In 2022, Home Ground delivered Projects Tahi, Rua and Toru. The projects were delivered remotely online, in the Wellington community and in Arohata Prison.
We delivered workshops to more than 39 women in the justice system, with participants ranging in age from 21 to 60 years old. They had varied life experiences and represented different stages of the justice system, with different views, perspectives and artistic talents. Many participants also have large extended whānau who benefited from the programme.
In 2022, about two thirds of participants had not had access to arts projects before Home Ground. After the projects, most participants expressed strong interest in participating in an arts project long-term, and this year we contracted two previous participants to deliver workshops.
Home Ground provides access to a diverse range of arts and artists. We work with 6–7 artists per project, each one providing participants with their unique style of creative process and practice. This year we had an interesting combination of emerging artists working alongside well-known artists such as Selina Tusitala-Marsh. This was challenging but rewarding!
In May 2022 Home Ground delivered a three-day artist training hui. The hui explored the Home Ground kaupapa, our practice in the justice system, what it means to be trauma informed, and created space for those working on future projects to develop ideas together and work collaboratively.
Highlights of 2022 included using the new Home Ground Workbook for the first time, a scent workshop run by artist Nathan Taare, a dance and movement collaboration with Java Dance Theatre, and roaming workshops around Wellington creative venues. These roaming workshops included a book launch from Anahera Gildea, visits to Te Papa and Toi Pōneke Arts Centre, and a Matariki reflection day at the Wellington Botanic Gardens Matariki exhibition.
Home Ground was also able to extend into regional areas as a result of funding from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manatū Taonga. The funding covered a new Online Facilitator role, increased communications and marketing hours, as well as administration hours to grow regional outreach to Te Tai Rāwhiti Gisborne, Manawatū and the Kapiti Coast.
Hoea! Whare Whakaatu Toi has provided a home for us in Te Tairāwhiti. Hoea! Gallery has been actively involved in all of our projects, delivering online workshops and even welcoming participants to virtually visit a local marae to see the kōwhaiwhai and tukutuku panels they are working on. The access they provide to the diverse and strong Toi Māori community in Te Tairāwhiti is exceptional and we’re stoked to work with them.
Our new Creative Advisor role was also established this year. Roseanne Leota embodies this role and has been awarded the Whakahoa Kaitoi i Te Ara Poutama Arts in Corrections Artist Fellowship to explore and research the development of her creative writing with the support of an arts mentor.
Due to Covid-19, Project Tahi was the first Home Ground project to be held fully online, with participants, artists, and Home Ground crew holding online video check-ins and sharing their artworks with each other in an online Google Classroom. Project Toru also had an online classroom. On all projects, participants received workbooks and a special art kit to support them at home.
Having successfully created and trialled our online classroom, we were able to focus on growth, and increase online content, appeal and reach through further promotion around Aotearoa following our 3-day CARE workshop.
Home Ground launched a weekly online engagement initiative originally called Ahi Kā. Graduates of Home Ground projects are now able to engage with Home Ground in between projects and stay connected through our online classroom now known as Kotahitanga.
Having an online platform, and a bespoke workbook that participants can flexibly engage with has been a huge asset to Home Ground. Our bespoke workbook has allowed us to deliver inside Arohata Prison when other providers were unable to. However, the impact of three years of Covid took its toll in 2022. We have re-configured our delivery for 2023 to acknowledge the lasting impact of Covid-19.
I have learnt one big thing within homeground and that I have to trust the process ... sharing myself and what I create with others will only help improve all aspects of what homeground is all about, together we can brighten up the universe.