Celebrating Creativity

cc DSC08979 I think the thing that I am most grateful for about this blog is the opportunities it has provided me with, especially when it comes to opportunities I would not have otherwise chosen to do, or even known existed. Last week was one of those times, when I was very kindly invited by Citizen M to visit their London Bankside hotel for an evening of #CelebratingCreativity. I wasn’t entirely sure what this would entail, but decided in a ‘just say yes’ moment to go along with it anyway, and I am now rather pleased I did.

Set in one of their modern and inspiring glass-clad meeting rooms, Citizen M had put on an evening for bloggers and writers with two speakers and a nice spread of nibbles and fizz to enjoy. Both of the speakers turned out to be fantastic, unique women working in the field of creativity in very unique ways. First up was Liz Atkin, a visual artist who has turned her struggles with mental illness into captivatingly real pieces of work inspired by skin and texture. Having suffered with Compulsive Skin Picking for most of her life, she turned her struggles into projects to aid her recovery, helping many others out in the process. As well as raising awareness and understanding of these lesser-known conditions, her work has been featured in and supported mental health institutions. It was truly fascinating to listen to such an unusual artist speak so freely and honestly about the personal intimacies of her life and health that inspired her work, and truly inspiring to hear how she turned such a debilitating condition into such a positive and create outlet.

The next speaker was Jessica Swale, a playwright and director who spoke beautifully of the difficulties of being a woman in such an old-school, male dominated industry. Despite personally not having much knowledge of the world of theater, her talk really struck a chord with me in terms of my own creativity. She discussed how she stuck to her beliefs and stayed true to her creative design despite everyone around her saying how she’d need to do things differently to succeed. What really stood out for me was how she spoked of the importance of creating, making, writing for yourself, not for a hypothetical audience. If you’re creating what you think people want to see, then you’re losing the personal design of it. I think this translates across so many fields of work and interest, it’s so important to remember why you’re doing it, to embrace the love of it and to do it for yourself. The audience will follow when they feel the passion and authenticity in your work, something I think we can all take forward in our own lives.

I left the hotel feeling truly inspired to keep going and improve my own work, writing and photography, and spent the train ride home filling a notebook with the contents of my brain that had filled up with ideas over the course of the evening. It really was a lovely event and I’m very grateful to Citizen M for the invitation and for hosting it in such an interesting and innovative space.

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