation we have been able to launch our first ever Element internship this summer. After an application and interview process, the job went to Aisha. Of course she’s brilliant, but rather than write about her ourselves, here she is in her own words:
If you were an art form, what art form would you be and why?
If I was an art form I’d be one of Turner’s sunset landscape paintings. Turner’s paintings on the beach, project so much warmth and tranquility and I believe my end goal in life is to live in a peaceful environment where it is warm with nice scenery.
What are you up to at the moment, other than the Element summer internship?
At the moment, I am job-hunting and flat-hunting as I am hoping to moving into a new flat this summer. Additionally, I am working on my dissertation proposal for my third year at University.
How do you think studying at university has affected your own creativity?
I study Psychosocial studies currently and hope to do an MA in Art Therapy in the near future. However, because my course is more theory based and the Art Therapy Modules were brief, I feel like creatively my course has pushed me to encourage others to get creative rather than practicing art in my own time. For example, last year me and my friend set up our own Art Workshops /Projects to do with children in their local community.
Why do you think creative expression is important?
I strongly believe that it is important to practice creative expression because it acts as an alternative way to communicate ones deeper feelings, emotions and beliefs. I think of it as speaking another language, which could be through Art, Music and Drama. I think it is great because this can be shared with others or kept to oneself, but either way there is no limit to how you express yourself and where that expression ends.
What are you most looking forward to learning from the internship?
I am most excited to be working with young people between the age of 16-25 years old as I am used to working with children and babies. I look forward to learning the different ways to communicate with this age group and seeing the differences in how they interact with each other and myself. As well as developing leadership skills.
What are you most looking forward to teaching the Element team?
I look forward to contributing my own ideas and thoughts and discussing them with Element team. I hope that some of my ideas will be used in Element’s future projects and workshops.
And finally … Best three things about summer?!
Hot Weather, Relaxation, Quality time with friends and family!