Past Project

Oliver East – ‘Stamford Street’ Paint and found wood, 2018

Delivered by Portraits of Recovery in collaboration with participant recruitment partners Change Grow Live, Inspiring Change Manchester and cultural partners The Whitworth.

This project will connect 10 people in recovery from substance use issues with cultural venues, creative professionals and artists from Greater Manchester. Sounds at the Edges will support social re-integration, increased employability and promote wellbeing through high quality hands-on learning and engagement with contemporary art.

The project aims to facilitate face to face learning in professional environments. The programme is designed to adhere to all current Covid-19 restrictions and will continue to develop as the situation evolves. Please be aware that the project may be subject to changes as a result.

How to get involved?

Space is limited and booking essential. After registering your interest on Eventbrite, a link to a pre-enrolment questionnaire will be included in your confirmation email to ensure the project is right for you. Please complete this and return to the email address included on the form. As spaces are limited and to avoid any disappointment please complete and return the form as soon as possible. Exact date, time and venue details will be confirmed nearer the time.

What is it?

Recovery is a process of transformation that reconfigures a person’s identity. Working with the transformative qualities of materials can parallel this process. We will use creative thinking together with art making, to explore your recovery journey. Utilising the visual arts as a tool for health and wellbeing we seek to open-up new ways of knowing and understanding recovery.

What will happen?

A unique and innovative series of creative experiences and events will offer opportunity for practical learning and cultural engagement. A series of artist-led workshops will re-evaluate ‘self’ through everyday materials and objects, exploring achievable processes and transforming them from the mundane and ordinary to intriguing and thoughtfully provoking artworks. Together we will work with a film maker to capture our experiences and reflect on the journey of the project.

Our volunteer co-ordinator will introduce and explore the idea of self-reliant groups as a post-project way for participants to continue their creative journeys, and at a final celebratory event, designer/maker Joe Hartley will lead a co-production clay workshop followed by a screening of a film we make together. 

Artists involved in the project and details of their workshops are as follows:

Ben Green: Ben’s workshops will be focussed around themes of identity, judgement and what we choose to conceal or disclose about ourselves. The process will lead to intimate portraits, by filmmaker Ben, which are both visibly and emotionally moving. You will be encouraged to generate your own content and contributions to the project film, developing your visual and reflective skills and gaining insight into the filmmaking process.

Claire Tindale: At Claire’s workshop, mindful process and an intimate experience with a tactile material will create a meditative space for a community bonded through shared experience. You will use needle felting, a process that converts loose wool into a solid form, through repetitive action, creating a house in sculptural form. 

Oliver East: Oliver’s workshop will ask you to engage with an in-depth visual enquiry of your immediate environment. Through processes of building and reframing, you will explore how to reimagine the view of your own background. Working with cardboard to create structures, you will study and work with the architectural features, colours and perspectives in your landscape, and record the process through photography.

James Ackerley: James’ workshop reflects the desire to shine light on shared experiences, whilst also recognising the value of material making and practical skill to mental wellbeing. You will engage with simple woodworking and construction methods to create your own individual fully working light. Key themes are material reuse, finding purpose in things that would often be discarded and learning principals that can be applied in other areas of life such as DIY projects and home repairs.

Freya Goodwin: Freya’s workshop reflects the desire to share stories through making and stitch, recognising individual creative voices whilst acknowledging these unique elements have strength and impact together in one unified artwork. Inspired by notions of domestic objects and quilt making, this workshop will include ‘tile’ production using textiles, carpet and simple applique techniques, to create individual outcomes which have the potential to be curated as a whole. 

When & Where?

Workshops will take place at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester starting on Wednesday 7 April and running on Wednesday mornings until 26 May 2021. 

About you and Eligibility

  • Be over 18 years old, creative or have an interest in the arts
  • You will be in abstinence-based recovery with a minimum 3 months clean time
  • Be in receipt of Universal Credit, other benefits or no earned income
  • Live in Greater Manchester and have residential UK status


Managed by the WEA, the Greater Manchester ESF Community grant programme will help thousands of people who face additional barriers in the workplace to improve their employability, move closer to the labour market or gain permanent employment.


Images courtesy of Oliver East and Claire Tindale.