MA student inspired to run workshops for domestic abuse survivors

MA Art & Material Histories student, Roberta De Caro, has organised a series of workshops for survivors of domestic abuse, in which she will explore how the material qualities of glass can be used to reconstruct, repair and heal the fragmented self.

Held in the Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, Lambeth, on 16, 23 and 30 March 2020, participants will manipulate shards of coloured glass to create new fused glass objects that will not only reflect and refract the light, but also their own histories and experiences.

Roberta tells us: “I see this project as the meeting point of the different aspects of my practice and MA course. This includes an engagement with materials, a close attention to their socio-political concerns and cultural associations, and an interrogation of the human condition reflected on the material world”.

She goes on to explain that through this participatory art project, she is particularly interested in “observing the different emotions that glass-making might elicit and how these can relate to the experience of surviving domestic abuse. These emotions can range from fear of manipulating a fragile but sharp material, to a sense of achievement in creating new objects from fragments. The whole process can be a powerful cathartic experience”.

Roberta organised the workshops after receiving one of the Art School’s Student Initiated Project Prizes 2019, whilst studying BA Fine Art. As well as supporting the initial set-up of the participatory sessions, the award gave her the confidence and “credibility” to approach Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre with her plans. “It can be challenging to be given access to participants for the initial run of workshops, particularly when approaching an organisation independently and for the first time. The award from the Art School immediately allowed for a level of trust towards me and the project.”

Once this initial series is completed, Roberta would like to develop similar workshops with other organisations. She says: “I am grateful to the Art School for believing in me and supporting my project. On a personal level it certainly boosted my confidence to develop it further”.

The other recipient of the Student Initiated Project Prize 2019, was Kim Booker (MA Fine Art 2019). Kim was selected for her proposal for Assemblage Gallery, an online and physical pop-up gallery space showcasing the work of recent fine art graduates and emerging artists. The project builds on the existing platform of Assemblage, the artist-led magazine of which Kim is one of the Directors, along with Megan Elliott (BA Fine Art 2018). We look forward to seeing their plans to curate a physical space come to fruition later this year.

The Art School’s Student Initiated Project Prize is one of almost 50 prizes and awards available to students on the undergraduate and postgraduate courses, some of which are supported by the generosity of donors and benefactors, and others by the Art School.

For more information about From the Fragment to the Whole glass workshop series at Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, or if you are interested in assisting, please contact

Find out more about MA in Art & Material Histories and how you could take part.


Photo credit: Guy Smallman


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