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My creative journey … through a pandemic!

By Jade Kilkenny

'My blog is about the difference Articulate has made within myself and other people's lives, using art to encourage you to develop and create something that is personal during lock-down.'

I got involved with Articulate because I wanted to try something new and create an art piece that I could be proud of. The project, created by Staf (Scottish through and aftercare forum) and Articulate, was called Artivism. The project was only meant to be for eight weeks but because of lock-down it went on for longer, but I was glad because I really enjoyed learning how to create this piece. I understood that making the work was about raising awareness of care and justice but when I was creating it I didn’t feel that way, I was just Jade who likes dogs learning how to stencil and spray paint. This is how it should be for young people; they should not feel they need to tell their story to be liked, accepted, or given opportunities.

Learning a new skill was insightful, I didn’t think I was capable of being creative in this way but what I learned was that anyone can be creative (even my dog can be creative!).

Being creative is not about having skill it is about learning skills, overcoming obstacles and having the confidence to do something with it.

Staf and Articulate have been incredibly supportive of me and my ambitions before and throughout lock-down. Getting involved with Articulate through Artivism was just the start of a new learning adventure. I did find it hard to start with because it was getting to know totally new people and accepting that I didn’t need to be good at everything to be involved in making art.

Relationships are difficult, everyone has a story to tell no matter if it is a worker, young person, or adult. Sometimes there are policies, procedures, and unspoken rules in the care community but when did it become so complicated to have a relationship with someone?

Everyone needs boundaries within a relationship to set the balance and find an unspoken way of support and respect for each other. The reality is relationships within the care community often become 9-5, Monday to Friday. You feel like you can only speak to certain people at certain times but unfortunately, the trauma and chaos in our lives does not stop at 5 on a Friday. I feel that Articulate understands that when you create a relationship with someone there will be ups and downs and supporting them is a commitment you make regardless. Everyone has flaws and challenges but Articulate is one of the organisations that has taught me that support doesn’t need to fit in a time slot. Sometimes you need to think what is morally okay and go with it and just have trust in the young people they will respect your boundaries. Just knowing someone is there is sometimes enough; it doesn’t mean we are going to phone all through the night!

At Articulate I created one strong relationship, with Laura Frood their Empowerment Co-ordinator who saw my unique personality. She opened her creative box and offered me some amazing opportunities; it has been incredible. I have many positive relationships and now I have another.

Laura would do anything for anyone. She is one of many that inspire me to be the kind of professional I want to be; achieving a degree for example. I am quite a bold person. I say it how it is. Every project I have been involved in through Articulate I have grabbed with both hands. Myself and another young person were on a Zoom call with the producers of The Nest and I did not hesitate to ask if there was an opportunity for me and this other young person to create a script and then send them this script to be reviewed! Maybe it could be used for a short film or even in the series? Obviously they said ‘yes’ because, well let’s be honest, how could you say no to me?

Two young people who are care experienced creating a script? It needs to be done to erase the stigma of care within film-making and how film producers use this aspect of life in films all the time. They don't realise what it does to young people in care believing this false sense of reality. Laura supported us to apply for funding to make it happen.

I contact Articulate every day with new ambitions and the new ideas I have, which is incredible because Laura and Eona jump through hoops to make sure they can somehow help me achieve these. There will always be people with lived experience of care, but we won’t be care experienced captioned forever.

During lock-down everyone has been struggling either financially, mentally, or just feeling under pressure. Articulate tried to be there for as many people as possible doing Zoom workshops, every day, even on Sundays, giving up time to make sure everyone was keeping busy and feeling less lonely, giving us tasks and deadlines to make things and learn new skills from loads of artists. Coming directly to our houses and dropping of creative care packages, just to say hi and show we mattered.

It is overwhelming the support Laura provided every single person possible, even people that were just not ready to be involved for whatever reason. Laura honestly deserves a right good spa day and the biggest shield award ever created because she has been our shield through this difficult time.

During lock-down, Laura and Eona also created a training programme for young people like myself, so that we could achieve an Arts Award and earn a wage by becoming online Creative Assistants, helping with workshops and developing any more new skills to support other younger people digitally.

I am sure Articulate has helped everyone find something new within themselves that they did not know about. Since the start of lock-down, we have joined workshops on photography - getting out in nature taking pictures that inspired us and learning how to use our devices more - learning how to paint in different ways with different materials and artists, learning how crochet (which I found really difficult), learning about social media and keeping ourselves safe from fake news, learning about creating comedy material and what it means to be a comedian, learning how to write and create songs, learning how to draw, learning how to scrapbook, learning how to collage, learning how to write a script and much more.

It has been a very eventful creative journey that is for sure ...

Jade Kilkenny – 17 August 2020

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