Bridging the Gap worked with art as an agent for change, supporting people from Oldham in early recovery from substance misuse to begin their path to new life opportunities. Led by Manchester based artist David Hancock, participants developed visual communication skills as an alternative for those not confident with their existing written and oral skills. This then enabled each person to create their own self portrait, communicating their emotional recovery journey.
Arts and Health
By focusing on art the project’s aim was to help fill the void often felt by those committed to recovery. Participants experienced an increased sense of well-being and acquired interpersonal, teamwork and time management skills, which all support improved life-structure.
Substance misuse is often stigmatised, and those in recovery can feel vulnerable, often experiencing fear of doing things, and a feeling that they do not fit into society. The project addressed these issues by enabling participants to realise that they are not restricted in the things they can do, and that they can exceed their own expectations.
The project supported increased visibility and acknowledged Oldham’s flourishing Recovery Community. Making Recovery Communities visible by celebrating achievement shows an alternative path for others not yet in recovery. Through self-representation the end of project exhibition at Gallery Oldham helped to challenge perceived social stigma surrounding the condition.
Funded through the European Social Fund and the Skills Funding Council the project was delivered by Portraits of Recovery in partnership with Gallery Oldham, Oldham Arts Development and Oldham Drug & Alcohol Services.