At Success4All we recently celebrated the work of our West End Young Digital Artists (WEYDA). The launch took place at one of our learning hubs, Newcastle City Learning Centre, where the 11-17 year olds showcased their hard work.
The work that was being featured was their most recent project – a graphic novel raising the dangers surrounding loan sharks that the communities of Newcastle can use as a resource. The project was supported by professional artists at GemArts and was funded by Barnardo’s ‘Just Ask Me Fund’.
GemArts is a dynamic arts development organisation who supports exciting and culturally diverse arts. They believe the arts enrich the lives of individuals and communities through celebrating cultural diversity and hope to raise equality between groups by raising aspirations, building stronger communities, and breaking down barriers.
WEYDA had already developed their own cartoon characters based on who they see as they real life heroes in the West End of Newcastle. They loan shark graphic novel uses these characters. Over 6 months, WEYDA’s young people worked alongside professional artists Andy Morley, Nazia Tahir and Mark Forster and were able to learn new skills in graphic design, drawing and storyboarding. Andy Morley, from Creative Ginger, enabled the young people to produce a storyboard and art work which in turn created the printed graphic novel. During the project the group debated problems surrounding debt and loan sharks, researching issues and solutions. Members of the group were encouraged to mentor each other, with young people sharing digital skills and other areas of interest.
Alexandra Marsden, project manager at GemArts, said: “Not only have these young people developed new creative skills, they have also produced a fantastic resource for their local community. During the project we watched the group really come together to debate the issues around debt and loan sharks. GemArts are delighted with the final graphic novel which Andy Morley helped the young people to produce. We are also thrilled that the Barnardo’s Just Ask Me fund allowed us to give these young people the chance to address this issue.”
Caroline Afolabi-Deleu, Founder & Director of Success4All, said “Success4All are very proud of these young people, they continue to meet regularly and work together to produce really interesting projects as the WEYDA group. It is fantastic to see their hard work come together in the first edition of the comic book, and we are excited to see the next edition.”
The launch night was a great success where the children and young people got the chance to stand up in front of their community and talk about an issue that is very important to them. At Success4All, we are continually encouraging and supporting the WEYDA group to become enterprising, using what is important to them and creating this into a project.
Next on the agenda that is close to their hearts is to produce a documentary on being young, religious and stigmatised – so watch this space!