We’ve got some exciting news: Element is has expanded, and we’ve welcomed a sparkling new Programme Manager. The wonderful Maeve Slattery will be overseeing projects with care leavers across London, supporting Element alumni into further creative opportunities with our partner organisations, and organising Element group trips to places of cultural and creative interest across the capital. We're delighted to have her onboard, not least because of her thoughtful and innovative mind, which you can see just a little bit of in her answers to these all important questions:
What's your definition of creativity?
Creativity, for me, is the process of giving space to capturing and growing ideas, thoughts and feelings through art, writing and/or performance. It's a way of finding and platforming your voice, and supporting others with this process too. Creativity is learning, very often collaboratively, and we all need to learn! I like to think about everything creative as Audre Lorde writes about poetry for women: "it is a vital necessity of our existence...the way we help give name to the nameless so that it can be thought". This is why I think creativity is so tied up in feeling well in yourself.
What kind of an artist are you?
In the past year I've introduced myself also as a 'poet', because I spend so much time (and love) reading and writing poetry. It feels weird as I rarely perform, due to nerves, but that's something that I am trying to work on! I have experience of making and designing jewellery, embroidery, painting and drawing. I would say I enjoy collaborating with others through art and writing. One of my close friends is a poet and we support each other with writing. She is Yemeni and Somali and is teaching me Arabic, whilst I support her with developing her vocabulary and grammar in English. Our experiences and lives are incredibly different, but I have learnt a great from her through collaborating, and seeing how she has found her voice.
Have you ever used creativity to solve a problem?
In my most recent role at The Clement James Centre I provided 1:1 employment and educational support to adults and young people. I also supported with advice and guidance issues such as housing, benefits, debt and grants. I used creativity as a way of getting to know the people that I worked with. I always gave space and time to explore their interests and experiences, beyond the often challenging circumstances that they found themselves in. In addition to the forms, applications and calls that we worked on, I would take at least 5 minutes, in every appointment, to just talk generally. By doing this I discovered that I worked with poets, journalists, artists, tailors, filmmakers, jewellers, writers and teachers. I also learnt a lot about how people visualise and remember information differently.
Find out more about the Element team here