Rachael’s Story: “Being creative always calms me”

inspired:arts is Create’s multi-art programme for young carers. In August inspired:arts went to Nottingham where photographers Adele Watts and Camilla Greenwell worked with young people from Action for Young Carers Nottingham. The group explored Nottingham’s community and sense of local identity through photography. inspired:arts enabled the young carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities, build trusting relationships with their peers and develop social skills and confidence.  

Rachael* cares for her mother who has Parkinson’s. She talked about being a carer and taking part in inspired:arts:

“The whole project was focused on looking at everyday objects and places in new ways. When you’re thinking about taking pictures of things you see them in a different light. Things you’d normally walk past if you were rushing around town getting to where you wanted to be are really interesting when you stop and think about them. Seeing people enjoying parts of town you think of as normal is amazing.  

“We used different camera techniques, different heights, different angles, to make everyday life things, like plants and bushes, look like somewhere other than Nottingham. When we went to the market in town, another participant and I were just having fun with the camera, taking it in turns to take photos. It was amazing to see how different the photos we came back with were even though we were taking pictures of the same place.

“On the first day of the project I only really knew two people here but now I’ve made lots of new friends. I feel much more comfortable now and everyone is saying they’d do the project again if it was on. I got a photo of everyone together showing teamwork, which I’m really proud of.

“Time away from my caring responsibilities lets me be a teenager. People’s idea of a teenager is playing on gadgets, hanging out with their mates, not coming in until late, spending money when they want to. When I explain what I do for my mum, and that I’ve been doing it since I was 11, people say I do a lot, but it’s natural for me, part of my everyday routine.

“Being creative always calms me down. By taking a picture I don’t have to speak, read or write and worry about spelling or saying things wrong. I can just let the picture speak for me.”

* Name changed to protect anonymity