Taking a leap of faith to co-produce knowledge using participatory arts-based methods

Harriet Rowley (MMU) and Rachel Massey (Yorkshire Sculpture Park) shared some of their work and thinking coming out of their collaboration on ‘Leap of Faith’, a six-month co-produced social engagement project. Working with women from diverse backgrounds, through two Yorkshire charities, Ashiana and Kirklees Women’s Centre, the project brought together a lot of diverse experiences including therapeutic sessions with horses, group visits to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, working with artist Kate Genever to make memory boxes and blankets, and inspiration from Katrina Palmer’s artwork The Coffin Jump (YSP, 2018).

Throughout the project, relationships, memories and experiences seemed to shift, something special happened, though it is difficult to express this in words. Harriet and Rachel talked about the powerful connection with the horses, and also the unique size and scale of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Kate Genever’s work in holding the room, was also important in creating a safe space for new things to be experienced or experimented with. In this way, care seemed central to the work of the project. Harriet and Rachel reflected that learning can happen at points of being unsettled; building trust then moving as a group from a familiar location to an unfamiliar one such as Yorkshire Sculpture Park, might be one example of what this process can look like.

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