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  • Jonathan Isserow

Grass Roots Engagement with The Animation Project (TAP)

I was totally honoured and privileged to attend The Animation Project (TAP) in the Bronx, yesterday evening. TAP’s programming integrates creative arts therapy techniques with popular technologies, building on the intersection between technology and modern job skills with an emphasis on the social component of group projects. I have also been exceptionally curious on their format of working with grass roots communities in the time-intense labour of animation. Two points came out that make this structurally possible is that firstly, it is the group that develop the narrative, images, storyboard and sound effects. This shared story is an art in itself and makes for an interesting creative group process. Secondly, the animation is supported by a professional animator who pushes forward to the animation outside the groups. I was impressed by the skilful therapeutic facilitation of Danielle, Kora and Ukari. Their deep commitment and honouring of each participant, while holding a safe space was exemplary. The participants themselves where incredibly articulate about their feelings and experiences. You can really see the playful engagement in developing and transforming relationships that TAP provides. The project does present a possible template for engaging men back in the UK and there might be some space in integrating the Story Centre methods with TAP. While animation is hugely engaging, there are concerns though about the time intensity that it requires. Thank you so much to Danielle Newmark, Kora Gozdziak Ukari Bakosi, Natasha Amendolara, everyone at TAP and all the participants for being so welcoming and helpful in developing an understanding of your model!

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