Fastforward was launched in October 2000, the only project delivering arts specifically in conjuction with homeless people, its mission being to promote the power of arts and their positive social, cultural and educational impact.
Fastforward set out to:
-provide a city wide arts education project for young people aged 16-30 years, who were homeless, using the arts as a tool to support and enable young people to gain a wide range of self-development, creative, social and learning skills.
-develop a new model of practice with regional significance.
-raise awareness of homelessness issues and provide a platform for homeless people to profile their talents.
-produce high quality artistic work to be exhibited across the city.
-promote the value of arts to partner organisations, service providers and the city and help to ensure that the arts play a central role in future service.
Fastforward offered a structured programme of arts activities and access to learning opportunities, through an accredited Open College Network Certificate Learning through the Visual Arts and Crafts.
Fastforward’s work exhibited at a number of venues around Oxford including the X-change Gallery, the Ark –T Centre, East Oxford Community Centre and the Zodiac. They also featured in the ‘No Fixed Abode’ exhibition in Bray town Centre, the Republic of Ireland.
Artists worked alongside participants and agencies, sharing their passion for the arts, exchanging ideas and providing both encouragement and experiential learning environment.
Crucially, Fastforward was instrumental in creating alternative pathways to training and opportunity for those attending the project. A considerable number of participants from the project went on to vocational, educational or employment tracks. Their routes included desktop publishing, office computing, business management, British Sign Language, Ceramics, catering, art foundation and photography.
Four participants were able to access employment following their participation in the project. Fastforward was involved in a research carried out by Helen Jermyn on behalf of the Arts Council England on The arts and social exclusion.
The project was also one of twenty one arts organisations participating in research concerning the establishment of national guidelines to inform evaluation practices.
Artists : Jane Stokes, Julie Bradshaw and Ann Rapstoff Partner organisations involved:The Gap,Windmill House, Life Housing, Florence Park Day Centre, Simon House, and Steppin’ Stones, and English Church Housing.
Major funding sources included:Arts Council England, South East (Lottery); East Oxford Action (SRB),The Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Tudor Trust.
‘I am much more confident about showing my art work and feel I have improved especially with the silk paintings. I really enjoyed the variety of the course.’
‘It opened up…. existing needs to play with materials. Packed and kept together… we had many discussions’