New Creatives: Easing out of lockdown through creativity

Over the last few months, I have been attending Rich Mix in Shoreditch, as a participant on the new Creatives programme, facilitated by Alex Brown and Chia Phoenix.

Through Wired4Music, I have gained so much experience externally and internally. I was scrolling through the newsletter, and saw an upcoming programme “New Creatives’ ‘.

I was skeptical because it would mean interacting with people again, which has been unfamiliar territory throughout 2020 and parts of 2021. I was however intrigued by the concept of having constant and a reason to think deeper about creativity. Throughout lockdown, finding the motivation and space to “be creative`’ has been challenging. Being in a physical environment where I can connect with other young people, twice a week, have controversial discussions about creativity and wellbeing, has been so refreshing.

The programme so far has helped me with my confidence and ability to share more openly, which is definitely something I have struggled with. The first session was quite surreal. Based in The Stage in the Rich Mix building, and chairs perfectly placed in a circle, all of the young people sat in silence. It was quite nerve racking, being in close proximity to other young people.

Questions started circulating, what will they think of me? Why are we all here? I wonder what we will do collectively? We had all come from different backgrounds and circumstances, but all found ourselves
here, to better ourselves in some way.

After some interactive and light hearted games, it definitely eased the atmosphere. Despite the fact that we were all very different, we found ourselves connecting, especially when we went round in a circle to say what creative practice we enjoy the most. Instantly, I started thinking about collaborations, which again, feels very unfamiliar. More recently, we have been having discussions that stimulate other areas of our mental health. Discussing words that we associate with creativity,
positioned all of the participants to think deeper about our own relationship with the arts. We have also experimented with taking pictures around the area (Shoreditch/Brick Lane), capturing the parts that appeal to us. This was a great way to invite more conversation about creativity and mental health, but also showed us
that creativity can be found in a simplistic way.

Having Consistency again

At the beginning, the end goal was not entirely clear. It was challenging to see where we would end up as participants, just simply trusting the process. Alex and Chia had set a presence, ensuring that we are all equal and have a say in the confidentiality agreement that is collectively created at the start. Trusting the process has been rewarding. While it is not always clear, New Creatives have framed a positive path
for us to better our mental health, creative practice, but also for us to connect again.

Alex and Chia have also made a point of ensuring that we have a say in how we progress on the programme. Through one to one meetings and informal discussions, we have been able to platform our highs and lows. As the weeks have progressed, we have been able to articulate an area of creative interest (writing/,music/events act).

This has led to further collaborations outside of the sessions. Making use of the space, some of the participants stayed on after, to sing, harmonise and to generally explore what it means to connect again through music. This just reinforces how necessary it is for young people to have a home away from home, without pressure or expectation.

As we approach the end of module one, the growth from all of us, the facilitators included, has been a warm, heartfelt experience. We have had a balance between practicing the life skills that we will use in an interview or professional setting, and looking more inward , exploring our creative interests.

Along with this, we have had regular communication in and outside of the sessions with Alex and Chia, which has really helped build a trusting relationship with them. For the second module , we can  all take on a different role, inviting others and having a more mentoring role, to new participants that join.

Looking forward, we will work towards finding comfort in creativity, wherever that may be and supporting each other. It has been a chance to
exhale and relax, in a stable facility which will only improve our confidence as we move on to this exciting next chapter.

Milli-Rose Rubin

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