Project Description

The small kitchen in the African Arts Centre is crowded with boys. Johnny has a painting and decorating background and today he is expert, teacher and youth worker in one, teaching the boys how to plaster the walls.

They stand, in overalls, around the mixing tub, taking a turn at using the mixing drill. From the concentration on their faces, it seems new, hard work. Some boys need help with the drill, some spray the plaster over the sides of the mixing tub, but there is no teasing or criticism or larking around.

James and Tony are among the boys listening keenly to Johnny, twitching to take their turn and try out what they have learned.

James:      I’m in third year and just doing this thing. Tiling and all that. And pasting.

Tony:       It was hard at first but then it just became a wee bit easier. Dipping and dabbing and all that. You would just put it on your hock thing and you just scrape it off and put it up against the wall.

Andy Masterson has worked at Govan High School for twenty-five years, all in. He wears a suit and striped tie. His school pass hangs around his neck. He is here to check on the boys in overalls, to see that they are present and engaged.  

 Andy:      At the moment these young people are ostracised from the community, because they’re seen as bad boys and nobody wants to know them, and that will only develop further problems. We identified five young people who were pupils at the school, who appeared to be at issue, shall we say, who are at odds with the local community – vandalism, graffiti – and the whole idea was to get these young people involved in their own community, for them to put something back. A sense that they have something to offer their own community and to become part of that community again.