Author: nikita


Art Is Freedom 2


In May and June 2023, Create partnered with Ashurst and Hestia to develop and deliver a series of visual art workshops as part of Hestia’s Art Is Freedom project. This empowered 17 survivors of modern slavery through the creation of stunning paintings. Hestia is a charity that provides adults and children across London with a life beyond crisis.

Art Is Freedom artwork at private view

It’s a good feeling thinking about my next chapter. It’s a nice thing to put into our paintings.



Anti-Slavery International defines modern slavery as “when an individual is exploited by others, for personal or commercial gain. Whether tricked, coerced, or forced, they lose their freedom”.

In 2022, the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) received 16,938 referrals of potential victims of modern slavery. Survivors may suffer from mental health conditions, physical injury and other medical conditions. They are often “dangerously isolated and marginalised. Fear, emotional withdrawal and multiple barriers can stand in the way of survivors trying new experiences, developing vital life skills, enjoying practical and creative interests, and forming positive relationships”. (Helen Bamber Foundation, 2021)

I am more confident and feel proud that I can call myself an artist!


the project

At the invitation of our corporate partner, multinational law firm Ashurst LLP, we collaborated with Hestia to develop and deliver creative arts workshops to connect survivors, supporting them to build new skills and relationships, using creativity as a tool for self-expression.

Under the guidance of our professional artist Rachel McGivern, the participants worked together to create original paintings and drawings. During six workshops, they created collages and paintings exploring the theme “My Next Chapter”. They started by mind mapping and creating collages to explore what this theme meant to them, and experimented with colour and shape to depict their emotions. They used acrylics to paint birds and self-portraits. The diverse artwork took inspiration from a wide range of sources including nature, public transport, homelessness, faith, family, and beloved pets. The project was supported by two volunteers from Ashurst, which funded and hosted the project at its office, and provided lunch and refreshments. The volunteers took part in workshop activities and provided support and encouragement to the participants.

My mood feels better. It feels like I have finally discovered a new thing to feel relaxed.


At the end of the project, each participant selected one favourite piece of artwork to include in a very special exhibition. The exhibition, entitled Art Is Freedom, took place from 14 to 20 October 2023 to coincide with Anti-Slavery Day on 18 October. Participant artwork was displayed on the Piccadilly Lights screens, in Trafalgar Square and in major train stations across London including London Bridge, Paddington, South Kensington and Waterloo. Hestia’s high-profile exhibition raised awareness around modern slavery while uplifting and connecting survivors and raising their aspirations.

Art Is Freedom was developed in partnership with Hestia and Ashurst LLP, and funded by Ashurst.  


creative voices Uxbridge animation


Thursday 23 November 2023 is Carers Rights Day, an annual observance dedicated to raising awareness about the rights and challenges of unpaid carers in the UK. This year, we are sharing experiences from our recent creative:voices project with young adult carers in Uxbridge.

Did you know that there are at least 376,000 young adult carers in the UK? Young adult carers are young people aged 16–25 who care, unpaid, for a family member or friend with an illness, disability, mental health condition or addiction.

We designed creative:voices to alleviate feelings of isolation and enhance wellbeing, enriching carers’ sense of belonging in their community and increasing their confidence in themselves and their abilities.

We chatted to young adult carer Lucas (18) about his experience on creative:voices in Uxbridge, West London. Lucas explained how he got creative with other carers on our six-week animation project delivered by our professional filmmaker Linda Mason.


“I care for my mum, and I’ve been a carer for about four or five years now. My mum has something called Lyme disease where she can struggle to walk. It’s quite complicated. I started taking on caring responsibilities because my dad is at work, and my brothers have moved out.

“Sometimes it’s stressful when you want to do stuff and can’t because of your caring responsibilities. I think it’s worth it, though, for the benefit of my mum.”

i felt proud when i completed my animation.



“I took part in Create’s six-week stop motion animation project. I had different ideas and created a few different animations, adding sound and using different objects to create the stop motions.

