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Our Roots

Blue coiled fishing line is in front of driftwood sticks. One of the sticks has been carved into a crochet hook.

'Rewilding the Artist has changed me as an artist and as a person. I am Gaia.'

Gaia Redgrave

Stones hold open the pages of a sketch book. The book shows a hand drawn map for Rewilding the Artist

'Research your experience,

absorb what is useful,

reflect on what is useless,

add what is essentially your own.'

Bruce Lee

Removing of Barriers

Rewilding the Artist breaks down barriers, enabling access to aspects of the arts that have previously been either very challenging, completely closed or overwhelming for neurodivergent people.

'The aim of the research and development project was to reimagine and manifest my practice in a way that nurtures me as a neurodivergent person by integrating all aspects of my life, including my autistic sensory diet, and removing barriers to funding opportunities and spaces within the arts.'

Gaia Redgrave

The Importance of Self Care

Rewilding usually relates to restoration of ecosystems in relation to the land on which we reside.

Rewilding the Artist considers the artist as a human being, their practice, their environment and their lived experience as an ecosystem to be cared for. Gaia saw this as returning to herself. Through creative changes she made within her artistic practice she nurtured body, mind, and soul, putting wellbeing at the heart of everything that she did.

‘It was important for Gaia to develop the Rewilding process in a supportive environment that enabled her to feel safe on her creative journey of selfcare and redevelop her own practice within the aims of the project before supporting others, a bit like putting on your own oxygen mask first.’

Morag Ballantyne (Rewilding the Artist Evaluator)

Authenticity

Through her practice, Gaia developed, tested and modelled the change she needed to return to herself. It has enabled Gaia to understand her artistic process more deeply and be authentically herself as a neurodivergent disabled artist.

The Rewilding the Artist process has enabled Gaia to embrace existing skills and experiences within her practice that previously she would have kept separate to appear neurotypical. This has significantly benefited her physical and mental wellbeing.

‘Rewilding the Artist has enabled me to find my own way and route through difficulties, both professionally and personally. I became free to be unapologetically myself and embrace my autistic joy in my work. I have found my space in the world.’

 

Gaia Redgrave

'At the centre of your being you have the answer,

you know who you are and you know what you want.'

Lao Tzu

A person is standing in the sea. They are in silhouette. A small wave is coming in behind the person. The person has their arms held out like the wings of a bird.

Reflection

Reflection became an important aspect of the Rewilding process as a tool to discover new ways forward, observe recurring themes and offer time to become centred. It allowed space to rest, recuperate and step forward with renewed energy.

Reflection and evaluation became as important as doing.

Woolen yarn has been crotched around pebbles. The pebble on the left has blue and white yarn. The pebble on the right has azure blue yarn.

Recommendations

To extrapolate the Rewilding the Artist framework and test it with others to help people find their own path.

To facilitate a wider strategic conversation about a Culture of Care & kindness in the creative sector.

To consider how to instil change at all levels: artists, universities (students & lecturers), producers, funders, curators, and directors.

To develop the kindness pledge into a collaborative contract.

Ultimate Vision

All kinds of artists thriving through using the Rewilding process.

Implementing effective access support and removal of barriers from every opportunity, funding application and arts space, from beginning to end, while recognising the importance of intersectionality.

A cultural shift in the sector to instil a Culture of Care & kindness leading to true equity & valuing all people through genuine attitudinal change.

A change in cultural outlook that fully embraces and integrates non-traditional ways of working and creating.

Image Credits: Gaia Redgrave

A red woven banner is hung horizontally in front of old ruined castle walls. The banner has different coloured lines on it. The walls have windows and gaps in them and the outside can be seen.

'The Rewilding journey has enabled Gaia to explore and navigate her identity as a neurodivergent artist, to seek peace and connection, and to disrupt traditional or prescribed ways of looking and understanding.’

 

Morag Ballantyne

Acknowledgements & Gratitude to...

Alan Whitfield & Ruth Fabby (DAC), Dr Alison Green (Central Saint Martins – UAL), Bethan Burnside (NeuroArt Exhibition), Cathy Waller (DAO), David Nash, Iwan Williams (Ffiwsar), Jon Adams, Julie Upmeyer & family (Plas Bodfa), Kate Spence, _Kruse (Mentor), Lindsey Colbourne, Lisa Hudson & Sarah Pagoda (Gŵyl Metaboliaeth), Morag Ballantyne (Project Evaluator), Nick Cherryman, Rose Green (Saorimor), Rowan Flynn, Ruth Claxton (Eastside Projects), Samina Ali, Seran Dolma (Oriel Brondanw), Sian Griffiths & Louise Wright (ACW), Steffan Jones-Hughes (Director - Oriel Davies), Tzipporah Johnston (Neuk Collective), Utopias Bach Collective, Vijay Patel,  Zen Redgrave.

Kindly funded by Arts Council Wales Lottery Fund

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