Next batch of Arts Awards underway!

Media Mentors



This morning we were at Hereford MAKE looking at the works of Jackson Pollock. Born in Wyoming in 1912, he was an American painter known for the abstract expressionist movement and his drip painting.

We decided to experiment with Pollock’s technique and make our own pieces of work. Using paints straight from the bottles, brushes etc, we covered paper in multi-colour producing a range of our own artwork using Pollock’s method.


I really enjoyed today as it was really enjoyable. Doing this experiment, I found a new style of art.


For me today has been really fun; to begin with there’s been so many types of art that I have already tried. I struggle to do new things but today I got the opportunity to do something I had never done before by being so active in my artwork, I also feel that it was a lot more passionate than a lot of other ways. I would usually paint as it had all my energy put into it and I loved seeing how mad and colourful not just mine but all the finished work was and how different they all were. I think I have learnt from this experience about my own style and what I like. I am inspired to do more pieces in the same or a similar style.

Thanks for reading – more soon!



#WhereAmI? Exhibition 1st August to 20th October 2017 at the Courtyard Hereford

Media Mentors

Where Am I?  Is an exploration of self and identity, place and environment, journeys and stories.

For our summer project, we teamed up with Jaime Jackson from New Leaf and the Treeline project and James Baker from Hereford MAKE to devise a new exhibition currently underway at the Courtyard Hereford in the excellent Gallery space (on the top floor).

We developed the concept earlier in the year following our last exhibition which focussed on our connection to the earth and environment as way to tell personal stories.  This time young people were challenged to think about their past, present and future either either on a personal level or collectively.

We planned a series of research sessions which included workshops and visits.  The facilities at Hereford MAKE provided us with opportunities to use different tools, machinery and techniques which opened up creative processes.  There was a continuous push to support and develop ideas almost without limitation, which was both liberating and challenging.  The results however, speak for themselves…please do visit and comment if you get the chance and share across social media.

The exhibition runs till the 31st August.

Below are some remarks from a few of the  11 young people who took part.

Thanks for reading!




Doing this project has helped me to lear how to use varying art forms including using Photoshop.  Being able to brainstorm with others enabled me to communicate ideas.

Was amazed to see my work displayed for the public to see and to see my final pieces transform into art.

I have always enjoyed being creative and using different art forms therefore doing this project has enabled me to convert expressions into art.

I would really like to do more projects as I have met a lot of new people and been able to use my creativity more frequently.

I would love to explore lots of different topics such as music, photography, film making and editing.

SOPHIE ____________________________________________________________________

I literally feel like Ive got my life back – Im stronger and more confident.  Im proud of what I’ve done, I never thought I could do anything arty,  Im inspired to do more, to sing more and smile more!  I feel lie I can face the world again without being scared or worried about what people think or what they say about me.



By doing this project I have gained more confidence in myself.  I have found that its not not as hard talking to people as I thought, and that I am a lot more confident in my behaviour and feelings.  For me the highlight of the project was being able to express my feelings through a painting and to then get the opportunity to display and share that piece with the public.  By being creative I have learned that even if you put specific thoughts and emotion into a piece others who vie wit will always differently and take from it what is relevant to them which is completely ok, which is a reason why art is so effective.

Im feeling really inspired to do more after this project.  I would like to do more projects similar to this one, and feel that after this I have a lot more ideas That I can work on developing and tweaking.  I want to develop the ideas I have but put them into a different kind of media and try to step out of my comfort zone to something I haven’t done before.



Ive gained a lot of confidence from doing this project, I have gained life skills towards my career direction. I feel more able to use photoshop.  I feel it has made a big impact on the work I have already done as I am getting recognised more through social media, it has also been great and so overwhelming to see my dream come true of displaying my work to so many people.I have developed my artistic knowledge of thinking more about different materials, machinery, tools and objects and just how exciting film can be to set a mood and an atmosphere.  Im really inspired to do more photography and to learn more about film, light painting and other new techniques.  What I hope to do next is to continue developing my skills and I already have learned to keep getting better to create more pieces  of work to show people.


WHERE AM I? Mixed Visual Arts exhibition @courtyardarts Hereford August 2017

Media Mentors

Where Am I is an exploration of self and identity, place and environment, journeys and stories.  Young people have found ways to articulate their voice relating to subjects that matter to them including from activism/campaigning to mental health.  Young people have been provided  with the freedom to interpret their own meaning of the theme resulting in varied mixed visual arts pieces.

The exhibition is a showcase of young talent, following meaningful creative experiences engaging in the mediaSHYPP project, supported by artist Jaime Jackson from Salt Road as part of the Treeline Project and Levi Cook local artist.

Read a few comments from some of the artists below and please come to the exhibition throughout August at The Courtyard Hereford.