“Creativity is boosted when you’re getting ideas from other people, and when there are other people taking part together. You get in this bubble with lots of creativity, which you can then use for other projects. It’s a good way to express how you’re feeling and distract yourself from life. I’ve realised I am more creative than I thought I was. Once I start thinking, the ideas start to flow. It’s made me more confident because I’ve found other things I can excel and do well in.

“I felt proud when I completed my animation. I showed my parents what I had created because I felt pride.

Create projects enable you to express emotions you may have bottled up.


working with others

“It’s fun working with others because it helps with your creativity when everyone collectively comes together. Everyone got along well. I liked working with [Create’s filmmaker] Linda. She was really good for ideas and helping out. She got my brain working.

“Projects like this help carers because they help you get away from stuff and they enable you to express any emotions that you may have been bottling up. You express emotions that you can’t express through anything else.”

This project is funded by The Smiles Fund, awarding funds from Comic Relief and Walkers.



creative:connection is our award-winning project that tackles disability prejudice by bringing disabled and non-disabled young people together through creativity. After four days of writing and composing original songs and music under the guidance of four professional Create musicians, 57 students from four Manchester and Salford schools performed at Manchester Central Library to an in-venue audience of 110 families, friends, students from two visiting schools and Create and school staff and a remote Zoom audience at Manchester Literature Festival 2023. Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of the City of Manchester, also popped in.

Students from four schools worked collaboratively with Create’s musicians to compose pieces inspired by the festival’s theme ‘Speak Up!’, celebrating the power we all have when we find our voice and speak up about the things that matter. Each group created their own music as well as working towards a group song, incorporating all four schools. Create musicians used the participants’ ideas to formulate a chorus that was learned by all students and accompanied by sign-along actions. Led by Create musicians Matt Dunn, Holly Marland, Mike Poyser and Bethan Roberts, creative:connection is now in its eighth year.

MEET NATHAN: “I don’t call them disabilities, I call them superpowers!”

Nathan, a student from New Park Academy, said “This is my second year taking part in the project. Normally I focus on my [physical] health, but [projects] like this are good for my mental health. It’s important to have the chance to do things like this because if you’re going through a tough time, then you have people there to cheer you up.

“During the project I learnt that music can be about anything. I also learnt not to judge a book by its cover. People can be different but they’re still nice. My opinion of people with disabilities has changed because of this project. I’d never think a bad thing about a disabled person but I did think they might be difficult to work with. Working with students from Chatsworth has been great.

“I don’t like calling them disabilities, I call them superpowers. I have ADHD and autism and I don’t let that stop me.”

MEET LUCIAN: “I made new friends who supported my ideas”

Reflecting after a week of rehearsals, a student from special school Chatsworth High School said “Doing something creative felt amazing. I enjoyed it last year as well.

“We’ve been using music to “Speak Up”, which is when you speak up about how you feel, whether you’re angry, lonely, sad, happy or hungry. I played keyboard and drums. It’s really good working with everyone because we got to write lyrics with different groups. I wrote this lyric: “don’t touch the fireworks or you will burn”, that’s good isn’t it? I made new friends with the New Park students and they supported my lyric ideas. I’d feel amazing if loads of people came to watch us perform because everyone is supporting us. People are going to be clapping for us. I can’t wait.”

Create’s Founding CEO Nicky Goulder said: “This project is a celebration of the amazing ability of the creative arts to build connections and challenge preconceptions.

“People need to create. Creativity impacts our wellbeing, emotional and mental health. It builds skills, brings joy and reduces isolation. It enables us to learn about ourselves and others in new ways.

“Arts activities have been shown to improve disabled children’s social skills, sensory perception, emotional regulation and more. But disabled people’s access to such activities is often limited due to lack of opportunity, inaccessible provision, or cost.

