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Creative Scotland | Gallery 37 | Danielle Handling

Posted on: Wednesday 16th March 2016

Danielle is 15 years old and lives with both her parents in North Ayrshire. Danielle’s mum referred her onto the Easter Gallery 37 week long animation and performance project “to find her something to do that she would enjoy and get her to go out the house”. Danielle has Crohn’s disease, this has caused her to have long periods of illness and many hospital stays this has contributed to Danielle leaving school just after she turned 14. She has been getting home schooled on and off since.

Danielle has become socially isolated with no friends or social life. Often she spends months at a time not leaving her home.

Danielle’s Journey
We were told on Danielle’s first day that she may want to leave early should she start to suffer with fatigue and it was likely she wouldn’t stay for the whole week depending on her health.
Danielle seemed shy and around the other participants at the start of the day but in the afternoon of the first day everyone was given a taster of model making and animation. Danielle especially enjoyed this and became noticeably more relaxed talking to others around the table. By the end of the first day Danielle was starting conversations with others and smiling a lot.

Danielle took the second day off as she wasn’t feeling well but did attend for the rest of the week. Later on in the week commented that she had only had a few hours sleep but was having so much fun she didn’t want to miss any more time so came in anyway and stayed upbeat and enjoyed the workshops. By the end of the week she mentioned “It’s been hard for me getting up and coming all day I’m not used to doing anything but its been well worth it. I’m having a great time”.

Danielle wasn’t sure about performing at first but agreed to try it anyway. She took the part of a chicken in the short film created throughout the week. “I’m glad I was the chicken. Going out around Irvine dressed in a chicken costume and falling was both my highlight and low light. The whole thing has been really fun. I loved it” There was a very noticeable change in Danielle’s confidence. “I’ve laughed loads and I’m definitely more confident now”. Every day Danielle seemed to be more out going and positive. Kelly the Coordinator said “I was delighted to see such a big transformation in Danielle in such a short space of time”. By the end of the week she had swopped telephone numbers with most of the other participants and was making plans to meet up after Gallery 37. “It’s been really good this has been the first I’ve been out my house in months it’s been really good for my confidence meeting new people”.

Danielle’s progression
Danielle has applied to study Arts & Crafts at Ayrshire college but wasn’t sure if she would be able to do it. Having so much time off school and being socially isolated had knocked her confidence but she is feeling much more positive and excited about her future “It’s made me want to do art even more. I’ve applied to do Arts and Crafts at college after the summer and doing this has made me realise I can do it. I was nervous because I haven’t done anything since I left school when I was 14 but now I’m more determined to do it.”

After hearing about Ayrshire Youth Arts Network Danielle has enquired about volunteering and has taken an application form for Arts for All awards to help her make more online tutorial videos.
She was given information about a Digi Hub happening soon through TACT and was keen to get involved.
Danielle has asked if she can come back to the summer Gallery 37 project and said “definitely I’d like to come back to do Gallery 37 in the summer”


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