Projects, community and workshops

Community, Events, Mental Health

I question my ethics about wellbeing, community and working with people.

I enjoy working hard, but only if that hard work is enjoyable. And by that I mean that the end results of my projects are positive. Either as personal gain or as a collective result as a whole.
My work focuses on inclusion, collaborations, accessibility and promoting wellbeing to my audience. I can work alone in my own company, here I find time to create and research. But I enjoy the time I spend with others, whether that is collaboratively with The Pop-Up Booth, working alongside vulnerable people, with people just in general.
My recent workshop, held at The Mount Acute Care Unit for elderly people, reaffirmed my desire to work in this area. The few hours I spent there each week, delivering the workshop and teaching new skills, gave the patients who attended the workshop a great feeling of purpose. Creating eight pieces of work to be displayed on the wards, the workshop enabled people to work together, feel a sense of achievement, be encouraged and see the fantastic results of their hard work. It’s these moments that assist with recovery and allow people to thrive without judgement. I recall my mother speaking of her time spent in a rehabilitation unit following brain surgery, talking about how the inclusive moments, creating together, cooking together, aided her recovery, encouragement on even small levels can do great good in the psychological progress of recovery. Art has an important role in this, and shouldn’t be undervalued.

Moving on from this, is my current work in the Leeds community. I always use myself as an example, trying to put myself in others shoes and from conversations I’ve had with people, when thinking about how I can make a contribution to my community. I know my skills and I know my limitations.
I’m a good manager, I’ve grown into somebody who excels at not only managing the necessities of admin, but in managing people. I don’t say this as a boast, but hopefully as an example of good practice. As much as I have often doubted myself in the past, the one thing I have always felt confident with is my dealings with other people. I dislike conflict, I feel there is first always a way to avoid it with understanding, tolerance and reason. Maybe with age I have learnt how to talk to people and manage situations others would feel uncomfortable with, listen to the other person and how they feel, find out why they are feeling that way, try to resolve the situation using this knowledge. Assumption is one of the biggest causes of low morale, a team works together, a dictatorship works alone.
Why is this so important? Well, in my working with people, it sometimes requires leadership, I like to take on challenges and with this I need to be able to have the head to manage them.
Last year I took on the challenge of hosting an exhibition of work from a wide range of artists across Leeds, from patients in care to professional photographers, the opportunity allowed some to show work for the first time, others to create connections, all to share in raising awareness about both their work and the campaign it supported. Throughout the planning I had to deal with a variety of people in a friendly yet diplomatic manner, being professional to the end.
I work within the boundary of promoting wellbeing, this is something very important to me, feeling part of something good is an instant mood boost. This summer I have founded a photography group Take Notice Leeds, the aim is to share skills, take on challenges and showcase our work. I felt there is a place for this group, people who share a similar passion, but who maybe did not feel welcome or comfortable at the alternatives that are out there. The amazing thing is what you can create when you encourage people and allow them the opportunity to be part of something.

The simple mission statement of Take Notice Leeds is:

A group that welcomes all, promotes inclusion and offers a friendly photography loving environment.

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