Claire’s ‘Uncentre’

Being a student on placement at A Place to Belong has been a unique experience, and it was challenging to try to represent it visually, but for me this piece did capture some of the nuances of community development work.

In this art piece I was trying to explore the basic idea of A Place to Belong, with reference to a non-competitive board game, called the ‘Ungame’, which I have often used with families to open up communication in a non- threatening way.

In the board game there are places to go when you feel a certain emotion, such as sadness, anger or happiness, and the aim of the game is to encourage people who are playing to talk to each other about their feelings, but also about their thoughts and other experiences.

I called this piece ‘The Uncentre’ because unlike many other agencies, the building in Thomas Street is not actually the ‘centre’ or base of the activities of A Place to Belong. The name of the service is ambiguous, especially at first, because everyone who uses the service hopefully finds their own place to belong, in their own communities.

The image consists of coloured dotted lines which symbolise different pathways that people can take and people they can meet, and places around the edge which represent different emotions that we all experience at different times. Part of the universal experience.  The dotted purple circle around the outside represents the community, with no walls or barriers. It allows movement inwards and outwards. The coloured wool threads which I sewed into the paper represent the connections that can be created between people.