Novus National Lead for Creative Strategies, Sarah Hartley, has recently been featured in an international panel of speakers as part of the We Bear project for the Coventry Biennial.
Changing lives through arts-focused education
The project, We Bear, features art from prisoners across the UK and now America. Participants were asked to respond to images of chained bears and present their reflections in any artform they saw fit. Novus learners produced works like sculptures and paintings, and written statements that went alongside the artwork to express their intention and thoughts on the project.
The initiative was inspired by the limited amount of time out of cell that prisoners were allowed during the pandemic. “During the pandemic and throughout the lockdowns, thinking creatively about how we reached our learners was challenging. They were incredibly isolated during this time and we needed an approach that made the most out of what we had. It was exciting to find new ways of connecting with people.”
Now that the exhibition is drawing to a close, Sarah had the chance to discuss the findings and provide feedback on the panel, alongside some of the other organisers and even the artists themselves who were able to attend.
The original project is a great example of collaborative working to achieve our goals and thanks to online working, we have been able to move the project to the United States to deliver the thought-provoking programme to even more learners.