Following a successful programme working with Ella’s in 2022, Talitha partnered with Ella’s again this Spring on a 4 week project entitled ‘Wellness Through Creativity’. Ella’s is a London based organisation who provide help and support to survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking. The programme was designed to spark joy, allow for self-expression, and build a sense of togetherness amongst the women, Ella’s staff and Talitha practitioners.
Nature & Growth
Themes of Growth, Nature, Connection, and Hope were incorporated in the workshops with activities such as dance, movement, collage making, painting, planting and claywork to bring these themes to life. Each activity was designed to encourage the participants to connect as a group, connect to new ways of looking at things and to connect to themselves and their own experiences/ qualities/ values.
Each session began with gentle group games and activities that could be built on each week as the participants' confidence, connection and group focus grew. Group activities are an important starting point for a Talitha workshop as they encourage participants to fully focus on the ‘here and now’, and become present and connected to the space and one another.
We then moved into physical and vocal warm up activities and spent time stretching, moving and warming up our bodies. This helps with tension release and gives the participants a chance to connect with their own body. It allows the women to put their focus on each part of their body and give attention and love to it, which is something we sometimes forget to do, or don’t have time for in our everyday lives. We would also spend time focusing and releasing the breath and voice. The participants became more comfortable warming up as the weeks went on and as they became accustomed to the work, we were able to progress the activities accordingly, working deeper and more expressively.
Over the course of the programme, we explored different materials during our main activities. We decorated pots, planting ‘seeds of hope’, we explored the journey of a butterfly, we used clay to create containers of empowerment and created ‘trees of me’- looking at the life cycle of trees. The women were proud of the pieces they made and shared with the group each week during our reflection section.
One woman created a staircase made of clay showing that with ‘courage’ you can climb with ‘determination’ and then you can reach ‘serenity’. She was able to create and form her own story through her creativity and communicate the greatness and vastness of this journey. She told us; ‘this is my life’. The pride she took in her piece and at being able to capture something so big and meaningful through claywork, was touching for the Talitha team to see.
Another woman made her ‘tree of me’ explaining how each side represented different seasons. ‘Spring and summer’ were the things she wanted to bloom and that ‘gave her life’ and the ‘autumn’ were things she needed in order to grow. She gave such thought and consideration to her piece and was able to physically show this through her work.
Over the 4 sessions we had together with the participants from Ella’s, we saw progression through group cohesion, a forged sense of community, and confidence built in individual participants. We saw a real sense of ease formed amongst the women who attended all or the majority of the sessions. As their comfortability grew each week there was a noticeable shift in some women's confidence speaking, physical engagement with the games/ activities and in the value and pride of their own work.
Joy, laughter and a sense of playfulness grew over the duration of the project as the women became more familiar with the practitioners and the Talitha workshop structure. It was a real joy to work with the women from Ella’s and embark on a ‘wellness through creativity’ journey together. We hope we gave the participants (and staff at Ella’s who joined us for the sessions who work tirelessly to help survivors of trafficking) a therapeutic space where they could laugh, play, connect and grow through the arts.
To read more about our therapeutic arts workshop programmes and partnerships please visit our website or reach out to us at : email@example.com
Love & Light,
The Talitha Team