About Alex McIntyre

Artist working with drawing, painting and sculpture. Exploring themes of movement and stillness in relation to landscape.

Final Bows! HertsCreation – New Departures.

After five years of activity, HertsCreation CiC. is closing for business in December 2017.

Martin Heaney and Alex McIntyre, Co-Directors, will continue to work independently (and together on specific projects) after the closure of the Company so please read on to find out what we are up to. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our supporters and sharing some of the highlights of our last few years – including some recent good news from one of our key partners!

In October 2017, Woolenwick Infants and Junior School in Stevenage was awarded Outstanding status by Ofsted. We are so happy for the school’s leaders, staff and children and so pleased to have had the privilege of working with them. The report commented on the school’s capacity to provide ‘rich and memorable experiences that fire pupils’ imaginations’ as well as on the school’s leadership and training opportunities for staff. HertsCreation is proud to have been at the heart of the school’s creative development, beginning with a CPD for staff which focused on the action research question: ‘How can small changes in our environment provoke a cycle of engagement and interaction?’. Subsequent projects led by Alex McIntyre focused on developing staff’s creative skills varying from story-telling to outdoor learning.

Other highlights of our five-year engagement in Hertfordshire include:

  • Delivering leadership training for the Wroxham Teaching and Learning Alliance
  • CPDs for Studland Rise First School in Royston and Hatfield Community School

We also celebrate our engagement with Watford Museum, Francis Combe School and Signpost, a Watford-based charity, in a participatory arts project with young people aged 14 – 19 suffering from mild depression and anxiety. The project culminated in an exhibition and CPD for arts professionals.

What next?

Martin Heaney is now Senior Lecturer in Applied Drama at the University of East London. He is a Director of the Centre of Applied and Participatory Arts. He is currently Evaluator for the Paul Hamlyn funded arts education programme, My Creative School. His current research areas include: organisational learning in collaborative arts projects and the role of the arts in promoting ‘first in family’ access to Higher Education. He gained his PHD in July 2017 – earning him the nickname Dr Martin!  Martin Heaney continues to work (on a freelance basis) with Roman Way First School in Royston on a journey of long-term curricular and school change working with the arts.

Follow Martin on twitter @MartinTHeaney

Alex McIntyre continues to work as an artist, making and selling art through exhibitions, (recently including 3 editions of The Other Art Fair, The Affordable Art Fair Hampstead, the inaugural Roy’s People Art Fair as well as exhibitions with Kendalls Fine Art and Bils and Rye Gallery). She is engaged as a creative practitioner for the Paul Hamlyn funded arts education programme, My Creative School, focusing on combining coaching and creative practice with adult leaders to improve wellbeing. She is the Collaborative Partnerships Manager for Be Smart About Art  and continues to work (on a freelance basis) with Woolenwick Infants and Nursery – this year embarking on storytelling and public sculpture adventures.

Follow Alex on Instagram (and Facebook) – @alexmcintyreartist or find out more about her work via www.alex-mcintyre.co.uk

We continue also our commitment to working with the arts, young people and teachers in new settings. We want to find new ways to collaborate in the future. If you have enjoyed working with us please stay in touch (direct message via social media for new email addresses). And have a wonderful start to 2018!



Encounter: Evaluation Report now available

HertsCreation have recently completed an evaluation report on their Research and Development project Encounterwhich we led with groups of young people from Francis Combe Academy and Signpost Counselling, Watford. In the report, we discuss the impacts of our work on participants, share examples of their work which was exhibited at Watford Museum and talk about the learning we are planning to take forward in future projects.

Download the report Encounter Report F3


Seminar Sharing and Exhibition


Professionals working in the arts, cultural, heritage, education or public health sectors are warmly invited to join HertsCreation for a seminar to share findings from their research and development project Encounter, exploring sculpture and wellbeing with two groups of young people from Watford.

2.30 – 4.45 pm Wednesday, September 30th  at Watford Museum, 194 High Street, Watford, Herts WD17 2DT.

Exhibition continues from Thursday 1 October to Saturday 31 October

Directions: http://www.watfordmuseum.org.uk/info.html

logos group encounter.

