Making Connections

I am excited.

After recently having my offer of making work for a hospital rejected (‘we have no volunteering opportunities at the moment but we will keep you on file…’), I am thrilled to have been successful in making a connection with a local hospice. I am even MORE excited that this is not about me going in and changing the way a wall looks, but going in and working with day-patients once a week in the hope of enlarging their social circle (at a time when it might feel as though it is diminishing) and building confidence in art techniques: essentially facilitating self-expression. I realise that we ‘give ourselves’ in different ways creatively. I spent an entire day chatting to homeless men at Christmas, advising on materials and offering help, whilst making a giant pompom out of scraps of wool. It didn’t matter that what I was making was essentially a very simple piece of repetition, because it was just about connecting with people whilst in the process of being absorbed by an activity. I was there to bring confidence and community, to normalise an experience which people do not always have easy access to, to reassure and overall to build that human connection. This is not hard: it is so simple, and it is the most powerfully rewarding activity. I may only be less than half way through my MA, but it feels as though I have now started something which will live on well beyond this qualification and provide a mutually creatively beneficial exchange on a weekly basis.

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So I am failing in ‘losing the moral responsibility‘ (although I think this was meant more in terms of not needing to ‘say something’ deep and political, and worrying about how people might interpret my work) but winning in other, arguably much more important aspects of where I want to be creatively. My Masters is no longer about how to win the public seal of approval as an Artist, but how to explore what is important in creativity, why we seek it, and how we can help others, particularly those from marginalized communities, experience this.

I feel like I am exploring this project with totally new eyes and breathing in great lungfuls of surprise, recognition and intense emotion. I am giving myself permission to do what comes naturally and not to over-analyse it.

YES!

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