I recently found out about another 14-18 NOW project and how this has prompted Leap of Faith, another project involving women who have experience of trafficking, domestic violence or mental ill health.
Leap of Faith at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP), responds to contemporary artist Katrina Palmer’s The Coffin Jump (2018) – a major co-commission with 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, and YSP. It reflects the courageousness of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY). This extraordinary group emerged at a transformative period for women – moving out of passive domestic confinement to enter the battlefield on horseback and administer first aid – and inspired the creation of the artwork.
Led by YSP’s Art & Wellbeing Coordinator, Rachel Massey, Leap of Faith brings together participants from two local authority areas that border the Park, in partnership with Ashiana Sheffield, Kirklees WomenCentre, with Heidi Dawson from Glint [Horse Assisted Development].
Leap of Faith aims to help participants gain the confidence to express themselves, to develop positive relationships, and to build positive new memories. Activity includes creative sessions devised by the participants themselves in conjunction with lead artist Kate Genever and Palmer as well as equine therapy, which has been found to enhance positive behaviour and wellness. Further therapeutic support is provided by group analyst Jacinta Kent, and opportunities for reflection and evaluation have been offered by Dr Harriet Rowley, Lecturer in Education and Community at Manchester Metropolitan University.
“Throughout the project, we have explored themes of love, loss, friendship, loneliness and connection. The individual moments of breakthrough are too numerous and too personal to describe, but it’s true to say that this project will stay with all the participants for a long time to come”.
Heidi Dawson from Glint says: “Our horses are the true educators in our work. They don’t do role play, so noticing how they respond to our behaviour and energy offers us a unique insight into ourselves and our relationship to the world”.
Leap of Faith is part of YSP’s Arts & Wellbeing programme, which takes inspiration from the New Economics Foundation’s ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ and is informed by work with experts including artists, mindfulness practitioners, musicians, yoga teachers and others.