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I haven’t posted in a little while, and that’s partly been down to teaching summer school, hopping up and down the country every week (train fares, you empty my pockets so!) But it is also because I have been coming to the final stages of a rather nice project I have undertaken with Joseph Rowntree Foundation. They’re a social care charity organisation with an amazing history working to fight poverty by tackling to root causes of social problems.

I was commissioned to illustrate a 35 page report called the Change In Action plan, which seeks to critique and highlight the important of user involvement in humanistic research. This sounds very complicated, but on reading and researching I found the subject matter very accessible. The premise is as simple as this: for JRF’s research on social policy to be relevant, it must truly involve the participation of older and disabled people from beginning to end. Much like how you wouldn’t have a panel discussing feminism and women’s rights without a single woman on the board.

cat-o'neil-jrf1Real involvement is difficult, especially with the temptation to have token minorities present but keep the power of social change within the professional circle. But I found this report really questioned what happens within social policy, and addressed it in a way that showed the value of the individual. Anyways (you can probably tell I got quite into the project! Everyone loves doing charity projects, it makes you feel like you’re doing something a bit more useful that drawing pictures) I thought I’d share a couple of the images just to show what I’ve been up to the past few weeks!

ALSO it’s super exciting because I’ve started painting again. All these illustrations were painted rather than my usual addiction to photoshop. I guess I planted the seed in my own mind after telling students to experiment with their materials for 2 weeks straight whilst teaching the summer school at Edinburgh College of Art!

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