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Watercolor Brush 8

CREATIVE FREEDOM

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New spaces, new people, new tasks - for mature Armed Forces veterans, these things can be huge hurdles. In response to tackling isolation and improving mental wellbeing, our Creative Freedom residential experiences offer an opportunity to develop skills and friendships, completely free of charge. In the peaceful, undemanding environment of the beautiful Cambrian Mountains in mid-Wales, run in partnership with the Armed Forces Covenant Trust's Positive Pathways Programme, and Arts Council Wales, veteran groups take part in the following activities:

 

  • Go hill-walking

  • Learn photography skills and try out photo editing

  • Begin carving stone 

  • Embark on other visual and written arts of choice

  • Learn cycle maintenance and participate in group ride-outs

  • Meet like-minded veterans

  • Develop individual artistic style

 

2023 Residential Dates

Cooking and Nature 

Photography and Hillwalking 

Cooking and Nature

Art and Cyanotype

Cooking and Nature  

Photography and Hillwalking 

Thursday 2nd to Saturday 4th March 

Monday 20th to Thursday 23rd March 

Monday 8th to Thursday 11th May 

Wednesday 14th to Saturday 17th June 

Saturday 22nd to Tuesday 25th July

Tuesday 22nd to Friday 25th August 

Photography and Hillwalking

With professional photographer Joe Purches as a guide, Creative Freedom groups walk amongst the Cambrian mountains and hone their photography skills, and allows the mind to slow down and put all the focus in the world on the smallest flowerbud, or on the formidable horizon. 

 

Exploring nature and taking in the space around yourself is already an incredibly mindful process. Apart from learning about operating your camera, composition, and framing, Creative Freedom's photography is built upon that mindfulness as you take time to capture scenes and images just the way you want - and then improve upon it.

Cycle Maintenance and Ride Outs

Creative Freedom groups learn to maintain and repair their bikes, or practice on borrowed bikes, with expert guidance from professional cycle mechanics.  This enables them to develop handy practical skills as well as a sense of independence and accomplishment, in the beautiful lake-side setting of the Cycle Hub. 
 

Relaxed group ride-outs overlooking Llyn Clywedog and through Hafren Forest provide an opportunity to build confidence and friendships, with riders reassured by their new or enhanced knowledge of cycle safety, efficiency and performance.  E-bikes provide an additional boost to enable riders to navigate the hilly terrain.

Creative Workshops

Art forms include prints from photo editing, stone carving, paintings and drawings, as well as in the written form as poetry or journaling. Workshops are run by external experts of their fields, and are suited to any and all skill-levels, from beginner to advanced.

All of our workshops are similarly focused on improving mental wellbeing, and finding positivity and relaxation in our own creativity. Weekly workshops also are a great opportunity to bring regular social interaction back into life, and attending veterans have formed fast friendships over the course of Creative Freedom.

Art Therapy

Our resident trainee art therapist Sj facilitates sessions of creativity for self exploration and expression in a safe and supportive environment.  Art making can help to discover parts of the inner self and express them through metaphor; metaphor helps us explore emotions in a way that feels safe, and can be nonverbal.  No artistic skill or talent is needed, and the focus is on the process rather than an end result. 

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A. K. Skipsey

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Nature and Conservation

Ceri and Andy of Hiraeth Ecology and in association with Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust hold fascinating sessions exploring the natural world including habitats, wildlife and ways to engage with nature in a mindful way wherever you are.  They have an amazing collection of natural curiosities to explore, an abundance of knowledge to share and invite participants to share their experiences and perspectives with eachother. 

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See a selection of photographs, stonecarvings and poetry produced by Creative Freedom veteran participants in the videos below, in both English and in Welsh:

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Rounding the Corner - Oriel Davies Gallery 2022

In February 2022, works of art created by veterans during our Creative Freedom workshops were displayed at the Oriel Davies gallery in Newtown, Powys. Display features included the physical carved stone tablets, full-size prints of photographs taken in the Cambrian mountains, and select poems inspired by the workshops. We would like to thank everybody who has taken part in Creative Freedom so far, everybody who has submitted artwork, and thank the Armed Forces Covenant Trust and Arts Council Wales.

If you are interested in joining the next Creative Freedom residential, or would like more information, feel free to contact us at office@radiatearts.co.uk, or call us at 07542 825952.

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