Zinc believes passionately in the right of all people to enjoy and benefit from what the arts has to offer, creatively, educationally and economically.
We work with people who traditionally have the least opportunity to learn about, or take up employment in the creative industries and engage our participants through the arts. The art forms we use include; visual art, music, drama, film, digital art, and dance.
All of the activities and events we run are designed to open up 'pathways' into and through the arts, providing lifelong learning, training and employment opportunities and inspiring high-quality, diverse and experimental multi-arts work.
Our projects bring together artists, arts organisations, community groups, health and social care providers and a wide range of funding bodies.
Zinc’s main office and arts centre is in Chipping Ongar, Essex. We work throughout Essex providing outreach activities and also bringing people from across the county to attend residential courses in our fully accessible arts centre.
Our outreach work also extends across the Eastern Region and into the South East and in particular we work in Southend, Thurrock, Kent, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and London. We continue to build creative and innovative partnerships that extend the reach of our work to new areas.
We work year-round with a wide variety of organisations and agencies including Charities, Arts organisations, Schools, Health and Social Care services and Local Authorities.
We actively seek out partnerships across the UK to ensure that we can reach the hardest to reach people and provide them with access to high quality, fun and engaging arts activities. If your organisation is interested in collaborating with Zinc then please visit our Partnerships page.
Zinc runs a range of projects with children, young people and adults who are disabled or experience other forms of social exclusion, as well as running activities for the local community in West Essex. Our work is all arts based and uses the arts to develop personal development plans for all people that we work with. We build tailored programmes to support individual needs and aspirations.
Our work covers a number of areas:
- Pathways to employment and supported employment
- Arts training and arts development workshops
- Residential Arts Workshops
- Creating and Producing Art
- Continuing Professional Development
Pathways to employment and supported employment – many disabled and socially excluded people do not have easy access to employment markets. Some will have left school early, others will not have high educational attainment and many will not have high levels of confidence in obtaining a job. We use the arts to work with people and to understand where their skills, competencies and job preferences lie. Once we have done this we will equip people with the skills to search for a job, teach them how to apply for a job, how to prepare for an interview and help them to practice their interview skills. While doing this we also build a network of employers who are willing to provide our clients with work experience placement opportunities. Through this work we challenge negative perceptions that employers may hold of disabled and socially excluded people. We help to create practical pathways to employment and ensure that people who may be considered socially excluded have the same access to employment opportunities as everyone else.
Arts training and arts development workshops – we provide training and development opportunities for people who wish to try arts activities, develop skills in an art form or simply wish to take an arts course as a form of leisure. These courses are open to all people. We also run courses for particular groups of people for whom using the arts may have a wider benefit in terms of building self confidence, self esteem and helping them to manage their lives. We run arts courses for people with learning disabilities, people with mental health issues, older people and people with sensory and physical disabilities. For each of these groups we structure and run our art sessions to have real and positive outcomes for participants that help them to make positive steps forward in their lives.
Residential Arts Workshops – we also run week long and week-end residential arts based courses. We recognise that sometimes it is helpful to get away from our daily routines and to immerse ourselves in a process of experiential learning in order to achieve positive outcomes for people. Being able to focus on a particular issue for a few days in a supportive environment can make all the difference. We run our residential courses to meet a range of needs and can tailor these to the needs of particular audiences or groups of people. Our residential workshops are also ideal for people who require short breaks. Our residential centre, The Hawthorne Suite, has been developed with the highest levels of accessibility in mind and so is suitable for people with a range of support needs who need a short break. During short break stays we run fun, creative and developmental arts workshops that are suitable to all needs and abilities.
Creating and Producing Art – Zinc creates and commissions artworks that celebrate the lives of disabled and socially excluded people. We seek to ensure that the art we produce is created by disabled and socially excluded people - we provide a platform for disabled and socially excluded people to create and display new works of art. Disabled and socially excluded artists use the studio and arts workshop spaces in our arts centre to incubate and produce original works. They can stay in our fully accessible residential centre and work uninterrupted in our beautiful, fully accessible and open studio spaces which allow ideas to form and take flight. We also have a dedicated exhibition space where we can showcase art by disabled and socially excluded artists.