Art offers people a new way to learn, new methods of understanding the world around them, and new tools to articulate themselves. We’ve seen first-hand the positive change that can happen when communities, schools and teachers have the tools they need to deliver inclusive art sessions.

In 2007, we launched Same Difference, an ambitious project to bring the benefits of art education to marginalised children across four continents. We worked with schools and teachers to organise art workshops for children in Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Mali, and Palestine.

Same Difference worked with children living in some of the most challenging circumstances: from children displaced by conflict in the occupied Palestinian territories; to those living on the streets of Recife and La Paz; to those orphaned by AIDS in Mali. Same Difference gave children the tools to express and deal with the trauma they had faced.

Between 2007 and 2009, our workshops reached over 1,500 children and young people in communities across the world. But lasting change happens when communities have the resources they need to continue working.

That’s why we trained 180 teachers, trainers and youth workers in facilitating art therapy workshops. As well as giving them the grounding in painting, modelling and pattern-making, we also worked with them to identify ways that they could source low-cost materials in their communities.

Along with practical artistic skills, we also trained facilitators in the psychological tools they need to run sessions. And on top of art therapy strategies, we also developed websites in four languages (English, French, Portuguese and Spanish), so that facilitators could refresh their knowledge.

Back here in the UK, we used art to prompt a conversation about poverty and human rights. We took postcards produced by Same Difference participants to over 20 art galleries, schools and community centres across the UK, and invited local school children to take part.