Sophie Lyons

I have been working with mediaSHYPP for a long time now and its been great.  My work for the Where Am I? project is a description of who i am and how i have grown.  Ive chosen to mix differing art forms to reflect the development of my creativity.  This exhibition gives myself and others the opportunity to show our work to the public and I have enjoyed working on my final pieces.

Tori Simms 

My interpretation of the theme ‘Where I am?’ has been explored through my perspective of reality and a fantasy in past and present.  Images have been converged into thoughts and flashbacks grounded in what I see as a dream like world enclosed by the surrounding natural world.

Jarrod McCracken

I wanted to explore fluidity within movement and nature – my work is about the natural curves and textures of life.  I want my work to reflect elements of life change sinking loss and mourning.  Ive really enjoyed working with larger scale pieces.

Katie Whitelock

After recently moving on into my own accommodation following support from SHYPP I was interested find ways to highlight some of the issues relating to homelessness.  In particular I became aware of the Hidden Homeless term which I used to develop my interactive piece one relation to social media.


Exploring our past and looking to our futures

Media Mentors

Recently we have seen how giving young people the space and support to use creative writing to share their thoughts has had beautiful and moving results.  Toni Cook has written a guest blog which explains what happens in our writers group, which she leads.

‘Its difficult to quantify the impact that the writers group is having on the young people without sounding evangelical! The fact that the lowest number we have had is perhaps 5 young people speaks for itself. 

The group has a range of personalities and a massive range of confidence and ability. The young people are all incredibly generous to each other in their praise and reactions to each others work. Mellissa said today,” I keep thinking that this will be the week that I wont be amazed by something someone has written, that my jaw wont drop, but each week it happens, someone amazes me with what they have written.”

The young people are using writing to explore both their past experiences but also looking to their futures. We have work about anxiety, witnessing domestic abuse, pregnancy, harming, alcohol, depression that are all really strong pieces of writing but at the same time cathartic for the young people. We are discussing issues openly and not hiding from them. People are finding connections with each other through the workshops. We are also writing ridiculous stuff that makes us laugh too. 

The impact of being creative, being self aware and sharing work has been incredible so far. Within the range of tasks I have set there have been lots of different ways of challenging the young people. Some activities have been awkward, time pressured, required good listening skills, needing humour, exploring empathy.

The main area where improvement has been extraordinary is confidence. At the start of these sessions some young people refused to read aloud in front of anyone and I had to read their work for them. People were quaking, shakey and over conscious of their content. This has all shifted. People are now reading aloud in front of the group and starting to perform rather than just read. Some have experimented with writing humour which has been delightful and they have been pleased to receive  praise for something that isn’t deep/ personal. Others continues to delight us all with their writing and confidence development. They are becoming more self aware and sensitive and write BRILLIANTLY.  

The development shown over 8-10 weeks has been immense. The support for each other is wonderful.’ – Toni Cook, 

Our next 2 performances including young people from Close House Projects and led by Toni Cook will take place as follows

Poetry and film showcase

27th June 6pm-7pm Herefordshire Libraries Book Festival

Hereford Library, Hereford.  Box office 01432 383600

Epic Youth/Two Kids Lost

8th July 3pm-5pm Ledbury Poetry Festival

Market Theatre, Ledbury. Box office 01531 636232

Both event are ticketed but free, don’t miss out.

Read our blog about My Voice to see one of our latest performances that has creative wiring at its core.

Our film for About Face Theatre

Media Mentors

We love working with the guys from About Face Theatre, and mediaSHYPP have had the opportunity to make a short film that explores how being a part of About Face has an impact on the lives of the actors.  It was great fun making the film, take a look and see what they do.

About Face Theatre is a professional theatre company for adults with learning disabilities led by Artistic Director, Jess MacKenzie.  Its is a part of the ECHO charity:


An exhibition by brilliant young women

Media Mentors

Reflections is an exhibition that mediaSHYPP have provided photography and film for. Its been led by Toni Cook who has worked with young women from St David’s Pupil Referral Unit to examine their identity and self image. Its been great working with Toni, everyone from St Davids and The Courtyard. These brilliant young women have given us a great insight into their lives, the finished work is stunning.

The exhibition is running for 6 weeks in March and April in The Gallery at The Courtyard Hereford . Let us know what you think.

“Reflections has been a great opportunity for the pupils from St Davids to be playful, examining how they look and how they want to be perceived. They have written some beautiful poetry to explore their feelings”.

This project has been funded by West Mercia PCC

Young people ensure their voice is heard!

Media Mentors

Young people from SHYPP and Close House have been ensuring that their voice is heard and their talents are seen, over a busy period of award ceremonies and live performances that have received both local and national recognition.

