Arts based workshops reviewed

The other day I had one of my arts based workshops reviewed. According to this small sample, I am pretty much a total boss at arts based workshops. Writing a survey, and choosing targets wisely….less so. But why the review to start with?

I live in a perpetual state of maybe-write-a-grant. Retrospectively, I’ve had no overwhelmingly expensive artists’ dream to enhance the lives of Australians through public arts and I’ve never really gone looking for one. My materials needs are inexpensive and I legitimately enjoy my non-industry job, which provides ample income for any artist-based cash-splashy ventures….for now.
Life is full of surprises, though, so I also don’t discount that one day all of these things will happen. One day, maybe soon, I will be sitting down to dissect exactly why I should be chosen above all others to be funded to have my ideas realised.

It was suggested that I do some surveys of the workshops as examples of my current practice. That fits in so well with the educational background which demands reflection and the artistic background that demands critique. It just makes total sense!

As lovely followers of these posts would know, I have been hosting arts based workshops. One set in particular was a series of three textile-based (!) workshops for the Wirraglen Support Group, an organisation of home-schooled students in the Granite Belt District. For the last one I put together (very quickly) a survey of the workshop for the students to fill out and gave them a bunch of connecter pens and pencils to help the picture get interesting, if they were more comfortable with pictures.

The results were great! Total confidence boost, but not much to work with….On reflection, I should have given the parents an adults’ one. I honestly just thought of that as I was writing this, so….I guess that’s what they call it a learning journey. Not “a learning centre where you have all the knowledge of the world directly downloaded into your brain”, which is what it might be called in the science-tastic future. Currently though, it’s the sucky right now and I still have to reflect and evaluate 😦

Clearly I will need to spend further time on tracking down/writing a more targeted series of questions.

Now, please prepare yourselves for the heartwarming sincerity parade that is my workshop evaluation forms! I think a lot of germs were passed on to me today and if I get sick in the next fortnight, I will look at this, and still think ‘it was worth it’.

The Words.

To conclude, everyone knows how to copy the word ’embroidery’ from the blackboard and they all jabbed themselves in the finger. I am reading this as: ‘Everyone in the workshops had the situational awareness to follow a visual prompt and the resilience to continue after receiving negative stimulus (pain) from a task’.
A few scribbled out the “I did not like” section of the comments. The sincerity and vehemence they did this with was uplifting.

The Diagrams.


Happy faces! There are less of these, because not everyone was comfortable with drawing a picture. I promise! Nothing like this:

…which I found in 2010 when I was recycling some old visual art journals. Who drew this and where they are now will always be a mystery.

The reflection.

Next time;

  • Parental surveys
  • Photos of finished works
  • More targeted questions/drawing prompts for specifics i.e. I found _______ difficult, my favourite part was _________.
  • Regular surveys so answering them is not new, I noticed some found it scary/confronting
  • Encourage parent participation/assistance in student surveys for a more varied response
  • Help with sounding out words, not spoon-feeding the information from a blackboard

About kellymarietheartist

I am an artist who, up until recently, was living and exhibiting within Toowoomba and the greater Granite Belt district. I have since packed up and left Australia, and am currently living and working in England. My work engages the craft involved in handmaking within a contemporary art context. I am drawn to the physicality of repetitive textile processes, and this is transcribed though the tactile quality of my forms. In particular, processes such as crochet, sewing and rug making serve as a proxy for growth within my personal environment. Many of my works imitate situations in nature, and they form organically as I create each individual piece, each addition both a continuation and re-enforcement of its predecessors. I enjoy using recycled materials for many of my works. Using crochet and other textile techniques to do this is an important part of my work as it celebrates a tradition of craft that has historically been relegated to 'women's work', with all the negative connotations that entails.
This entry was posted in Collaboration, Inspiration, Paper, Research, Review, Textiles, Toowoomba, Workshops. Bookmark the permalink.

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