“That’s why we are committed to providing free, high-quality creative arts experiences for those who need them most. creative:connection brings disabled and non-disabled children together to build skills, relationships and understanding through the experience of collaborative creativity.”

The creative:connection Manchester and Salford Showcase was featured on BBC Radio Manchester. You can listen to first-hand accounts from our project participants below.

The afternoon was a collective celebration of the transformative power of the arts, with some remarkable talent on display.

Thank you to our partners at Manchester Central Library, Manchester Literature Festival, and to The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, The Tana Trust and an anonymous donor for supporting creative:connection Manchester and Salford.



nurturing talent applications 2024/25

Nurturing Talent is Create’s programme for emerging artists. It offers an opportunity to six artists (all studies must have been completed) who are interested in gaining hands-on workshop experiences to apply their professional practice in a community setting.

Nurturing Talent 2022/23 graduate Autumn shares their experience on the programme.

Thank you very much for your interest in becoming part of Create’s Nurturing Talent programme. We are no longer accepting eligibility enquiries. If you have submitted an eligibility form, you will be contacted by Thursday 2 November if you are invited to apply.

Nurturing Talent is an annual training programme. Recruitment for the 25/26 cohort will begin in autumn 2024. If you are interested in applying for our next cohort, please sign up to our newsletter.

how to apply

NB: Please only apply if you have been invited to.

Download the relevant brochure to learn more about the programme and the application process:

~ Nurturing Talent Brochure London
~ Nurturing Talent Brochure Greater Manchester

If you are deemed eligible to apply for Nurturing Talent, you will be sent an application form by email. Please note applications must be submitted in either Word or PDF formats only.

We would also like you to submit an informal two-minute talking head video (keeping the file size as small as possible and under 2GB) answering the following questions:

1. Why do you want to work for Create?
2. Why do you want to be part of the Nurturing Talent programme?
3. What inspires you about your artform?
4. Tell us about your community practice experience with vulnerable groups.

Please note that we are not looking at your film skills, the quality of the video will not be scored (even if your art form is film).

submission of applicants

Completed application forms can be emailed to (please type Nurturing Talent 2024/25 in the subject field).

Please upload your video to WeTransfer; you will then have the choice of either putting as recipient or copying a download link, which you can send by email along with your application form.

Your application form and talking head video must be submitted by 10am on 17/11/23.

Applications submitted after this application period will not be considered.

NB Receipt of applications per art form will close once 20 have been received. We will update this page when we have reached 20 applications. If you have any access needs which effect the length of time it will take to complete the application please us know so that reasonable adjustments can be made.

Interviews will be held on 08/12/23 and 15/12/23.

Please note that in order to take part in the Nurturing Talent programme you must be able to attend in person training days in London on all the below dates. These are an essential part of the programme and are non-negotiable. Please inform us ASAP if you know you are unable to attend on any of these dates: 

Final rehearsal of 2023/24 cohort: Monday 18 March 2024
Induction: Friday 22 March 2024
Artist Sharing 1: Monday 13 May 2024
Workshop Development Module: Monday 23 September 2024
Artist Sharing 2: Monday 18 November 2024
Workshop Rehearsal Module: Monday 3 March 2025
Workshop Delivery Module: Monday 17 March 2025
Exit interview: Monday 24 March 2025

Thank you for taking the time to complete this application.



George Rosa Murphy is a London-based printmaker currently taking part in Nurturing Talent, Create’s development programme for emerging artists. George began printmaking as a pastime and an outlet during a difficult period but over time, it has inspired their career.

Now, George (they/them) continues to develop their creative practice and is training to deliver creative arts projects in community settings on our Nurturing Talent programme. They are also one of two Nurturing Talent artists sponsored by Anthropologie, and as part of this sponsorship, they will assist Anthropologie’s design team in the design and setup of their Christmas window displays.

Here, George shares their thoughts on community, advocacy, and their experience on Create’s Nurturing Talent programme.

