1 Trainers’ Evaluation (Gr. 4)

Trainers’ Evaluation

Neil Packham and Louise Brown

1.1. Please explain how your workshop went

– Dates: 11/01, 18/01, 25/01, 1/02, 8/02

– Place: Bridging the Gap

– Participants (number and profile)

This is a support group for asylum seekers/refugees and a local integration organization. Majority of people are unemployed, some have mental health issues or in recovery from addiction issues. It is very ethnically diverse. Young children are also present. The group also uses volunteers.

Over the 5 sessions. Approximately 25 people took part, although this number fluctuated from week to week.

1.2. According to your experience, which are the strong points of the method that helped you in the workshop?

The process of making the puppet was certainly the most successful. The physicality of the process, the pleasure of witnessing the creation of the puppet. The opportunity to completely immerse themselves in the process. The materials are completely user friendly, it is always possible to correct and adapt your puppet.

1.3. According to your experience, what can be changed in the method to make it better (which are the weak points)? What changes do you suggest?

The difficulty comes when people are near to completion and new people arrive and want to join in. You are constantly introducing new people to the process. This applies to many of the groups who don’t have a consistent group of people. In the busy, chaotic environment of the Bridging the Gap Drop In, it was very difficult to establish a sense of focus and to build the skills of the manipulation.

1.4. Additional comments

We knew quite early on that the notion of a focused performance was not going to be appropriate. However, we used the idea of creating a short film. This idea came from a volunteer and was created by two of the volunteers.

2. Participants’ evaluation- please summarize the participants’ responses and if you have added more questions, please add their answer as well

2.1. How did they feel during the workshop and why?

This is one of my favorite comments:

When asked if her puppet reminded her of any body, without hesitation, she said herself. That she was like a puppet in her domestic situation and that she was pulled in many different directions by her family. She commented that the activity was therapeutic to her, she lost herself in the making and it gave her a sense of release and here she doesn’t ‘have to be responsible’ for everyone else.

People commented that it made them feel relaxed, that they felt a connection with their puppet. That it reminded them of their childhood. They felt less stressed, forgot other worries they might have in their everyday life.

Some people said at the start that they weren’t creative and didn’t think they could achieve this but were very happy when they found they were capable.

2.2. Which were the strong points of the workshop and why?

  • The crushing of the paper.

  • The making process, working with their hands.

  • Working with environmentally friendly materials.

  • Those that took part in the film making and manipulation, enjoyed this element.

  • People could talk with each other as they worked, found out things they had in common.

2.3. Which were the weak points of the workshop and why?

Nobody really commented on this. Each person appeared to gain pleasure from whatever part of the process they took part in.

2.4. Do they think the workshop needs any changes?

Again, nobody really commented on this.

2.5. Do they think this workshop was useful for them?

Yes, I think the comments above in 2.1 indicate this.

2.6. Would they use the things they learned on the workshop?

Some people said they would make them with their children.

2.7. Which sessions did they like most?

They enjoyed whatever part they participated in. Some people didn’t make puppets but enjoyed the manipulation and being involved in the stories.

2.8. Which were the sessions they didn’t like?

People seemed more engaged in the making of the puppets rather than the stories and manipulation but I think that the format of the ‘drop-in’ contributed to this.

2.9. Additional comments

In a way this project is perfect for this group, as it is informal and physical. So many languages are spoken and the non-verbal element of this means that language barriers are not a problem.