In the seminar, we will share examples of our way of working and offer:

  • Findings from our project in relation to our key research question, “How might understandings of ways of working with materials and building techniques support greater, self-awareness, wellbeing and resilience?”
  • Case studies of young people’s work and responses
  • Practical activities to illustrate practice
  • Discussions and structured activity to explore potential ways forward for arts practitioners and organisations in Watford and Hertfordshire to identify new opportunities and prepare for the Hertfordshire Arts and Wellbeing conference in October 2015.

Places are limited. To confirm a booking please email admin@hertscreation.com

For further enquiries, please contact Martin Heaney: martin@hertscreation.com

With many thanks to funders, Arts Council England, Watford Borough Council, Watford Community Housing Trust, and Francis Combe Academy and generous supporters Watford Museum, Signpost and the YMCA.

Inspirations for Encounter

AegisToday we begin fundraising for an exciting new research and development project Encounter. We have a shared interest, originating in our combined arts and research practices, in exploring transitional spaces for adolescents, particularly for those who are vulnerable or marginalised in their social and school environments. We draw on our combined interests and passions for working with young people to begin this investigation with the working question:

How can we create transitional spaces by using the arts with vulnerable young people?

Our Starting Points

Alex McIntyre’s interest in transitional space is informed by her exploration of sculpture, exhibition curation and participatory arts practice. The production and viewing of sculpture in particular is seen as a process in which the subject is consciously embodied and so routed in present experience. Her current work as a practitioner with Art for Change, a creative learning project in collaboration with Watford Palace Theatre and three schools in Watford, demonstrates engagement with the use of creative processes to enable expression, conversation and transformation. The project uses the arts as a means to de-stigmatise mental health and to provoke discussion amongst young people across the schools. Her observation and reflection on conversations with young people and teachers regarding the challenges of discussing mental health has revealed ways in which the use of the arts might help us understand, re-imagine, and so change, responses to mental illness. Alex’s participatory practice has evolved through previous work producing sculptural installations and exhibitions, which aimed to engage the viewer in moments of interaction and response.   Visitors were invited to construct their journey within an exhibition space by reacting creatively to sculptures and written stimuli.

Martin Heaney is completing a PhD, which explores theatre in relation to ideas of transitional spaces of the male adolescent. He is particularly interested in exploring testing Donald Winnicott’s ideas of transitional space, that the event of inner transition is made possible only in relation to ‘the outside world of people, environments and events’ and exploring the arts in relation to Massumi’s ideas of ‘emergent’ transitional space where identities are played with and rehearsed.

Together, we wish to investigate how we can construct a dynamic transitional space for young people that has, in its construction, multiple dimensions of relational care, art-making, sensory engagement and productivity.

Brent Museum and archives lr2 Our Context

We are responding to the increasing presence of mental health issues for young people in Hertfordshire. One in ten children and young people aged 5 to 16 nationally have a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder and around one in seven has less severe problems[1]. Research data of the Hertfordshire Young People’s Manifesto 2014-2015 indicates that the overall majority of young people in Hertfordshire may not know how to keep themselves emotionally and mentally well. It also identifies a lack of funding for CAMHS in Hertfordshire, which means that many young people are waiting up to 6 months between an initial meeting and regular professional support.[2]

Our Objective

Through our research, we want to create a model of practice and research findings that we will share with other agencies. Through the exhibition, seminar and conference contributions we have planned, we aim to create a unique resource for Hertfordshire agencies to develop imaginative new pathways for young people to engage with the arts and increase their emotional wellbeing.

Untitled11 copy

[1] Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2012, Our Children Deserve Better: Prevention Pays

[2] Hertfordshire Young People’s Manifesto. https://www.youthconnexions-hertfordshire.org/media/428032/Manifesto-1125-2014.pdf

Joelle Taylor, Artistic Director of SLAMbassadors UK, leads workshop for HertsYCAs

LR Joelle MagicJoelle Taylor ran a highly successful workshop for Hertfordshire YCA’s at Watford Library on February 13th.

Joelle Taylor is a spoken word artist, slam poet, playwright and  novelist. She has performed across the UK as well as internationally for the British Council (Zimbabwe, Botswana) taking in a diverse range of venues from Dingwalls, the 100 Club, the 02 Arena, the Royal Festival Hall and Ronnie Scott’s to the Royal Court, the Globe, the ICA, Buckingham Palace and both Pentonville and Holloway prisons. Joelle is currently the Artistic Director ofSLAMbassadors UK, the national youth slam championships. Joelle is also the coach of the national team and delivers Master Classes and ongoing mentoring for emerging poets and spoken word artists.

