SOUNDS at the EDGES – visual arts, substance use and recovery

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“Let’s listen to the background sounds. The sounds at the edges that are not so familiar”

Recoverist Manifesto

Delivered by Portraits of Recovery in collaboration with participant recruitment partners Change Grow Live, Inspiring Change Manchester, Back on Track Manchester and cultural partners the Whitworth, Paradise Works and Standard Pottery.

This project will connect 20 people in recovery from substance use issues with cultural venues, creative professionals and artists from Greater Manchester. Sounds at the Edges will support social re-integration, increased employability and promote wellbeing through high quality hands-on learning and engagement with contemporary art.

How to get involved?

Spaces are FREE, limited and booking essential. After registering your interest, a pre-enrolment questionnaire will be emailed to ensure the project is right for you. As spaces are limited and to avoid any disappointment please complete and return the form as soon as possible. Exact date, time and venue details will be confirmed after confirmation of your place.

What is it?

Recovery is a process of transformation that reconfigures a person’s identity. Working with the transformative qualities of materials can parallel this process.

We will use creative thinking together with art making, to explore your recovery journey. Utilising the visual arts as a tool for health and wellbeing we seek to open-up new ways of knowing and understanding recovery.

What Will Happen?

A unique and innovative series of creative experiences and events will offer opportunity for practical learning and cultural engagement.

A series of artist-led workshops will re-evaluate ‘self’ through everyday materials and objects, exploring achievable processes and transforming them from the mundane and ordinary to intriguing and thoughtfully provoking artworks.

Together we will work with a film maker to capture our experiences and reflect on the journey of the project.

We will collaborate with the Whitworth Art Gallery to create an exciting behind the scenes experience at the project launch.

Our volunteer co-ordinator will introduce and explore the idea of self-reliant groups as a post-project way for participants to continue their creative journeys.

And at a final celebratory event, designer maker Joe Hartley will lead a co-production clay workshop in his central Manchester studio, followed by a screening of a film we make together.

When & Where?

You will need to be available for one workshop per week, including a project induction starting in May and running through June, with the final celebratory event on Wed 15th July. Sessions will be 2-3hrs and take place at the following arts venues in and around central Manchester

The Whitworth Art Gallery

Paradise Works, Salford

Standard Pottery, The Arch, Mayfield

About you and Eligibility

  • Be over 18 years old, creative or have an interest in the arts

  • You will be in abstinence-based recovery with a minimum 3 months clean time

  • Be in receipt of Universal Credit, other benefits or no earned income

  • Live in Greater Manchester and have residential UK status

Portraits of Recovery are a visual arts charity which believes that the arts & culture can be transformational in and of themselves. Our vision and intent are to improve the lives of people and communities in recovery from substance use issues by improved access to cultural opportunity.

PORe’s work not only supports individual recovery, but the further development of both the Recovery Movement and Recovery Communities by making recovery more visible through contemporary visual arts practice that facilitates contribution to an emergent cultural identity.


Managed by the WEA, the Greater Manchester ESF Community grant programme will help thousands of people who face additional barriers in the workplace to improve their employability, move closer to the labour market or gain permanent employment.

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