What is your connection with Creativity Works?: (e.g. volunteer, participant, artist)
How did you first come across Creativity Works?
I was doing some research on organisations working in the field of arts and health and came across the Creativity Works website. I thought the work of the organisation sounded great. Then when I was looking on a website advertising voluntary opportunities I saw they were looking for volunteers and support in a range of areas.
Which projects have you been involved with?
I started off helping with identifying new funding opportunities. Then I became interested in the evaluation side of their work and involved in the Fresh Art @ Hillview Project to support that part of it. I attended the Steering Group meetings and helped to put in place the evaluation framework for the project, drawing all the different strands together and the findings.
What have you enjoyed the most about working with Creativity Works?
I’ve enjoyed being involved in a really worthwhile project, which has demonstrated the power of creative activity to have an impact on peoples’ lives and wellbeing. I have worked in museums and art galleries for a number of years in the past and it was great to see creative workshops held in museum spaces for therapeutic benefit. Also I liked the fact that the work created would go on to enhance the living spaces at Hillview Lodge (the psychiatric unit at the RUH) and hopefully in some way improve peoples’ experience of being there.
I’ve really enjoyed getting to know staff from Creativity Works and meeting staff from other organisations, artists, volunteers and participants. It has been wonderful to be involved in something that had such momentum and lots of inspiring, passionate people on board.
What have you found surprising about Creativity Works?
First of all that they are based in Radstock and therefore practically on the doorstep! But mainly that staff have been so welcoming and willing to include volunteers in their work and projects – allowing projects to take new shapes and go in different directions.
In what way has Creativity Works been of value or support to you?
I’ve enjoyed being able to focus on and be involved in something that I see to be worthwhile and beneficial to others. It has reinforced my belief in the power of creative activity to contribute to mental and physical wellbeing.
What has been your biggest professional, personal or creative achievement to date?
I worked for Bristol’s Museums, Galleries and Archives for a number of years and during that time was responsible for organising a wide variety of events relating to high profile exhibitions such as Banksy Vs Bristol Museum – it was an exciting exhibition to have played a part in delivering.
I am also proud to have coordinated the ‘Environmental Photographer of the Year’ Competition and Exhibition on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management, for which there were over 10,000 submissions from 105 different countries and which involved liaising with 80 artists, a number of judges and sponsors, as well as organising and curating the final exhibition. It was hard work but felt a real achievement when it all came together.
Do you have any creative aspirations for the future (with or without Creativity Works)?
Volunteering for Creativity Works has encouraged me to pursue more creative activities. I recently took a course in drawing and painting and would like to continue with this, but also to experiment more with different materials and ways of expressing myself creatively.