Hazel Darwin-Edwards has worked on several projects and residencies with Starcatchers as a theatre maker, performer and puppeteer. Hazel co-created Hup, a musical production for babies 0-24 months and their adults, which is touring internationally in 2016 as well as coming to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She also delivers workshops across Scotland for adults who work with Early Years as part of the Starcatchers Creative Skills Programme.
Building on Starcatchers’ previous experience of delivering engagement projects with vulnerable children and families, Expecting Something provided a creative intervention to build skills, confidence and self-esteem in young parents and their babies through engaging in an ongoing programme of arts and creative activities. Through the process, young parents were encouraged to develop their own social capital and in turn improve the life chances of their babies.
Over the course of 9 months, 3 blocks of 10 weekly sessions were undertaken and led by two Starcatchers Associate Artists. Sacha Kyle led the first two blocks and Hazel Darwin-Edwards led the final 10-week block. They undertook the delivery of weekly creative activity sessions working with the young parents to develop a programme that was both exciting and relevant.
The project worked with a total of 60 young adults and 30 babies over the period of 9 months. Activities were not restricted to particular art forms but were driven by the needs of the young parents and the activities they felt were of most interest to them and their babies.
By involving the young parents in the decision making process, Expecting Something gave participants a mechanism to express their views and needs as young adults who are faced with a range of barriers in achieving their life goals. Furthermore, the programme offered other benefits, including understanding the importance of play and creativity in early development and encouraging the young parents to try experiences they would not normally participate in.
Pilot project participant:
The experience has made me more confident with my daughter and myself. Means I can spend lots of time with other mums and babies
I think it’s good for their [the participant’s] self-esteem because, I think that people value them enough to let them have the opportunity to do these things, and it builds in them the idea that the judgmental attitudes and stigmatisation that some of them have experienced isn’t the universal thing. It’s also gives precious family memories.
Our Expecting Something blog is written by artists and contains insights and explorations into the different methods and experiences of Early Years creative development.