“I first became a printmaker during a particularly bad period in my ongoing journey with chronic illness. Due to my heath I had to drop out of studying anthropology at University and was spending a lot of time at home.

“While I have not had any formal arts education and consider myself to be a self-taught artist, I owe a lot of my knowledge to a family friend who taught me a lot about printing when I was first starting out. We were both struggling with different health challenges and printing with him is one of my favourite memories from a very difficult time in my life. 


“While I enjoy experimenting with lots of different visual arts mediums, printing is the medium I feel most at home with. I enjoy the very embodied process of printing and find it quite freeing as a medium – you never know quite what will come out and every print has its own quirks and imperfections. 

Once I have carved my printing block and rolled ink onto it, I then use a large metal or wooden spoon to hand burnish the print onto paper or fabric. The main reason I started using this method is because I did not have access to any professional printmaking presses or equipment and found that using a spoon produced the best result when printing in a more DIY way at home.

[Image caption: The first print George remembers making, aged 8 or 9. George says “It features a house and three blobs… one of which I think may be a bird?”]

Art can be a very powerful tool in fighting against systemic inequalities, challenging oppressive narratives, and amplifying the voices of marginalised communities.


“I am drawn to lino due to its ability to produce and reproduce bold and striking imagery, often leading to its use within social movements and as a way for marginalised groups to make themselves seen and heard.

“I believe art can be a very powerful tool in fighting against systemic inequalities, challenging oppressive narratives, and amplifying the voices of marginalised communities. By using my work to explore different social issues, I hope to inspire critical conversations and community building and encourage people to rethink their perspectives.

“As a gender-queer, neurodivergent and disabled artist, I am also starting to tentatively explore my own lived experiences and the broader social contexts they exist within. Through this, I hope to not only work through my own experiences but also contribute to larger conversations that challenge stereotypes, celebrate diverse identities, and helps others find belonging and community. 

It is such an amazing opportunity to get to learn from other incredible artists and work with groups I’ve never had the chance to work with before.


“In constant conversation and in many ways inseparable from my individual arts practice, I am passionate about creating art collaboratively with others and have facilitated participatory projects and workshops in a range of educational and community settings. As someone who proudly makes wonky art, I always actively encourage this in workshops and try to facilitate activities which inspire experimentation and freedom from ideas about what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ art. I particularly love running collaborative workshops where many people contribute to making something together. 

“I am currently participating in Create’s Nurturing Talent programme, a year-long traineeship for emerging artists, which supports them to run art workshops with marginalised and under-served groups. So far, I have assisted with projects in an adolescent psychiatric unit, with young carers, and with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.

“It is such an amazing opportunity to get to learn from other incredible artists and work with groups I’ve never had the chance to work with before. I am really looking forward to working on more projects over the next six months and using everything I have learnt to develop my own cross-arts workshops. 

[Image caption: The piece of work George is most proud of. Two large scale collaborative prints, which were made in early 2023 as part of an arts festival in Blackburn. The prints were lovingly decorated, carved and hand-printed by 400+ people over one weekend.]

You can learn more about our ongoing partnership with international lifestyle brand Anthropologie here

nurturing talent


Our Nurturing Talent programme gives six emerging artists each year the opportunity to work as supporting artists on a range of our projects, attend professional development training days and work in pairs to design and deliver their own workshop in a community setting. Each artist receives a bursary; and collectively they support hundreds of workshops across the year.

learn more

Meet young carer Layla: “THERE ARE NO RULES TO CREATIVITY!”

art:space Tunbridge Wells

Meet young carer Layla: “THERE ARE NO RULES TO CREATIVITY!”

Young carers from Tunbridge Wells participated in our art:space 3D sculpture project with Create artist Sam Haynes. Developed in 2007 in partnership with British Landart:space was our first project with young carers and has been running for 16 years. The project continues to give young carers vital time to do something for themselves and a way to express themselves through the creative arts.  

