Using her amazing skills in all forms of the arts, Margaret has built a centre which has reached hundreds of people. Providing new skills, job opportunities, qualifications, business skills, new life directions and purpose for the students, Margaret has created a unique teaching environment that cant be found anywhere else.
Having worked with individuals with learning disabilities since the 1980s, Margaret was aware of the importance of life-skill opportunities for students with different learning abilities. Substance and opportunity for real achievement was high on her list of priorities. Margaret was keen to develop her ideas, knowing the positive benefits of encouraging students to express and develop their individuality through the artwork they create.
Over the years, the organisation has developed, and now supports many adults with different learning abilities by developing individual skills in textile work. Minerva provides an environment where students can develop a range of life-enhancing skills through self-expression.
Students attend structured courses, designed to develop individual artistic skills and promote self-confidence and self-worth. By teaching valuable and worthwhile skills to each student individually, we raise self-esteem and confidence in personal ability. Minerva not only supports an educational need, it also promotes equality within the community. We promote skills development in numeracy, literacy and creativity through textile related activities. These activities include selling merchandise made by the students, at craft fairs and local markets.
Students are involved in deciding what they create and are in full control of their own work. We find that as their confidence grows they may excel in one particular area, which leads to discussions on future projects. Our students are incredibly proud of the work they create, and the skills and confidence gained by being involved in creative art, are exceptional.
Since Minerva began operating, up to the present time, many students from Northumberland, Tyne & Wear and Durham have learnt the skills needed to silk-screen print and tie-dye. Countless more have gained in confidence and acquired skills that make a real difference to the quality of their life.
The following video gives a brief insight into the philosophy and activities carried out at the Minerva Centre.