This post has been in the draft section for over a month, but I still wanted to publish it. Over the years I’ve had loads of support for the various activities I’ve undertaken and the weekend in Leeds was no different.
It’s nerve-wracking going to new places and walking into UNION – The Northern School of Creativity and Activism at Chapel FM Arts Centre in Leeds was no different.
The residential’s theme was about Community, Creativity and Change where we got to see community arts and engagement in the Seacroft area of East Leeds in action. There was also a strong element of group work and encouraging us participants to co-design our
It was a fantastic weekend of meeting likeminded people trying to make the world a better place through creativity, arts and activism. Sometimes this creative journey can feel quite lonely and misunderstood. Last weekend, I found people in similar situations trying to get projects off the ground for the communities we work for and in.
I learnt a heck of a lot about community engagement, the types of community engagement and, at last, acquired vocabulary (and validation) to frame the work I do as a practitioner.
Everyone was welcoming, no competitiveness, a supportive environment.
I’ve been lucky in this life to have opportunities that accommodate my disability, and this programme was no different. There had been a lot of pastoral care taken into consideration when applying for the course, so many of my anxieties a with the course as me, rather than worrying if or when I was going to make my needs known or feeling uncomfortable or wary about speaking up.
This time though, I actually felt safe enough in myself to leave those worries at the door and participate as me. Which in a weird way, is a strange experience and I’m guessing what ordinary people get to do most days.
Here’s my list of people to thank:
- A HUGE thank you to Adrian Sinclair and Linda Strudwick for making the weekend possible, for making it so accessible, for the support – before and during and for the homestay.
- Thanks to Chris Taylor for facilitating the weekend.
- Sara Domville – for her wise words and guidance.
- Katy Hayley for her support, especially on Friday night when the overwhelm and exhaustion reared its ugly head, for reminding me to eat on the Saturday and reminiscing about shared sixth form experience.
- The children from the food club who made our tea and hosted so well.
- Howard from LS14 for his insightful and entertaining talk on community engagement.
I cannot wait to see where this journey takes our cohort.
You can read more about UNION over here.