Young carer Layla (11) took part in our art:space 3D sculpture project and shared her experiences with us.

Young carers creating 3D models

“On this project we have been making crowns out of wire and lots of different materials such as foam and plastic jewels. We cut the foam how we wanted to and stuck it to the crown and it was it was really fun. We’re making a sculpture of two crowns which is going to be displayed in Royal Victoria Place. “I’ve enjoyed making new friends on this project, getting messy, and overall just creating stuff because I don’t often get the opportunity to be creative at home. I’ve learnt that sculpture looks quite easy but really, it’s not. You need practice. And obviously you get really messy, so you need to be used to that as well. But when I complete my artwork, I feel like I’ve achieved something. It’s like a reward that I made for myself. It’s the finishing touch. At the end of a race, you get a medal. At the end of an art project, you get that final piece of artwork. It makes you feel really happy.

at the end of a race, you get a medal. at the end of an art project, you get that final piece of artwork. it makes you feel really happy.


art is everywhere

“The project made me feel really positive emotions. I’ve been a creative person since I was young but I don’t normally have many resources to make art at home, so it’s nice to do something different. If you’ve been painting your whole life, it’s nice to try a different artform. If you have that creative mindset, you can do anything. You don’t always have to use your paints and your hands, you can use your feet if you want to. There’s no rules to creativity.

art:space Tunbridge Wells
Young carer and Create artist Sam Haynes spray painting their models

“We would have nothing if it wasn’t for art, because art isn’t just painting. Art is making things, art can even be baking, it can be cooking. Putting up a shelf is artistic because you’re decorating your house. Sometimes you’re creating and you don’t notice it, so it’s really important because we do it much more than we expect.

There are no rules to creativity!


“One thing this project has taught me is that you don’t always have to be good at art to be creative. Not everyone is going to like your artwork anyway. You can be the best artist in the world and still, not everyone is going to like your work. Someone could look at an art project and say ‘that is the best art project I’ve ever seen’, and then someone could say ‘I really don’t like it’. But it shouldn’t stop you creating. The point of being an artist is you don’t care what other people think, you care what you think. If you don’t like it, that’s when you need to improve it. But if someone else doesn’t like it, don’t listen to them. That shouldn’t affect you because you made that piece of art and you should be happy that you made it.  

creating together

art:space Tunbridge Wells
Young carers creating their models and making new friends on art:space Tunbridge Wells

“Working with [Create artist] Sam was good. I find her funny. Working with the rest of the group was very entertaining because I made new friends. It was really cool because the group is really funny and kind and we joked around all the time. The project has taught me independence because I’ve learned that I don’t always need to be with my friends. Being creative with other people on the project helped me make new friends and build connections. If you make good friends through something creative, you’ll want to be creative together again. It’s not like you meet them and then you never see them again. You can actually meet someone and say, ‘Hey, I think we’re going to be pretty good friends. We should stay in touch.”

art:space is a partnership with British Land.

British Land logo


artspace Southwark music project


“We focus on how we can maximise our social impact and use that to create thriving places. By working with Create, we’ve been able to leverage our strengths and our resources to achieve this.”

find out more


Young carers change matters


We’re delighted to have been shortlisted for the prestigious Children & Young People Now “Young Carers” Award.

The Young Carers Award is for the initiative that has done the most to support children, young people or young adults up to 25 who care for a family member or friend with an illness, disability, mental health problem or addiction. This includes support to meet carers’ educational, health, social and emotional needs; helping carers who have previously been unidentified by services; and working with families to reduce inappropriate levels of caring.

Create has worked with young carers since 2007, using the creative arts to enable these amazing children and young people to build skills and relationships, enhance confidence and wellbeing, and reduce isolation. Over the last few years, the need for respite for young carers has become much greater. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 58% of young carers increased their caring time by at least 10 hours a week. Following the pandemic, the cost of living crisis has disproportionately affected young carers, with 56% saying their families are ‘always’ or ‘usually’ affected by the crisis.

