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Approaches to Participatory Arts, April 2016

We enabled 2 artists to go to the “Approaches to Participatory Arts” masterclass led by Spare Tyre at The Albany in Deptford in April 2016. Natasha Frater and Tengku Sophia Nuru were supported by PDSW to go along. Here is what they had to say about it.

“The Approaches to Participatory Arts Master class led by Isaac Ngugi and Caroline Jeyaratnam-Joyner from Spare Tyre created a wonderful opportunity for artists, practitioners and facilitators from a range of different backgrounds to collaborate. We exchanged ideas and knowledge about the practice of participatory art and approaches to working creatively in a safe space. One of the key things that I learnt from this workshop was that an important aspect of participatory art is identifying the target group and venue that you wish to work with. As these two factors can have a large influence on the way that a piece of art is delivered in the community. It can also affect your chances of receiving arts funding. This notion was interesting to me and it encouraged me to consider other aspects involved in the process of art making. I came away from the workshop with a clearer vision of the kind of community work that is of interest to me and feeling extremely inspired and excited to make fresh art.” by Natasha Frater

Natasha graduated from Bath Spa University with a BA (Hons) in Dance with History in May 2015. She is now training and working with a Contemporary Afro- Caribbean company called Angol 2. In 2016 they are working on two major projects. The first will be a community based project which involves going into care homes and the second will be a performance of the company’s existing repertoire at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. Her long term aspiration is to join a Contemporary Dance Company and enjoy a successful career in dance performance before setting up her own dance centre.


Caroline and Isaac from Spare Tyre were an absolute joy to listen to and learn from. They were insightful, patient and really represented the company in a positive and dedicated light – their passion and knowledge were contagious and they balanced the roles of leading and collaborating the masterclass between themselves and us, as their students. It was a very fruitful experience and I can confidently say that all that took part walked away feeling joyous and enlightened. We collectively agreed that it should’ve been a two-day course rather than a one day masterclass, and that if they were to pursue it as a course, it would be far from a bad idea.

The entire session forced myself as an individual to really reflect on my work and approaches as an artist and practitioner. It kept me questioning, throughout, ways to improve how I work and its impact on the community. I was exposed to the ways in which others work and to feed off their own experience and ideas, in hopes to apply it to my own practice in future. There was a general positive attitude amongst those in the room and an openness to both learn and teach. As a result, Isaac and Caroline’s intention of creating a ‘safe space’ was achieved and we all felt instantly comfortable to discuss, deliberate and challenge.

I look forward to another masterclass in the near future, should they hold another one, and I would definitely recommend it for anyone in the arts (no matter what aspect of it you may be in, whether it is directing, performing, admin or even if you just have a burning passion to impact the community on an artistic platform). So a huge thanks to Spare Tyre and those who attended for making it such a wonderful experience for me!

Sofia was on the Young Choreographers South West scheme in 2014/15. You can check out a film about her time there under the Bounce tab on the PDSW website. She has a casual position at The Albany as Senior Front of House Assistant and hopes start work soon as a teaching assistant in schools next term. In March 2016 she did a workshop with Kristina Alleyn from Akram Khan in Bath which she thought was “amazing and incredibly intense too”. Her mission for 2016 is to find a solid income and then start looking into developing and working on her piece ‘Am I Enough’.


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