Young people from SHYPP stood in front of a crowd of over 100 people packed into The Courtyard Studio to perform deeply personal poems and spoken word, amidst the backdrop of electronic music, large art installations, portrait photographs and film being presented on a cinema screen.

“There literally wasn’t a dry eye in the house! Deeply emotional, powerful, engaging and simply awe inspiring”, said a member of SHYPP’s staff. The Big Lottery Funded project was titled My Voice and was led by Toni Cook in partnership with the mediaSHYPP project, and was inspired by previous work with Ledbury Poetry Festival and a visit to a Kate Tempest (spoken word artist) gig. One young participant said ‘My Voice project has meant the world to me. It has taught me to never give up and what things matter most”.

Local artist Levi Cooke, who supported the young people to create the art installation, said of the event “The young people really opened up and it was such a privilege to be part of something so real, and so honest. It made me realise how important organisations like SHYPP are and how much of a difference they make”

On the night SHYPP presented their annual Young Persons Awards; Karol Kujawa received the SHYPP Young Person of The Year award presented by The Lord Lieutenant Lady Darnley.  Karol really thrived during his time at SHYPP gaining part time employment and progressing to undertake a BA in Criminology and Training to become a Special Constable.

Presenting the SHYPP Transformations Change award was the High Sheriff Bill Jackson and the award went to Seana Russell who has blossomed during her time with SHYPP developing confidence and becoming a positive role model for other young people within the project.

The final award was for Community Impact and was presented to Mellissa McGregor by The Mayor Jim Kenyon.  Mellissa has grown tremendously during her time with SHYPP and has taken the lead on foyer and community activities including volunteering and organising a community Halloween party.

A surprise invitation to a prestigious awards ceremony was awaiting SHYPP shortly after the My Voice event. SHYPP and Close House had been nominated for a national Into Film award for the revered Best Live Action (13+) award. Some of the young people involved in making the film along with Toni Cook, staff from SHYPP and Close House, attended a star-studded ceremony hosted by popular TV and radio presenter Edith Bowman at ODEON Leicester Square on Tuesday 14th March 2017. The Awards were hosted by film and education organisation Into Film, which is supported by the BFI through National Lottery funding and counts Eddie Redmayne among its Ambassadors, who alongside Daniel Craig and other stars were there to hand out the awards. The Awards pay tribute to outstanding 5-19 year-olds who have shown exceptional achievements in filmmaking or film reviewing, and to educators who have demonstrated inspirational use of film in the classroom at the annual awards.

The film, titled ‘Two Kids Lost’ is a modern day retelling of the story of Hansel and Gretel where two sisters find their home life with dad and stepmother intolerable. Rejected and removed from home they embark on a journey to discover who they really want to be. The young people were involved in all stages of the project working with SHYPP and Toni Cook, from coming up with the concept, writing the script, location scouting, acting, shooting, directing, editing and composing the music.

“My Voice” project performance + screening at Courtyard Hereford

Media Mentors

There literally wasn’t a dry eye in the house! Deeply emotional, powerful, engaging and simply awe inspiring. Young people stood infront of a crowd of over 100 people packed into the always helpful and supportive Courtyard Hereford, and spoke from their hearts. Pain, happiness, regret, optimism – such colour, contrast and vibrance within their words. Each of the young people supported and lead by the ever energetic, efficient and skilful Toni Cook @tonicook4 performed a number of spoken word style poems, passages and thought amidst a backdrop of electronic music (that they had created with music and food community legend Murf @thebeefyboys). Photographs and video footage were shown on the huge screen – stunning personal portraits and close shot black and white videos by Kie @mediaSHYPP_Kie and Rich @mediashypp invited the audience into their world. Visit SHYPPs other blog soon to read the comments from the audience

In the mean time read these comments from young people involved in the project below

“I have been able to connect with people more and have taken to heart their perspectives about strength.”

“My Voice project has meant the world to me. It learnt me to never give up and the things that matter the most.”

“It was a good experience to hear what all the others had to share about their past experiences. The presentation was amazing, all the hard work definitely showed at the end.”

“I would like to continue writing and have another chance to do music but also do some filming.”

“I’m glad it’s opened up to other projects such as poetry slams and voice acting interest.
I’ll be forever grateful to everyone that participated and all involved.”

“I didn’t think this process would have a huge impact on my life but I was wrong massively!!! I would like to continue writing poetry and being involved in more projects!”

From @levicooke local artist engaged in creating a large scale piece for the event:-

“Working with the guys from SHYPP on this project has been an eye opening experience to say the least. I have been able to get to know some of them and learn some of their stories. And watching some of the staff encourage and build up everyone around them, its such a great thing to witness.
On the night of the show the young people really opened up and it was such a privilege to be part of something so real, and so honest. It made me realise how important things like SHYPP are and how much of a difference they make.”