We Have Hands: A Call to Arms for Artists, Makers, Teachers, Engineers…

We Have Hands

We Have Hands!

We Have Hands is a new AccessArt Particpatory Project and we invite you all to join in.

AccessArt has been campaigning to support making for many years (and more recently campaigning about why it is so important to recognise the lack of making in schools as being problematic).

We Have Hands will help support this campaign, and create awareness around the need to protect and develop opportunities for children and young people to develop their dexterity skills. We Have Hands reminds us that our dexterity is something to be celebrated and supported, not taken for granted. Opportunities in schools for hands-on exploration using tools and materials are under threat from other curriculum areas, and the project will remind us all how vital these skills are to our economy, our cultural richness and diversity, our individual identity, and our wellbeing.

It’s free to join in with the project and very simple.

Who can join in?

We want the project to be as inclusive as possible.

We welcome individual artists from all artforms, designers, crafts people, makers, musicians, actors, sports people, architects, scientists, engineers, doctors, dentists, vets, gardeners, hobbiests, teachers and workshop leaders, as well as schools, community groups, galleries, museums, further and higher education, as well as local, regional and national organisations to add their name or logo to the We Have Hands Supporters Page, and to send in images to the We Have Hands Gallery (Coming Soon).

We recognise of course that some people do not have hands, or do not have use of their hands in the same way as others. We want to make sure everyone feels included, so please do send us images of the ways you interact with the material world if appropriate.

3 Easy Ways to Join In!

1. Exchange Logos

Make sure your logo is displayed on the We Have Hands supporters page, and display the We Have Hands logo on your website in return. It’s simple – find out how at www.accessart.org.uk/we-have-hands-supporters

2. Send us your photos!

We invite you to send us your photographs of hands which are interacting with the material world resulting in a transformative experience. You might interpretate this as hands employed in making, or hands being used expressively in drama, or hands using tools in surgery or dentistry, or hands which are clearly “thinking” – such as designers, engineers or scientists hands.

Photographs received will be uploaded to the We Have Hands Gallery on the AccessArt website. We will use the gallery and project to raise awareness of the importance of supporting dexterity skills in children and young people, amongst politicians, educationalists, parents…

We may select a series of the highest quality (and resolution) images for print if we decide to explore a physical (as well as digital) exhibition.

Email photographs to [email protected]. If you have a large number of images or they are very high resolution you may prefer to use www.wetransfer.com which is free and easy to use. Again use the [email protected] email address with wetransfer.

By sending us your images you agree to allow AccessArt to use them in anyway it seems fit in relation to the We Have Hands project. AccessArt cannot be held responsible for use of the images beyond the project on other sites.

No payment will be made for any images used, though we will credit all images where possible. See below for guidance when taking photographs.

3. Sign Up!

Complete the sign up form below to let us know you are interested in the project and we will keep you updated with all our latest news.

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The We Have Hands Supporters Page

Exchange Logos and Show Your Support!

Exchange Logos and Show Your Support!

The “We Have Hands” Gallery

Coming Soon!

Coming Soon!

Photographic Quality

  • Follow these simple guidelines when taking and submitting images (click to read more)

    • Make sure you have permission for us to use the images from both the person whose hands are being photographed, and from the photographer.
    • Make sure the photographs are the highest quality you can take:
      • Well lit
      • In focus
      • Try to ensure the background does not distract from the hands in action
    • Please do not include any faces.  Images should focus on the hands in action.
    • Make sure the images are the highest resolution possible. Please do not alter the size or compress images.
    • You may use a camera on a phone or tablet as long as the quality is good (this is an easy way to take the images and email them to us).
    • Please save each image with the name of the photographer (so we know who to credit) e.g. Paula_Briggs_Acorn_Primary_School.jpg
    • You may also like to email us a sentence or two about the context of the image. We will include in the text in the digital gallery if space allows.

Background to We Have Hands

  • Find out where did the idea behind We Have Hands came from (click to read more)

    When I was a student over 30 years ago at Norwich School of Art, I remember a fellow student once commenting that there was nothing in the world more beautiful than the sight of a woman’s hands arranging her hair. The comment stayed with me (it had never occured to me before that hands which conveyed intention could be beautiful).

    Sheila Ceccarelli and I have been engaged in supporting and enabling making for many years, and more recently, as we have documented countless workshops in order to create AccessArt resources, it has occured to me that actually (for me at least), there is nothing in the world more beautiful than the sight of hands making.

    I think we take our ability as a species to manipulate and transform materials for granted. Our urge to reinvent our environment, use tools, and value and enjoy the things we make sets us apart from other species. It’s impossible to think of the world had we existed as a species without our urge to make (and make better).

    It is through our hands that we connect brain, eye and heart with the physical world. Incredible to think of the flights of the mind, the struggle to grasp ideas, made concrete through our tangible, finite fingers through their battle with the materialty of the world. Ephemeral made concrete, intention made real. Stubby work-worn thumbs spinning the finest silken thread. Podgy nebulous fingers of a toddler discovering clay for the first time. The deft accuracy of a surgeon sewing.

    It is in the strength of intention that the beauty occurs. How is it, that when you photograph just the hands of a person struggling to make a sculpture balance, that you can feel the power of that struggle, and see the meaningful intention of the interaction?

Share the project!

Please share this page using the social media links above, and using #WeHaveHands on twitter.


We Have Hands is an ongoing project.

Further Questions?

Please email [email protected]

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