- Young People,
Sheila Ghelani began working with young people from St Helens Young Carers Centre at the beginning of 2020, delivering a series of drop-in art workshops. Activities included photography, collage, drawing, dancing and lots of conversation over snacks and drinks. The aim was to work towards making something to share publicly in the summer that related to the theme of heads and hands - a topic that emerged out of an early research visit. Questions that the group spent time exploring included:
What do you hold in your head?
What do you hold in your hands?
What moves would a Young Carer’s TikTok be made up of?
What would a safe space for teenagers look like?
The project then paused in April due to Covid, but in September Sheila began working on a suitable approach to moving ideas forward again.
Following a series of conversations between the artist, group organisers and the young people, and in response to the pandemic, a decision was taken to create an artwork that would take the form of a creative care package - something that might care for the Young Carers themselves. Each item within the pack would still relate closely to the project’s original theme and include the work of the young people to date, but would also adapt slightly into this new form to accommodate the new circumstances. In total ninety-seven care packages would be created and delivered to Young Carers aged between 16-18yrs living in St Helens.
Each care package contains:
For the head -
A pulse point roller ball to aid sleeping and dreaming
A notebook for thoughts, drawing up plans and special schemes
A pencil to write stories, or just doodle and sketch with
A water bottle to provide brain fuel and aid with clear thinking
A Hot chocolate drink to mix up in a cup - a bit of a treat when sipped really slowly....
For the hands -
A precious stone for holding / healing
Gloves for warmth (and texting friends / googling)
Aloe Vera hand-cream to soothe and protect
Some crayons and pictures to colour-in (and help with calming / relaxing).
And... last but not least, to grip and to hold, an It’s Cool to Be Kind tote bag created by St Helens artist, Kate Hodgson in collaboration with young people leaving care.
To wrap up each care package a specially designed double-sided piece of print and bespoke sticker has also been created. On one side of the print is a drawing by artist Millie Chesters inspired by documentation and descriptions of the workshops from Sheila, and on the other side are a selection of the participants photographic work. Two postcards have also been made featuring photos taken during the workshops.
"Hello Young Carers, I began working with some of you, at the beginning of the year delivering a series of drop-in art workshops. The project paused during the summer due to covid, but in September it began again. Following a series of conversations between myself, group organisers and some of you, a decision was taken to create an artwork that would take the form of a creative care package - something that might care for you a Young Carer... So that’s what we’ve done..."
Animated 'This Head, These Hands' wallpaper for smartphone (various formats)
'This Head, These Hands' wrapped paper
About St Helens Carers Centre
The charity (established in 2000) supports unpaid carers looking after someone who lives in the St Helens area. There are an estimated 22,500 adults and 2,500 young people and children in St Helens supporting someone living with an illness or disability or a mental health need. This is often done out of love or friendship and they do not get paid.