Volunteer, Frankie

I began getting involved with Art at the Heart through an internship funded by the University of Birmingham. This was my first real opportunity to take part in research work, and whilst I had little experience, Mukesh and Kamaljit were very supportive and approachable. Not only did they offer regular feedback about the work I was producing and show constant enthusiasm with my ideas, but they also invited me to get involved with workshops so that I felt part of the community.

It is this community focus that I think defines this organisation: they are always seeking to reach out to minorities and use art as a means of education and cultural celebration. For example, Mukesh and Kamaljit taught me a lot about social capital and the value of arts education for wellbeing, particularly for vulnerable groups such as refugee populations. Whether presenting work on mythology, cultural artwork or just having fun with crafts, Art at the Heart always keep the significance of their work in mind for their audiences.

Another thing I have greatly appreciated is their commitment to maintaining relationships with their interns and volunteers. Since completing the internship I have returned to help out with a Diwali celebration day, where I met many of the other volunteers who have been involved with various projects. It is often difficult as an undergraduate to begin to build relationships with employers and develop future skills, however my time with Art at the Heart has been invaluable in this respect.