TRASH Arts is a small charity operating across Scotland, England, Europe and beyond. Working from the premise that people of all ages should have opportunities to be creative, its starting point is instruments and resources made from scrap. These are turned into drums, bells and other percussion. They also use donated ‘real’ instruments. More recently they have also used scrap and other resources to create graphic images and to decorate the instruments. Sometimes dramatic acrobatic performances are also incorporated!

Instruments include 40 gallon barrel drums, car wheel bells, scaffold bar chimes, batphones (large pipes tuned plastic pipes which create different notes when struck by a bat) and giant xylophones.TRASH Arts creates opportunities for young people and the ‘silver’ generation to share experiences and knowledge through mentoring, and the musical and visual arts. Older adults can bring techniques developed over many years, the conviction that the creative journey is worthwhile and practical help. Younger people can support the creative process with new ideas and resources, particularly using graphic and music software as the fulcrum to bring generations together.

TRASH Arts holds regular sessions at Artbeat in Hawick and also put together tailored programmes using music, visual arts, dance and I.T. They would like to replicate in Scotland a very successful project they ran in Israel, in which high school pupils worked on a ‘buddy system’ with adults with special needs to create a band and a performance.

Skill sets

TRASH has had about 16 years of working with a variety of groups, including youth, seniors, individuals with special needs, schools and community groups. The simple but unorthodox instruments and innovative workshop exercises provide an accessible and rewarding introduction to music making for uninitiated people of all ages and generations.

The group-based activities also aim to foster interpersonal skills, such as eye contact, listening and personal responsibility – all key to building relationships between people of different generations. Making and using instruments created from waste products also fosters an attitude of environmental responsibility.

Success quotes

“The integrated projects and performances in this country and beyond have changed perceptions of what can be achieved.”
“I now enjoy music.”
“I work well with others.”
“Never be afraid.”
“I am not that bad at music.”
“I learned that if I try I can be great at music.”
“It’s wonderful to see totally deaf children ‘get’ music”.
“We love having people from all over the world asking for our help.”