The SHIFT Project, Stroud

by Robin Watkins - Davis in Stroud, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 21st October 2019 we successfully raised £870 with 23 supporters in 28 days

I am raising money for the SHIFT Project, to cover running costs and enable outreach projects to support young people's mental health

by Robin Watkins - Davis in Stroud, England, United Kingdom

‘SHIFT’ is a fine art & photography project, investigating how art & movement
practices can act as tools to transform one’s mental health
. My installation
will be exhibited at St Laurence Church 12-18th October 2019, acting as a backdrop & setting the scene for outreach projects, participatory workshops based on the arts & well-being and collaborative, high quality performances in music, dance and contemporary art . The purpose is to pilot this combination of activity, with the hope of later touring it as a separate project.

Why are we raising funds?

We are on a mission to raise £2000 in crowdfunding campaigns so that a whole range of exciting and life enhancing, transformational arts activities can run sustainability. Funds will be used for: the running costs (total costs = £8,240), pay over 37 local creatives, that are putting on a weeks program filled with performances and workshops, enable 200 school students, disadvantaged young people and the general public to have availability to access art workshops and performances to support their well-being at a donation based entry. We have decided to make everything donation based entry so that support for peoples mental health and exposure to transformational arts and culture is accessible to everyone. 

Why did I create the installation?

Art and yoga practices are methods which I use to overcome mental health challenges on a daily basis, since the age of 12. The SHIFT artwork is in response to this, an investigation into how and why the arts transform and enrich our lives. 

How did the project and program come about after the installation? What inspired you to produce this event and bring together over 17 local organisations and charities and over 37 artists?

I feel  blessed to have art and yoga by my side when life gets challenging and now I want others to experience how transformation arts can be. This is why I have produced such a varied and diverse program of different art forms, all of which have helped others in the past with their wellbeing. The purpose of the event is to increase access to a range of arts and wellbeing practices, so that people can walk away inspired to develop a practice further. Due to financial barriers, many people in Gloucestershire have little exposure to the arts, the SHIFT outreach projects will work on supporting young people and financially disadvantaged adults to gain access to transforamtional arts, culture and wellbeing activities. 

Depression affects 300 million people across the globe and is the leading cause of disability worldwide according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

 Art forms, including movement and music, reduce anxiety & build resilience In a recent study in Denmark, Scientists say listening to music reduces stress and anxiety, both of which are associated with depression.Visiting art galleries and museums and taking part in creative activities are proven to develop resilience. Culture connects people and opens doors to new insights, which can create a renewed desire for life. Art on prescription in the NHS, started in the UK, more than 20 years ago.

We all have mental health needs, if we don't take care of our bodies and minds they become sick.  This event celebrates the array of local arts services, charities, organisations, community groups and individuals in Gloucestershire. 

About artist, producer and yogi, Robin Watkins - Davis and I am the creator behind SHIFT, having used movement and art to support my own mental health. For the last four years I support others with their mental health and  recently received the Princess Diana Award, the highest accolade a young person can receive for social action.  I have created this SHIFT artwork to inspire and give hope that the arts can transform ones health and happiness. As an artists and the the UK's Youngest Yoga Teacher (2016) I experience daily how the power of the arts to support mental health.

The SHIFT art installation was developed at Stroud College on my foundation course, the installation is made using the body to print on to recycled bus shelter perspex. The installation was recently displayed at Gloucester Cathedral. 

“The SHIFT installations physical approach to figure painting arrests the human body into curiously ancient and beguilingly eerie forms.” – Daniel Chadwick 

Outreach projects & participatory workshops:

1) 200 students from Primary & Secondary Schools in Gloucestershire will do their 'discover' Arts Award (like D of E but for art). Majority of the students have had little/no access to the arts, high % are on free school meals. At St James C of E Junior there are 23 different languages. Widden Primary has a high % of students that are currently asylum seekers & refugees. 

2) Specific workshops for groups suffering with mental health issues. Small groups, such as 'All Pulling Together' will work with professional artists and mental health workers to learn new tools and practices to support their daily lives and health.

The SHIFT Program:

3) Enabling >37 local creatives to offer workshops and performances as part of SHIFT program running from Saturday 12th October to Friday 18th October 2019.

Example of headline performance acts: School of Larks Aeriel performance, Handpan music meditation, Ambient Sound Long Duration Spectacle, Afro-Brazilian martial arts dance

Example of workshops: creative movement, mindful photography, 5 rhythms, creative drawing, NLP, yoga, Qigong, martial arts, contemporary dance, drumming, Capoeira, Kimochi and illustration. 

Partners for the SHIFT Project: 

  • SGS College

  • Create Gloucestershire

  • Strike a Light

  • VRC Publishing and Curating 

  • CORE Lighting

  • Barnwood Trust (funding)

  • Diocese of Gloucester (funding)

  • Stroud Sacred Music Festival

  • Arts Award

  • School of Larks

  • ACP

  • Stroud Visual Arts (SVA)

  • Bliss by Robin

  • Stroud Yoga Space 

  • Look Again

  • Fair Shares, Gloucester Gateway Trust & All Pulling Together

You can follow @rart.insta to follow the SHIFT project updates. 

Visit for more information. 

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