Why is creativity important now?
Many people are finding the current lockdown extremely stressful, with their normal lives being stripped away. Motivation can run dry, stress levels rise and mental wellbeing suffers. We’ve been reaching out to local communities and collaborating with other organisations to run virtual workshops for wellbeing.
Creativity can help people express themselves during difficult times. Author Graham Greene writes in Ways Of Escape “Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”
To be in solitude, When I’m away from the world, in the comfort of my home with the sun shining in through my French windows and soft music playing, whilst the scent of my favourite incense burns.
Participant’s ‘free-write’ exercise
We’ve been running a series of online creative workshops for wellbeing, from mindfulness writing to spoken word poetry. Each workshop has brought writing, hosted by skilled facilitators including Mel Scagliarini, Esi Yankey, Nicolette Wilson-Clarke and Francesca Baker. Participants have been empowered and together members of the community to share their passions in creative encouraged, given techniques to support their wellbeing and an open space to write about their experience.
One of the workshops was specifically for people with learning disabilities – organised in partnership with PIP (Pursuing Independent Paths) who support adults with learning disabilities to achieve their potential. Suzy Gill, actress, poet & playwright ran the session focusing on ‘painting with words’ with the use of rhymes. Maike, PIP Development Worker, said “The students absolutely loved it! Some of them haven’t done any sort of creative writing classes before so this was their first experience, I’m so glad it was such a positive one.”
Inspired by people’s contributions
We’ve been moved and inspired by the writing people have produced in the sessions, including this piece by Willelmina Joseph-Loewenthal. And we’ve been blown away by some incredible feedback from the sessions.
“It was fantastic, just what we need in a pandemic! In the midst of all this fear and uncertainty, the provision of such a creative, respectful and vibrant space was so healing. Thank you to everyone who contributed, it was very humbling and certainly helped recharge my batteries.”
“As a poet I already appreciate writing, and being given the space to write is a really wonderful thing for me. However, what I especially appreciated was the space it gave me to clear my mind, while at work. I came to the session looking for another tool I could add to my mindfulness practice, and I think this has given me just that”
“I had a difficult evening yesterday and it was refreshing to be able to express a lot of that in poetry today. The last two have been really empowering for me. Thank you to you and both trainers who have done the workshops.”
“Thank you so much for the excellent delivery of this morning workshop. I learnt many new things in such short time… like that writing can be a way to understand the world, I always thought that you can achieve this through reading only.”
“Thank you again for having me on board it’s honestly made me release a lot and I really appreciate this.”