HEP Group – Map’s with Jamila – “I know this place like the back of my hand”

Creative Studio

Our weekly HEP groups/The Health Equalities Partnership Programme were created to increase support and non-clinical interventions for people in the Oswestry area who are experiencing mental health challenges and who also use drugs/alcohol.

As Maddy wrote in a previous blog about HEP, “Our role in this is to introduce people to creative processes, develop new skills and new tools to use as coping mechanisms, increase self-confidence and self-esteem through non-clinical experiences”.

These have been of significant help to our members who have experienced alcohol or substance abuse. I’ve seen our members flourish and grow during these sessions as I attended these groups before I was accepted onto the new referrals sessions, I found it to be of great value to my ongoing recovery journey.

HEP is on twice a week at our creative studio.

Our Team Members vary on who may be taking the group, each artist brings their style and explains a brief to those attending, showing varied styles and various mediums to work with.

Last year Jamila led the group on a project with maps which sounded and looked like a whole lot of fun. I recall prearranging, popping in that day to say “Hi” as I’d wanted to see a few familiar faces from my early days at Designs.   I was sad to not have the time to stop and take part!

Fast forward to 2023, while taking the reigns in blog writing from Maddy, a colleague suggested we should run a blog about this past project.

I approached Jamila to ask some questions, as I was intrigued to find out more about it, perhaps you’ll feel encouraged to try something like this at home for yourself and your family.

The questions I asked Jamila may help you follow her brief and give it a go!

Jamila gave some wonderful input from her memories of the process.  I asked her what inspired a map project. 

Jamila shared “There are so many types of maps, pictorial, to scale, fantastical and representative. I thought the concept of maps had lots of potential scope and was hopefully accessible object to most at some point”.

I was curious “Why Maps”?  I love Jamila’s response “I hoped we could use the theme as a catalyst to creative exploration of ideas around much-loved locations”.

What was the brief to those who attended?   

“Using maps of places that are important to you, using collage to create a piece of artwork that involves your hand, to address the old saying ‘I know this place like the back of my hand’ “.

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What materials were used?

“Collage was the theme using local Oswestry maps, map books, tourist maps, maps printed from the internet and some members supplying their maps from home.

Other materials were used such as glue-cutting knives, scissors, drawing implements; fine liners, etc”. 

I asked Jamila what she felt our members enjoyed most about it.

“It was great to see everyone responding differently to the theme, utilising my brief as a starting point. Everyone was experimental and expressive with it and got enjoyment from creating their pieces”.

Jamila also shared ” This project was an opportunity and safe space to discuss memories and significance/s around positive locations through art, as well as verbally, where and if those involved, felt comfortable to do so”.

I recently popped into the HEP group to glean some further feedback from those who got involved, it was great how by jogging their memories, it all came flooding back and to see the joy that memory sparked in our members was priceless.

I asked what they created. 

Lauren one of our Team Members who was involved said “We used texture colour and collage, that represents a journey taken and our hand in it”.

James told me “I chose a Glaswegian map from home”. He is a keen collage fan and enjoyed participating in this project.

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Valerie mentioned how “local maps were also used, drawing around hands and cutting them out to place on a collage”.

This truly ties into the saying “I know this place like the back of my hand” I really like this theme, I may even have a go myself at home.


Blog Written & researched by Willow, Member & Social Media Coordinator