Creative Challenge – it’s all making sense!

Week three of the Creative Challenge project saw the third, and final, session for Mab Jones. In her previous sessions, Mab had taken the group through a range of activities, including changing song lyrics based on people’s personal experiences and using different writing styles to create poetry.

Session three looked at memories, objects, senses and sharing of experiences. The games used in these early sessions had helped to ease the group members into each workshop, grow in confidence and become more comfortable with each other. The first ice-breaker used in this latest session was based on personal memories and opinions. With a particular statement relating to a number on a dice, each group member rolled a dice and said what that statement meant to them. These included ‘a time when I was sad’, ‘a time when I was happy’ and ‘if I was an object, what would I be’? Simply sharing feedback with each other, ensured the group settled well and looking forward to the rest of the session.

Perhaps a less obvious aim of Creative Challenge is to equip people with different and, in some cases, new communication skills. Mab was stretching the group to think differently and mindfully, to challenge thoughts. This can help people to feel empowered and more confident, which is vital when someone tries to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination.

The next game saw the group talk about objects of personal significance and then, doing so, based on senses. This meant you couldn’t simply say what an object was for, or what the word rhymed with or what letter it started with, but had to think of how it would look, feel, smell, taste and whether it made any sound. Try it – it’s not as easy as you might think!

Then it was down to writing timelines, with points in your life punctuated by objects of personal significance. We all remember things that were important to us as children, when we’re growing up and as adults, some from significant events such as the first day of school, graduation, moving home, getting married or a child being born. From their timelines, each group member was asked to write a poem on one of the objects, using as many senses as possible to describe why the object was important.

Considering this was all achieved in two hours, with a group that had only met twice before, was some going. There were laughs along the way, as some of the group members explained why they chose their objects, including a bicycle, a record player, a tattoo and a ring belonging to a grandmother.

The group will take the experiences of the first three weeks of Creative Challenge into the next phase – digital storytelling. Each group member has been asked to bring along a photo that tells a story. Watch this space, as the next part of Creative Challenge takes shape.

Creative Challenge is a project run by Making Minds that is funded by Time to Change Wales. The project is using different forms of art and creativity to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination. Sessions are run at New Horizons, in Aberdare.

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