Young carers change matters
Young carers create change:matters artwork

We’re delighted that our work with young carers has been shortlisted for this award, including our vital change:matters programme. change:matters educates and upskills young carers across the UK about money and family finances, demystifying these topics by demonstrating key financial concepts through different creative artforms. The programme provides young and young adult carers with the space to understand and better navigate their finances and has been particularly crucial over the last year, given the current financial climate. A young carer who took part in our change:matters programme said: “The workshops have helped me learn the value of money. When you’re growing up, you don’t realise how much or how little money you have, or how it works in the real world.”

Ensuring our participants have a voice is at the heart of Create’s work. In March 2023, we partnered with Carers Trust for the third year to ensure that young carers’ voices were at the heart of Young Carers Action Day. We ran creative arts projects with young carers across the four nations and celebrated with an online showcase that highlighted their artwork on the theme of “Making Time for Young Carers”.

inspired:arts Scotland visual art banners
Young carers with their campaign banners created on YCAD 2023 visual arts project in Scotland

Following our visual art project with young carers from Lambeth being featured on Channel 4’s hit show, Grayson’s Art Club, their artwork was selected to feature in the exhibition at Midlands Art Centre, propelling the voices and talents of young carers to the nation! Seeing their monumental artwork displayed in the exhibition alongside work by so many other artists including Grayson and Philippa Perry themselves made the young carers feel rightly proud.

Artwork by young carers from Lambeth on display at Grayson's Art Club: The Exhibition at MAC Birmingham, November 2022
Artwork by young carers from Lambeth on display at Grayson’s Art Club: The Exhibition at MAC Birmingham

These are just a few highlights from our work with young carers in the last year. Being shortlisted for this award to coincide with our important 20-year milestone is wonderful recognition of the commitment, passion, determination and drive of everyone who is involved in Create: our staff, our professional artists, our Trustees, our volunteers, our funding and community partners and – above all else – our young carers. The incredible children and adults who we work with continue to inspire and motivate me every day.

The Children & Young People Now Award Ceremony takes place on Thursday 23 November 2023 – we’ll let you know how we get on!

Nicky Goulder, Founding Chief Executive


Mike Poyser Count The Beat (2007)

meet mike poyser, create artist

Mike Poyser, professional musician and Create workshop leader, began learning to play the tuba aged 10. Since then, his passion and dedication to the music industry has led him to a tremendously successful and varied career. Working with Create for 18 years, Mike reflects on his experiences. 

The Sound of Dickens (2007)
Mike Poyser delivering The Sound of Dickens in 2007

Who is Mike Poyser?  

I’m a portfolio musician. I play the tuba and I run workshops. I’ve been working with Create for many years and it’s one of the organisations that has influenced me the most. Growing up, I wanted to be a scientist, but halfway through my science degree I realised I was much better at music. I pursued a double degree in physics and music at Imperial College and the Royal College of Music, and I’ve been on a journey to develop a musical career since. I’ve completed a masters in music and I’ve been a junior fellow at RCM. Now I do all-sorts!

Tell us about the all-sorts.

I teach the tuba. I run workshops with Create, the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal College of Music. And I work as a performer, arranger and writer. Last month, I recorded a new video game soundtrack. I was playing some experimental music at the Barbican Centre on the tuba and also on the bones of a horse. I’m about to go on tour with a rock band across Europe, and with a pop star and a DJ later this year. It’s intensely busy but I love all of the different challenges and adventures.

A lot of the music education highlights I’ve had have been working for Create.

mike poyser

Such an exciting career! What are some of your biggest highlights?

Being on stage for the Aretha Franklin prom last year was just something else. It was a real pinch-me moment! A lot of the music education highlights I’ve had have been working for Create. Seeing young people get stuck in and go “I want to do that on the back of what we’ve done” is quite special. I was pulled into my first Create workshop last-minute, halfway through a music and maths project called Count The Beat. It was a huge grounding for me, in terms of learning my trade and how to work with different people across the spectrum of society. Because of that, I’ve developed my own craft from there into a huge chunk of my career.

