Looking back with BBC Radio 4, springing forward with Dream(ing)Field Lab & some creative refueling
Updated: Apr 26, 2021
In the first few months of 2021 - during lockdown, I was working on two arts projects for BBC Radio 4 that reflect on the past year and the experience of the pandemic. I produced an episode of Shockwaves, wonderfully presented by Anoushka Shankar - it explores the impact of the pandemic on musical creativity. I also composed music for the series Outsiders. where five writers 'tell us about the ways in which the pandemic has changed their relationship with the outside world', - a beautiful series elegantly produced by Mair Bosworth and Eliza Lomas.
As I've moved on from this reflective work with the BBC, there's a sense of new ways or creating emerging with the Dream(ing) field Lab. Since the end of last year I've been cherishing virtually meeting with the artistic team Co-creators/writers Zoë Palmer, and Jennifer Farmer as well as afrofuturist visual artist Kookie Blu. They recently created the glorious film poem above.
In partnership with producers Hatch Ideas Dream(ing)field Lab is 'co-creating a sanctuary for rest, joy, communal care and nature connection with women and femmes of the African diaspora -in response to climate breakdown.' The project is commissioned by Season for Change and Julie's bicycle. To enhance this amazing project further you can contribute to the crowdfund until 19th May 2021. There's lots of beautiful content being shared on social media - take a look on twitter and Instagram.
It was icy February when I was composing the music for Outsiders - below is a picture taken on the day I started working on the project. I really relished the opportunity to imagine the light airiness and emotion of spring while composing the music for the series.
Curiously, when Spring actually arrived I realised I was feeling disconnected and numb to the emergent season around me. At first this concerned me, but then taking stock I acknowledged I had been working intensively on two projects in extraordinary conditions and reflecting creatively on a year of pandemic tumult - I've been fortunate to have work, but I realised that creating continuously working to deadlines throughout the year has taken its toll. I came across an illuminating episode of the On Being Podcast which asks "what is happing to our nervous system" in the pandemic? - I recommend listening - it helped me understand the numbness I was feeling.
So I have been taking some time to rest and refuel creatively. For me this means incorporating some freeform writing, creating, moving and spending time in nature and noticing and giving space to the smallest spark of emotion. Gradually the numbness has thawed and I can feel again the aliveness of spring, the pangs of loss from the past year and the healing glow of the fire. After many years of working creatively I know it's imperative I take care of my emotional health to ensure I am alive to the full range and vocabulary of my emotional being, so I am ready and able to create the next project.
If you're interested in joining me on a course for creative practitioners, where we will work with nurturing and taking care of our own creativity to sustain our practice - please get in touch