Writer, comedian and actress Isy Suttie became a Create Patron after presenting our BBC Radio 4 Charity Appeal which aired on 20 September 2020, raising £37,909 towards our work with young carers. As part of Create’s 2020/21 Impact Report, she shared with us the importance of creating during the pandemic and why she is passionate about the work we do at Create.
None of us could have predicted what has happened in the past year, and we’re yet to see the extent of the pandemic’s effects on the less visible, less life-and-death aspects of us as human beings, like creativity. How meeting up with someone for a coffee can spark a thought which leads to a new creative endeavour. How travel to a new environment can ignite a different part of our brain, which affects what we might feel like making. I’ve found that the smallest, most innocuous thing – overhearing something a stranger says which sticks in my memory, for example – can inspire. And we’ve had a lot less of that stuff for a year, so we’ve been forced to be more resourceful in our search for inspiration and motivation.
“When I am creating something and I’m completely absorbed in it, I don’t feel alone. It’s like a friend in my pocket.”
I’ve been bowled over by what I’ve seen Create do this past year, having not experienced any of its workshops in ‘real life’. Working in what are surely extremely trying circumstances for any creative venture, when I’ve watched the workshops over Zoom I’ve quickly forgotten we’re not all in the same room, such is the kindness, skill and (undoubtedly meticulous) preparation that’s gone into things. Nobody is left out, and the tutors give due attention to each person’s work: everyone feels valued. The Young Carers’ Action Day was a prime example of this. The young people involved spoke so confidently and passionately about the works they had produced in the Create workshops, it moved me to tears.
“Create has always played a large and very valuable part in its participants’ lives, and I imagine its role has become even more important in the past year.”
When I am creating something and I’m completely absorbed in it, I don’t feel alone. It’s like a friend in my pocket, a warm thing bursting with its own energy. I have felt this more keenly in the past year, when I’ve been unable to meet up with other people to share thoughts about what we’re working on, or even sit side by side knitting together or writing in silence, knowing the other one is there if we want to bounce ideas off each other. Projects have begun to serve a slightly different purpose – to be a source of solace and sheer escapism in a more intense way than when I can freely see others.
Create has always played a large and very valuable part in its participants’ lives, and I imagine its role has become even more important in the past year. When we are surrounded by uncertainty, we want constants – and Create has managed to stay a constant in its participants’ lives and routines. I am sure that when its participants look back on the pandemic, the time spent creating with Create will be something that brought them both joy and strength, perhaps even a lifeline.