Alchemy Leadership Programme – Boston: cultural solutions – David Lambert / Leanne Taylor
As a Locally based partner (LBP), Cultural Solutions are using EMBridge investment to develop a young people’s strand of the Home Office funded Alchemy Project. The project aims to bring individuals and groups together through positive cultural activities and in so doing assist in the avoidance of Hate Crime in Boston and the surrounding area. As the future of the area, young people are key in this process and the LBP project is supporting them to lead the way.
Initially the LBP project is working with groups of young people from ethnic minority backgrounds (mainly Eastern European) and non ethnic minority backgrounds, using creativity to stimulate creative thinking and inspiration for the project. Current groups include young people from Haven High School, Boston College’s English as an Additional Language (EAL) course and the Boston Police Cadets. This diverse mix of settings has enabled Cultural Solutions to explore the racial tensions which have arisen since 2004 with the expansion of the EU and support the young people to start to construct creative pathways to a more socially cohesive community.
The first creative intervention took place with the Police Cadets on 24th April 2013 with input from Boston Police and Boston Borough Council. The session provided the Cadets with active hands-on experience of working with graffiti artist James Mayle using riot equipment donated by the police as a canvas. Alongside this, Cultural Solutions undertook informal consultation with the young people and, following the session, the young people were able to reflect and evaluate the session through a questionnaire. The original activity and stimulating environment created by James supported the young people to open up about their interests and talents, surprising not only themselves but also each other, with the hidden talents they revealed. To build their creative skills the young people have identified a number of art forms which they wish to experience as part of the project such as DJ-ing. Their confidence and creative knowledge will also be supported through team building activities and access to arts and cultural festivals across the area. Skills and knowledge will then be shared with the other young people groups as they are brought together and supported to influence a cultural programme for Boston which supports a more cohesive community.
“It was a great opportunity to find an alternative role for the standard police issue public disorder protective equipment, which involved constructive thought and fun, as opposed to destructive action. It was great fun and I have no doubt that when all the decorated items are put on public display at various functions, they will prove to be a topic for discussion. The project also helped to address some popular misconceptions in a positive and interactive manner aimed at young people. It was their idea which they worked with and developed, not some idea imposed upon them".
PC Martyn Chamber – Police Cadet Liaison Officer
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with David and Leanne from Cultural Solutions, alongside other members of the Alchemy Project, within the Boston area for over a year now and when they both pitched the idea to me about working with a group of young people on a new arts and culture project I knew exactly the group of young people they should work with. David and Leanne set up a taster session with a local graffiti artist and we provided the Police Cadets, venue and canvas for their produced artwork. As I’m sure you will see not your usual type of canvas!!! Without informing the cadets anything about the night’s activities we introduced David, Leanne and James and then left them to it and from the feedback we have received after the night everyone of them really enjoyed the activities and wants to get involved in more. Their finished artwork will now be displayed in the foyer of Boston Borough Council; Within the Senior Management corridor at Boston Police Station; Displayed for all the police cadets parents and friends at a ceremony in the Council Chamber at Boston Borough Council in June and will take pride of place at Boston Stump in September for the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the creation of the Boston Police Cadets.”
- Peter Hunn – Police Cadet Liaison Officer
"The police cadets really enjoyed the graffiti workshop and created some very clever pieces of artwork using old police shields and helmets. Initially the shields were the favourite choice but once their imaginations started to flow the helmets soon were the preferred canvas for their graffiti."
- Donna Brewer – Police Cadet Liaison Officer
“I loved the graffiti workshop because I have never done it before but once we started I didn't want to stop and my creative side came out a lot. I would love to do it again some time :D.”
- Lucy Brocklesby – Boston Police Cadet
"The graffiti workshop was a good chilled out environment everyone could enjoy! Very good night and good team work skills :)"
- Section Leader Christian Martin – Boston Police Cadet
"The graffiti workshop was a great night! Each section was able to get together and produce a fantastic piece of art. Very thankful of having the opportunity to do it :)"
- Section Leader Emily Cooke – Boston Police Cadet
David Lambert / Leanne Tayloe