Mike Poyser Count The Beat (2007)
Create artist Mike Poyser on math themed music project Count The Beat in 2007

What is working with Create like?

From a logistics point of view, Create is unique and brilliant. Working with them feels so organised and supportive. Every project is evaluated thoroughly. All of these smaller but important things have ultimately helped me grow and develop as a musician and as a practitioner. I’ve never received any training or development work from any of the other organisations I work with, whereas Create offers this as part of the package. It’s phenomenal!

For example, I took part in Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership training with Create in October 2021. It was an amazing course. To have these issues presented in such a clear way by this programme, with my time funded by Create, I felt very lucky to be involved. The training gave me the space to start thinking about how we can gain some ownership of these problems. I loved the idea that the young people could write songs about their environmental worries, and then look at the little things they can do to help.

That sounds great. We hear you’ve incorporated your love of maths into your work with Create too?

I’ve loved presenting my passion for numbers and how it can help young people with finance. As the cost of living crisis deepens, Create’s change:matters project has become more relevant than ever. [The crisis] is in the news and if you don’t know much about finance, and you don’t understand the terminology, it can be really stressful.

In the last year of change:matters workshops, it feels like the young carers have been more focused on the financial element than the creative part. Everyone is so desperate to learn how to navigate through the crisis as best they can. The project has been amazing and seeing it develop alongside this financial disaster that’s going on has been really interesting. But it’s also a sad reflection of where we are.

To see [Create] develop and change, remould and rebrand over the years, has been one of the joys of my career.

mike poyser

Why do you think that the creative arts are so important for the participants that Create works with?

Ultimately, creativity is an outlet. Whether you’re writing a song about spreadsheets, or about some of the most intimate emotions you’re experiencing in life, it’s a wonderful thing. It’s an important tool, which enables you to reflect on how you’re feeling.

I think it’s remarkable what Create has achieved in 20 years of existence. The way it’s navigated a really complicated political, social and economic landscape in this country is very impressive. To see it develop and change, remould and rebrand over the years, has been one of the joys of my career.



“I’m Anna Devlet, Head of Social Sustainability at British Land, and I’ve been in this role for 14 years. British Land is a listed real estate company and we own, manage and develop properties across the UK. Our company purpose is to create places that people prefer, and we do that on a long-term sustainable basis.

What is British Land’s strategic vision behind the partnership with Create?

At British Land, we focus on how we can maximise our social impact and use that to create thriving places. By working with Create, we’ve been able to leverage our strengths and our resources to achieve this. It’s the strength of the partnership that has enabled us to do that.

Why do you think the partnership between British Land and Create works so well?

We’ve been working with Create for 20 years. There isn’t anyone else we’ve worked with for that long. What underpins the success of our 20-year partnership is how consistently professional it has been all the way through, and genuine too. We didn’t enter the relationship thinking we wanted a long-term partnership, but it’s worked for us because we’ve been on a journey together. As our approach to our places has evolved, we’ve been able to work with Create in really thinking about how our programmes can maximise social impact and Create has been a fantastic organisation to help us on that journey.


How has the partnership developed?

Together we developed art:space, an incredible programme that engages with young carers in the communities in which we operate. It gives them a place to grow and feel confident and it enhances their wellbeing, using creativity as a means to engage with communities in our places.

artspace Southwark music project
Create participants and artist Holly Khan taking part in art:space Southwark music project

The art:space partnership is place-based and therefore tailored to local needs. It allows for grassroots interaction, so while it’s something that we can apply to different places in our portfolio as a business, we have the confidence that it’s responding to local needs and maximising social impact in the communities in which we operate too.

Staff from different British Land sites have taken part in Create projects over the years. What does volunteering bring to the company and staff who work at British Land?

