After a mapping report based on their findings was developed, the Labbers attended another round of workshops that were conducted by Ngiam Su-Lin (Executive Director of ArtsWok) and Justin Lee, a sociologist and social researcher. These were to guide them through the next four phases of the Lab – designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluation (the DIME model). They also met with other practitioners: Izzaty Ishak from The Community Theatre, Beyond Social Services; and Lin Shi Yun and Md Muazzam (Zam) from Tak Takut Kids Club by 3Pumpkins. They shared with the Labbers about their community-engaged work with children and young people through the arts.
Between December 2021 and February 2022, the Labbers designed a programme logic and collectively created a theory of change framework. These helped them develop a programme that focuses on youths and their mental well-being. Titled Thrive-Thru, the programme consisted of 4 full-day workshops that took place in March 2022. The key objective of Thrive-Thru was to build youth mental wellness through an interactive, immersive arts-based experience that encouraged co-creative processes. Through this, the aim was to help build mental health literacy, individual coping strategies and peer support for each other. The Labbers facilitated most of the sessions and external professionals–Izzaty Ishak from Beyond Social Services and Khoo Yi Feng from Limitless–were brought on board to facilitate some segments. The Labbers conducted monitoring and evaluation of each workshop at the end of each day, comprising a mix of participatory activities, surveys and discussions.
Highlights of the workshop activities included:
- participants creating their own “Tree of Life” which captured their heritage, values, support systems and other significant aspects of who they are and how they live
- going on a bus ride and self-designed journey to learn how to pay attention to their minds and bodies in space, and how to rest
- drama games and activities that led to the creation of short forum theatre skits where participants could replace characters in an attempt to solve dilemmas
- the participants designing resources that would be helpful for promoting well-being for their peers, displayed in the form of a convenience store for youths.
After the completion of Thrive-Thru, the Labbers prepared an overall evaluation report and shared it with the project funders, as well asthe Yuhua community stakeholders whom ArtsWok engaged with in preparation of the Lab . This report included recommendations on the approaches for programming and participant engagement, which may help future youth-oriented programmes achieve fuller outcomes.