Rachel has worked as a freelance artist for thirty years. As an artist she has led and facilitated many community projects for all ages. Many of which have been with young people and especially those with barriers to learning or accessing the creative industries. For a few years Rachel worked within formal education for Cumbria County Council in a variety of roles, such as a Secondary School Dfes Learning Mentor and an Education Facilitator for children temporarily withdrawn from mainstream school. A large majority of the young people she worked with were SEN and had a variety of barriers to learning. Although Rachel would generally work with the young people on breaking down their barriers to their GCSE’s, she would look to how they can do this creatively, these working practices crossed over into her creative community arts work too.
Of recent years the community projects Rachel has worked on are often along the themes of belonging, heritage and landscape. The output often craft based, exhibition, film and performance. She has collaborated with other creatives and companies of many varieties over the years. Rachel has from worked on large projects to one to ones with adults and children from all backgrounds, many of whom experience barriers due to geographical isolation, class, gender, neurodivergence, mental health, or other kinds of disability. Rachel is a keen advocate for the arts being for everyone as part of her practice, as she faces these barriers herself.
Below are just a few of the different kinds of community arts projects Rachel has worked as an artist, producer, mentor and project manager in last few years.
In exhibition the work was a dual projected film that intended to show the many views of a short trip to Piel Island via ferry or a walk across the sands. The film hopes to portray the wonder of the place and of being with people again after lockdown. This was a commission for Artful Ways and Rachel was an artist filmmaker.
An artists commission that produced videos allowing anyone to have a go at mark-making at their own pace. As part of a wider project with Lancashire Recovery College.
During the beginning of the pandemic Barra Culture made a booklet which contained many activities from local artists that would help families be creative at a difficult time. It was a short commission allowing some illustration and connecting with people remotely.
A project that seeks to include the community in how they can participate in shaping and interacting in their own landscape. Using a series of interactive interventions, workshops and exhibitions hoping to give people agency and input for their futures in the town and how they wanted access the wild and urban areas. She was Project Manager and co-artist from 2018-2019.
Within her role of Project Manager and Mentor, Rachel worked on this development lab for emerging Cumbrian Artists, whom are often isolated in rural Cumbria, working alongside Cumbrian Cultural Organisations, artists and curators. It connected, supported & developed 8 artists to explore, research and create digital artwork in response to the host organisations.
Get Digital is filmmaking and creative digital media short course for young people aged (15 – 20 years or up to 25yrs LDD/SEN). Each year a new cohort would work with film industry professionals to produce a short film project. These workshops were also planned to assist in pastoral care and allowing the transfer of skills for possible future college or work. Rachel’s role between 2014-2020 was often that of Project Manager, Producer and Mentor. Films made with this project have often won Film Festival Awards.
Rachel is proud to be a member of the original team that set this project up and witnessed so many young people achieve further success. Cooke’s Crew was a weekly after school film and digital media club for 11 to 16 year olds. Her role between 2012-2018 was often that of Project Manager, Producer and Mentor. The output could be film, animation, art and performance. They would also work towards their Arts Awards. Films made with this project have often won Film Festival Awards.
A fabulous project for 8-11 year olds in the holiday periods who may need extra support. I was a member of the original team that set this BBC Children in Need project up. Many of the animations created on this project have achieved some wins at Film Festivals. Rachel’s role from 2013-2018 was often Project Manager, Producer and Mentor. The children also worked towards their Arts Award Certificates.
A HLF micro funded project that collaborated with FON and local artists to gather and be inspired by local stories of the sea in a remote village within the Borough of Barrow. Rachel was Project Manager and filmmaker.