This picture shows YCAs from Sir John Lawes School, Harpenden,in action writing and developing  work. We had an inspiring workshop and wonderful support from Emily Jacques, Young People’s Services Co-Ordinator at Watford Libary. Emily hosted the event and told us much more about what the library has to offer. It was a great day for YCAs!

Open Doors, part of the Hertfordshire Young Cultural Ambassadors Programme

IMG_5264Calling all venue-based Arts and Cultural Organisations in Hertfordshire to participate in OPEN DOORS, part of the HertsYCA programme 2014-2015.

The Hertfordshire Young Cultural Ambassadors programme is a youth leadership programme co-funded by the Royal Opera House Bridge working in partnership with Sir John Lawes and The Wroxham Teaching Schools, their school alliances and local cultural partners in Hertfordshire. HertsCreation Community Interest Company manages the project. Now in its second year, the Herts YCA programme will work with 10 schools and up to 12 young people in each school during the 2014-2015 academic year. The programme aims to deepen relationships between young people and arts and cultural organisations in Hertfordshire.

We would like to hear from venue-based arts and cultural organisations seeking to build stronger links with schools and young people.

  • In the Autumn or Spring terms, can you ‘open your doors’ to offer ambassadors a tour of your venue, give a short talk about what you do and how you work?
  • Could you link this YCA visit to an existing workshop or programme that YCAs can participate in?
  • Do you have a young person or families offer that you would like publicise through this visit?

Please note that to aid participation all Open Door events should be free or low cost to schools and YCAs.

What’s in it for you?

YCAs will tell their school and community about your cultural offer. They will actively encourage their teachers, peers and families to visit your venue by undertaking a blog post on the HertsYCA website and an assembly at their school. YCAs may seek to develop a longer-term partnership between your venue and their school.

What do you need to do?

  1. Select 3 to 5 dates and times between November 3 and 2 April 2015 when you could host a visit by a YCA school group and their lead teacher.
  2. State your venue’s name, address and details of how to book including a contact name and maximum number of guests you can host.
  3. Give brief information about your work and the sort of experience YCAs can expect when they visit you.
  4. What else can you offer? Please give information on any other offers you wish to make to YCAs and schools involved in the programme. This can include information on existing programmes of work and key dates that you wish to publicise to audiences.

Email information to Alex@hertscreation.com including ‘Open Doors’ in the subject line. Do get in touch if you would like more information about the programme or have other ideas about how you and your organization would like to be involved.

Deadline for submissions Monday 6 October 2014


Hertfordshire Young Cultural Ambassadors Youth Arts Calendar

Calling all Arts and Cultural Organisations in Hertfordshire.



FREE Publicity offered for your events in the Youth Arts Calendar of the Hertfordshire Young Cultural Ambassadors (YCA) Programme 2014-2015. Copy Deadline: Monday, October 6th.

 The Hertfordshire YCA programme is co-funded by the Royal Opera House Bridge working in partnership with Sir John Lawes and The Wroxham Teaching Schools, their school alliances and local cultural partners in Hertfordshire. HertsCreation Community Interest Company manages the project. Now in its second year, the Herts YCA programme will work across 10 schools involving up to 12 young people in each school during the 2014-2015 academic year. The programme aims to develop youth leadership and deepen relationships between young people and arts and cultural organisations in Hertfordshire.

We are creating a youth arts calendar of selected events and programmes across Hertfordshire for inclusion in our YCA toolkit.

  • Do you have a schools, families or young person’s offer that you would like to publicise?
  • Is the offer free or low-cost?

What’s in it for you?

  • Your event or programme will be included in the HertsYCA toolkit for teachers and YCAs across 10 schools.
  • YCAs may tell their school and community about your event.
  • They may participate in your event / programme or encourage their peers to get involved. If YCAs are interested in your work, YCAs may undertake a blog post on the website publlicising your work. YCAs may seek to develop a longer-term partnership between your organisation and their school.

What do you need to do?

