Down Time

Date: 2008

Location: Kings Wood

Funded By: chances4change (C4C) - The East Kent Health Authority

Related Categories:

The context

Down Time represented an important action research strand of SVA’s education and learning programme, funded through chances4change (C4C) and the health authority. C4C was a £5.6m portfolio of 62 projects in the South East funded by the Big Lottery Fund Wellbeing programme. The aims were to address physical and mental well being through a series of training and artist-led activities with vulnerable young people and those at risk of disengagement.

SVA worked with 207 young people over 3 years to deliver a programme involving all partners and participants from a Health referral unit, Young Carers, Young Offenders, NEET (young people not in education or training) hearing impaired children, children with disabilities and a mainstream primary transition group. The programme was devised and led by Lucy Medhurst.
All partners and artists were involved with bespoke training and action research. Qualitative data was collected using questionnaires, sketchbooks, diaries, film and recorded interviews. A thematic analysis approach was taken, using Malone’s Five Outcomes of Experiential Learning (2008) as a conceptual framework.

Main Findings

Staff and participants connected creative experiences with well-being

“I’ve never seen her like this …she’s chatting and she’s happy” social worker about young offender DT film

“he’s the man at home … has a lot of responsibility …but it was like giving him permission to run around, be a 12 year old” Young Carers’ manager

The research has demonstrated a wide range of outcomes including:

Changes in personnel and partner commitment could be problematic.


SVA’s unique context and approach provide enormous potential for engaging with hard to reach and at risk groups. Research showed a link between well- being and engagement with learning and this could be further developed and investigated in more depth (Malone 2008,p.19, Medhurst 2010 p.77)
Future research should incorporate some mixed method/quantitative analysis and development aimed at improving partner training.

Outdoor Studios is interested in talking to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) colleagues in public health and early help as well as school improvement teams, teaching school alliances and cohorts of schools.

Photo credit: Tim Norris