My name is Phoenix Archer and I’m the Scotland Community Engagement Officer at Creative Lives. My role is to help deepen the organisation’s understanding of the needs of creative groups led by and for people of colour in Scotland. We’re aiming to build a richer picture of creativity in Scotland that informs the future direction of Creative Lives, to better support and champion the diverse needs of creative groups.

From my own experience of working as a heritage professional and facilitating cultural and arts events, I gained an understanding of the voluntary and community arts and the role of participation. This wasn’t without its challenges, from dealing with loneliness and isolation to imposed stereotypes. Add to this, experiences of tokenisation and being systematically pushed out of heritage sites due to experiences of racism, colourism, featurism and misogynoir.

Over the years, I knew I wasn’t the only black person or person of colour to go through this. My diverse heritage was just as important as anyone else’s and deserved to be healthily represented and enjoyed by everyone of all backgrounds. However, this passion needed a wellbeing aspect that would support and connect people of colour engaging with their own heritage and the heritage of others. Working at Creative Lives, I have researched different ways to interact, listen and find solutions with other black and people of colour, as well as build relationships with creative organisations that actively work hard to support and uplift people of colour. And so, the idea of holding monthly support sessions was born.

Following on from the success of our other Creative Network sessions, on a range of themes, I was inspired to find a way to support black and people of colour creatives in Scotland. And so we are starting a Creative Network specifically for BIPOC Creatives, who are engaged in community-led activities. 

We will meet regularly online on the last Friday of every month from 6-7pm, and each session will have a theme to help the discussion. At each meeting I will be joined by a BIPOC facilitator from Coaching for Creatives, with whom we are shaping the sessions. Anyone who isn’t a BIPOC creative but is in a position to support BIPOC creatives is also welcome, but please get in touch with us first before signing up, as we want this to be a safe and supportive space for BIPOC Creatives. 

You can sign up for the session (for free) here. I hope to see you there and look forward to welcoming you to our new Creative Network.