Please send us:

  • 1 image
  • Name of event or programme
  • Location
  • When – dates, times of event.
  • Type of event (e.g. workshop, performance, exhibition)
  • Two sentences about the event (50 words max)
  • Cost
  • How to book
  • Website or contact details for further information

Email information to Alex@hertscreation.com including ‘HertsYCA Calendar’ in the subject line. Do get in touch if you would like more information about the programme or have other ideas about how you and your organisation would like to be involved.

Deadline for submissions Monday 6 October 2014

Hertfordshire’s Young Cultural Ambassadors 2014-15 – Apply now!

IMG_5264After a first successful pilot year, applications are welcomed for the Hertfordshire Young Cultural Ambassador Programme, funded by the Royal Opera House (ROH) Bridge in partnership with The Wroxham and Sir John Lawes Teaching Schools, their school alliances and local cultural partners in Hertfordshire. The project is managed and delivered by HertsCreation Community Interest Company.

The programme aims to increase opportunities for young people to participate in the arts and culture, develop leadership skills, and create new connections between young people in primary (KS2) and secondary schools and cultural organisations in Hertfordshire. It will support young people to lead arts activities in schools, enhance their school and local cultural offer and increase engagement in cultural activity amongst their peers.

Applications are invited from primary and secondary schools in Hertfordshire for 10 places on the programme with anticipated engagement of up to 8 young people in each school. This is an opportunity for schools to participate in a programme of student-led cultural activity which has had proven impacts in widening schools’ cultural engagement and promoting whole-school change through the arts.

For more information and an application form contact admin@hertscreation.com. Deadline for applications is 24 September 2014.

HertsYCA Celebration – A Success! Applications for 2014-15 opening soon.

‘This project has enabled a phenomenal spread of talent to emerge from our student community.’

Theodora Nickson, Head Teacher, Bishops Hatfield Girls School.

On July 8 2014 Hertfordshire’s Young Cultural Ambassadors celebrated their achievements during the pilot year 2013-14 at the Sandpit Theatre, St Albans.  A youth led and presented event, audiences were thrilled to see YCAs sharing their talent, through a range of performances, and also news of their impact within school and community environments.  Our special thanks to Sandringham School, the theatre technical team and in particular to Didier Osindero who hosted the event so beautifully.  We were particularly delighted to gain so much support from Arts and cultural organisations across Hertfordshire. Images speak louder than words so do look our gallery to see for yourself just how fantastic the event was.

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With the good news of the 2014-15 HertsYCA funding recently secured, we are pleased to announce that applications for Schools and young people wishing to take part will open next week September 1st – and close on 26th.   We have 10 school places, with a maximum number of 12 students per school participating. Do look out for news of how you can be part of the programme – coming soon!

HertsYCA Celebration July 8

July 8 Single line final

Schools, Young People and Arts Organisations are warmly invited to join us for

The Hertfordshire Young Cultural Ambassadors’ Programme Celebration


 The Sandpit Theatre, The Ridgeway, AL4 9NX

Tuesday 8 July 2pm – 3.30pm (Doors 1.30pm)

 Since June 2013, YCAs have been developing exciting programmes of cultural and arts activity that have transformed 6 Hertfordshire Schools (3 Secondary, 3 Primary). This is a pilot programme that is gaining ground and beginning to forge new connections between schools and arts organisations across the county.

 “This project enabled a phenomenal spread of talent to emerge from our school community.” Theodora Nickson, Head Teacher, Bishops Hatfield Girls School

The programme has been a powerful catalyst for school leaders to support young people who have led workshops, school celebrations and visits to arts organisations including the Royal Opera House. This programme is supported by a series of workshops for teachers and pupils.

 YCAs have produced work that has:

  • Increased young people’s engagement in the arts
  • Enabled young people to celebrate their creative talents and lead projects to engage other young people
  • Forged new links with arts organisations
  • Generated cross-school excitement and discovery of the potential of the arts to as a path to whole-school change.

 At this event you will get an opportunity to:

  • Discover what YCAs have achieved through the programme
  • Find out more about programme impacts from teachers
  • Get information about the YCA Programme 2014 – 2015 and how to apply.


 To book FREE tickets for the event, please go to: http://hertsyca.eventbrite.com