‘I was selected as the lead artist on the Somerset Art Works ‘Water-Meadow-Wood’ residency for 2015. The three year project aims to improve the opportunities and facilities for volunteers, visitors and the local community and provide greater engagement with people and new opportunities to interpret the natural, cultural and historical heritage of the Country Park. SAW is selecting artists to work with participants and co-create artworks linked to the natural and social history of the place for seasonal exhibitions to be held in the park or visitor centre.

My tenure culminated in a large exhibition of works based around the theme of Water at The Octagon Theatre in Yeovil. It has now come to an end and I would like to say how much I have enjoyed the project and valued the experience of working with different groups of vulnerable young people to make work in the beautiful water gardens of Yeovil Country Park.

Beccy Swaine and the team at SAW have been a fantastic support during the project – organising meetings with group leaders and ensuring that everything was in place for the workshops to go ahead. Alongside the experience of working with the young people involved, I have enjoyed learning more about creating wordpress blog posts and putting together images and textboards for the exhibition and meeting staff at Yeovil Country Park and The Octagon. The project has enabled me to make new connections in the education and art world in Somerset, and has directly led to further funding being secured by one of the schools I worked with, enabling me to lead some more art workshops with them in 2016.

Thanks to everyone involved. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the SAW team, and I very much hope I will get the chance to do so again in the future.’

Deborah Westmancoat