We’ve always promoted and encouraged volunteering. Our partnership with Create has provided volunteering opportunities for our own people, and we’ve had really strong and positive feedback about how rewarding it’s been for staff and how much it’s assisted them in their roles and their personal lives too.

What has been your experience of working with Create?

I love working with Nicky (CEO), she’s brilliant to work with. The Create team know what they’re focused on. They have a very clear mission, clear aims, and they are also very mindful and open as to how they can work with businesses to support those aims. It’s always been an extremely clear and easy relationship. 

Why do you think the creative arts are so important for the groups Create works with and the British Land sites where projects are delivered? 

The arts sector, in this challenging external environment, always seems to be the first to see cuts. We’ve all seen the well-established links between productivity and engagement in the arts. As a business, we would argue that the focus on arts needs to be maintained and continued.

The art:space partnership uses the arts as a way to engage with learning and employment and gives participants the chance to think about themselves as individuals. The project enables and encourages this and that’s very important for us, because we can see the link to productivity, wellbeing and improvements in education and employment outcomes. The arts are the engagement mechanism to achieving improved social outcomes later in life.

young carer Harrison taking part in an art space project 2021

Why do you think the creative arts are important to society?

Why aren’t the creative arts important? The creative arts in all forms are what bring joy to life. On a personal note, creativity provides an outlet for me, in my everyday life, in my professional life, in my friendships, in all aspects, it’s that outlet.


Birthday celebration

create celebrates 20th year with special birthday event

On the morning of Friday 7 July 2023, Create staff, artists, freelance project managers, Trustees and council members gathered to celebrate the charity’s 20th birthday.

Birthday celebration
The group singing a song for Create’s 20th birthday celebration

The morning began with a Bucks Fizz brunch before Create Chairman Eddie Donaldson OBE delivered a speech. He said: “I like to think of Create as a jigsaw puzzle. We’re all shaped differently, we have different colours, we have different gifts and different involvement. But actually, in a jigsaw puzzle, every little piece is different. As the pieces fit together, we begin to create a picture and together we make a difference.”

The group was then transported back to 7 July 2003, when Create began. Founding CEO Nicky Goulder’s presentation highlighted seminal moments from Create’s early years through to the present, from its inception at her dining room table in Blackheath to the multi award-winning national charity that it has become today. She concluded with a moving poem written by an adult carer in Merton; and a retrospective film created to celebrate the anniversary year:

During her speech, Nicky asked guests to reflect on why people need to Create, prompting a string of responses ranging from poignant, to powerful, to practical. People need to create because:

  • “It brings me happiness and connects me to people, nature, and wider ideas” Kristina Niles (Evaluations Consultant)
  • “How else do we discover who we are?” Rishi Dastidar (Create Comms Council Member)
  • “It’s my activism. I want to amplify the voices that are so often ignored.” Alicia Clarke (Create Artist)
  • “Sometimes it can’t be said in words.” (Anon)

During the final portion of the event, guests took part in a birthday themed workshop delivered by Create artist of 18 years, musician Mike Poyser. Divided into smaller groups, guests were tasked with creating a verse and body percussion rhythms to add to a special birthday song for Create. Following the workshop, Mike combined each verse and created a group birthday song, which you can listen to here.

After singing and birthday cupcakes flaunting Create’s new 20th anniversary logo, the Create staff team continued celebrations into the afternoon, marking the occasion with their annual birthday picnic in Battersea Park.

Create’s 20th birthday celebrations will continue throughout the year, with a fundraising Gala in October and more exciting announcements to follow. For now, we are excited to share our 2022/23 Impact Report, which features a 20-year timeline and interviews with some of Create’s long-standing partners, including 20-year corporate partner British Land and musician Mike Poyser. You can also read Founding CEO Nicky Goulder’s reflections on 20 Years of Sparking Creativity here.

Sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with Create’s projects, events, news and impact.

photo gallery