Indigo Sapphire Moon
3 Aug, 2023
Bringing creative activism to Chelmsford

I’ve always been a creative person, and I feel silly saying that, because it implies there are people who aren’t creative, and I don’t believe that. We’re all born creative. And when I say creative, I don’t mean artistic. As defined by the dictionary, creativity means “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something”. As much as I believe this meaning to be correct, I also think we can create our own meanings behind the term. This definition also affirms my belief that we’re all creative. Everyone uses their imagination and generates our ideas, it’s part of the fabric of our existence.

As a child, I was a creator of all kinds: drawing, painting, writing, playing musical instruments, writing, singing, dancing and even animation model making. I don’t know who I would be or what I would be “doing” if I hadn’t honoured my creativity and specific interests. As an adult, I’m still a creator, the only thing that’s different is sometimes I use my creativity to gain an income.

I gained a creative writing degree at Bath Spa University back in 2019 plus a masters degree in Environmental Humanities from the same university in 2022. This experience was transformative, enriching and undoubtedly joyous. It led me to develop a passion for environmental justice and when I realised I was gay, a passion for LGBTQ+ rights.

I became the Environment and Ethics Officer at Bath Spa Students’ Union and campaigned to phase out single use cups on our campuses and encouraged the Student’s Union to diversify their bar menu with more plant-based options. And succeeded. I had the opportunity to be a committee member for Bath Spa Pride, created Bath Spa University’s first vegan society, created two environmental projects to encourage student participation in habitat restoration and educate them about the value of nature, and was a wellbeing champion which advocated for stronger visibility, help and support for student mental health.

In 2020, I founded an online platform and community, called Creative Being, which uses creativity to amplify positive change and marginalised voices. I conduct interviews with creatives, activists and other inspiring folk, create digital content, and run creative projects.

Activism became an important and rewarding part of my life and kickstarted a lifelong promise that I would utilise my creative skills and passions to advocate for marginalised voices, that includes human and non-human.

When I began working at The Art Place, which is a project of Ideas Hub Chelmsford, a charity whose aim is to create a permanent community space in Chelmsford to focus on supporting Chelmsford residents, local communities and organisations and promote diversity and inclusion.

The Art Place is a creative community space situated in the Meadows Shopping Centre that offers a platform for creatives to sell their work, creative workshops to benefit and connect the local community and befriending, signposting and outreach projects.

There, my role is as a duty manager and I specialise in retail and communications support. We’re encouraged to explore personal projects and passions that could benefit the local community, as well as, reach a more extensive audience. With my passion for environmental justice and creativity, I combined the two and came up with the idea to curate an exhibition that would explore how climate change is affecting the natural world and can empower us to create change. I named it, Earth 23, and have had the absolute pleasure of collaborating with a collective of wonderfully, talented creatives who have made the exhibition vibrant, compelling, and most importantly, valuable.

There’s animal sculptures made from recycled materials and a Jenga game with painted habitats and species. When played, participants learn how the loss of one species can cause an entire ecosystem to collapse. A fun way to uncover a frightening consequence if we continue to obliterate the natural world. But this is why I believe the exhibition is important.

Many of us feel overwhelmed, hopeless and powerless when it comes to climate change. We don’t believe, or know how, we can be agents of change. Earth 23 represents what’s possible when individual action is met with collective action, channelled through an accessible medium: creativity.

Every individual who has participated in the exhibition has contributed to a collective action: engaging, educating and inspiring audiences of various ages, and by selling their work, fundraising for The Rainforest Trust UK, which focuses on protecting threatened tropical rainforests and endangered wildlife worldwide.

If we’re going to mitigate the effects of climate change and further down the line, reverse it, people need to know their own individual power, but also the positive impact they can have when those individuals come together.

The exhibition is by no means offering a solution. It simply stands as a collective of creatives, offering a space to empower audiences to recognise their own powerful agency as human beings, and what we can achieve as a species, when we enable our creativity to flow freely.

I create my own definitions. And this exhibition is a form of creative activism. It’s understanding the value of activism, why we must protest and recognising the golden opening that creativity offers. When we allow ourselves to create, change is never far behind.

Creativity is part of us since we first make our way into the world. It flows through our spiritual essence, in alignment with the stillness and presence of the Earth, and nourishes our hearts and minds. It breathes into our core and expands our understanding of “creating” and what we can define it to be. An amalgamation of enhanced energy, using specific parts of the brain and existing in the present moment creates space for creativity to emerge from its cocoon, now able to fly free.

The Earth 23 exhibition runs until the 28th of August at The Art Place and is a collaboration between Ideas Hub Chelmsford and Creative Being. 10% of profits will be donated to The Rainforest Trust UK and we are encouraging visitors to leave feedback so we can make future exhibitions even better.

Follow The Art Place and Creative Being on Instagram @artplacechelmsford and @creativebeingcollaboration. Plus, more information can be found at Ideas Hub Chelmsford and creativebeingcollaboration.blogspot.com

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