Current 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.

Artists involved in the project are: Benjamin Green, Joe Hartley, Claire Tindale, Oliver East, James Ackerley and Freya Goodwin.

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.

When & Where?

You will need to be available for one workshop per week, including a project induction starting in late March and running through May, with the final celebratory event planned for the end of May. Sessions will be 2-3hrs and will take place at the Whitworth and venues around central Manchester, Covid-19 restrictions permitting.

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.


Image: Oliver East, Stamford Street, 2018, paint and found wood, installation, size variable