In 2021, as a freelancer, I applied to Edinburgh Festival Carnival's Youth Arts Fund. I was one of 10 artists to be awarded a £2000 funding grant for a Carnival project. Mine was in partnership with Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity, where I also work as Arts Facilitator (then part-time). With my project, 'Wave the Flag', and as Artist in Residence at ECHC I brought carnival themed arts sessions to the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People. Children and young people were encouraged to consider different world carnivals, and were provided with Carnival flag packs containing all the materials they would need to make their own carnival flag. I led sessions across the hospital wards. Children and young people were encouraged to transform their flags in a personal way, and to think about how they might perform their flag at a carnival.
Children and young people who wanted to, had the option of submitting a video or a photo of them waving or performing their flags to Edinburgh Festival Carnival's online celebration, to be brought together in the form of a video carnival parade. Given that many of the people I was working with were in RHCYP's single occupancy rooms; I think it is especially powerful to be able to bring them together in this film - linking individuals to the wider hospital community. I hope to show this film in hospital as well.
This project was one of the first arts sessions ECHC was able to bring back into CAHMS inpatient unit after lockdown, and included children and young people throughout hospital, including those in clinical isolation. I believe that Carnival is a wonderful festival to integrate into ECHC's hospital arts programme, not least through it's celebration of community, different identities and world cultures. My project was the first time Carnival had been celebrated by ECHC's arts programme. I hope to develop on this in the future.