by Artistic Director, Pollyanna Turner
Recently we delivered a series of three creative workshops with a group of year 10 girls from Durham Johnston School; exploring body positivity with the aim of increasing confidence and empowering young people to offer support to others.
Workshop 1: Switching The Narrative
In our first session we considered the messages girls and young women receive from other people that can cause harm or feelings of not being worthy or good enough.
"It can feel like people see girls as an object to be consumed" said one pupil.
Discussions were had around what needs to be done to make change and how these changes might positively impact on their feelings towards themselves and others.
Workshop 2: You Are More Than Enough
Research shows the use of filters is leading to 'Snapchat dysmorphia' - a term coined by plastic surgeon Tijion Esho, M.D., in 2018, which refers to one's toxic obsession with how their body and face look using filters. This is a form of body dysmorphic disorder - an obsession with perceived flaws in one's appearance - according to a study published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.
In week 2 we reflected on our previous session and gave thanks to each other for sharing some difficult and personal experiences.
Discussions were encouraged around how to build up our inner voice and feel confident and grateful for what we have, and the idea that we are capable of limiting how much we listen to the judgement of other influences that tell us we aren't good enough.
We looked at an inspiring collection of children's books that illustrated and celebrated the differences in all people.
Education and social media need to better represent 'real bodies'; providing a true reflection of real bodies of all shapes, sizes and abilities.
Thank you to Lou Brown AKA Goodstrangevibes for sharing a free downloadable colouring book full of drawings and positive affirmations.
 
Lou dedicates their illustrations to increasing body positivity, and better representation, to support mental health - check out their work at www.goodstrangevibes.com

We would love to help you with the topics you feel would benefit your school and students. We use and build on our current artistic content to provide bespoke workshops. Contact [email protected] to find out more about our educational offers and how we can help you. More information on our artistic content and our themes is available in the Our Work section of our website.