Making of Us is a professional development programme supporting 16 mid-career socially engaged artists who live and work in Greater Manchester. Bringing together the cross-sector expertise of partners in the arts, social care and education sectors, Making of Us will initiate mutual learning opportunities and new ways of collaborating with a focus on artists engaging young people.

Funded by Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the programme is formed around a series of creative commissions across the Wigan, Stockport and Salford districts, delivered through partnerships with Wigan Targeted Youth Services and True Colours CIC and The Together Trust.

Each artist is supported with a programme of training, mentoring, peer-to-peer learning and will develop collaborative projects with our partners.


We are delighted to introduce the second cohort of ten artists awarded a bursary for the 2021-2022 Making of Us programme:

I am a visual artist based in Bolton. I am interested in making art everyday and have several ongoing projects; I made daily drawings for 4 years and have been taking a self portrait everyday for the last 10 years. My current practice uses CNC machines to make analogue paintings and drawings. I practice a hybrid approach that combines aspects of painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, design, coding, engineering, writing and education. I enjoy the cross pollination of ideas and techniques working across media, processes and genres. I co-run Bolton Contemporary, a socially engaged riso print and design studio.

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I’m a Wigan based multimedia artist exploring history and communal traditions mainly through sculpture, installation, performance, and group activities. I often work with the community to undertake elements of research into my projects, crowd sourcing hidden knowledge or bringing people along with me through historical research. I also work with groups to develop projects, from integrating people’s videos into pieces, collaborating on ceramic toby jug walls, or more recently embroidering collaborative skimmington banners.

My work covers ideas around politics, power and performative space; the places where people commune and enact daily or ritualistic activity. I’m excited by the bawdy and the irreverent as well as the pomp and pageantry of power and society. I also explore the role history plays in our interpretation of the present, seeking links contemporary society has to its predecessors to find meaning in where we are and what we do.

I’m a studio member at Cross Street Arts in Standish, Wigan, a trustee at GRAFT, Lancaster, A New Art Spaces artist and associate artist at Wigan STEAM. I run TERM art classes with my artist colleague Klaire Doyle.


I’m a photographer and writer based in Manchester. A print journalist for more than 15 years, I now work on independent visual projects – often working with groups poorly served by mainstream media. I previously spent four years collaborating with Eastern European Roma families, in a project funded by Arts Council England and Side Gallery. More recently, I was commissioned by Peshkar to facilitate a community response to lockdown and by Open Eye Gallery to take a socially engaged look at the issue of litter – which involved using discarded items to make collages.

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My name is Jamie-Lee, and I am a creator, facilitator, and educator based in Manchester. Within my practice, I aim to make learning experiences more inclusive for different minds, using play and creative thinking as a vehicle. I want to utilise my neurodivergence to create new and innovative ways of learning about topics, ourselves, and the people around us.


I also have a passion for 3D printing due to the minimal waste material produced and the ability to use recycled plastics. I use it as a tool for making and I create playful experiences to educate young people on the 3D Printing process.

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Laura Negus

I am a Manchester based ceramicist, specialising in pottery for mental health and wellbeing. I bring a playful, experimental approach to material process and often integrate traditional ceramic practice with new techniques.

Currently I am undertaking a ‘creative share’ residency, working with a group of ceramicists at Pure Innovations to share ideas and processes. I am the ceramics co-ordinator at arts and wellbeing charity Start Inspiring Minds and lecture on the arts and wellbeing program at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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I’m a queer writer who really loves to share stories. I’ve written for all sorts of people and places, from running workshops and scribbling short stories, to exploring VR experiences and helping people find the right words to explain the work they do. At the moment, a lot of my work focuses on creative non-fiction and LGBTQ grief - communicating the challenges that are often faced by individuals. I also write about nature and massively enjoy working with communities, lighting up bright with each other’s stories, and building creative experiences together.

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I am an artist and writer. I was born in Hong Kong and have lived in Manchester for over twenty years. I believe art and well-being go together. I like to use art and words to express my thoughts, things that are important to me and the wider world. I use different things to make art, including newspapers, felt, chalk, wood, metal or recycled materials. It all depends on the themes, the audience and the venue. I also write poetry, short fiction and plays. My work has been shown in the UK and overseas.

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I am a poet, lyricist and creative practitioner. My first collection, ‘Doglike’, was recently published by Bearded Badger Publishers, and film with BBC New Creatives. Through my writing, I explore themes such as mental health, class, industrialisation and the changing landscape of modern cities. I have also been part of a number of cross-art performances such as BREATHE with Manchester International Festival and VAM with Partisan Collective. I specialise in working with young people from working class communities and supporting them to develop their own creative practice and social change projects.


Hi, I’m Shonagh and I’m a socially engaged artist from Bolton. I make work with, for and about working class communities like my own. I’m really interested in everyday rituals of care, and the language of clean/dirty that is used to describe people and places. I’ve been artist-in-residence on the Limehurst estate in Oldham since 2016, and just recently I have been experimenting with digital technologies through a series of commissions with FACT in Liverpool. My work is playful and participatory, I like to use humour and “low” culture as a form of radical resistance, inspired by the DIY spirit of punk and riot girl.


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Picture of Shonagh - Photo Credit Madeline Waller

Still from digital work ‘Pests', 2020

I’m Ella and I have worked with video collage for a long time. I feel like my art is centred around an ideas-based practice that falls into many forms, including film and live visuals, foraging, planting, drawing and making. I have a playful way of working with many mediums, and enjoy experimenting in ways that allow me to wander through different artforms freely. I see my art making as a way to practise imagination, as a beekeeper of thoughts, swarming and producing sweet things.


I have a degree in Filmmaking and I have recently achieved a Level 2 in Practical Horticulture, spending lots of time researching and exploring nature. I enjoy walking in the hills near me, saying hi to the horses, as well as making jam, cards and punch needle things.

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