Creative Lives On Air (formerly known as 'Up for Arts') is a dynamic partnership between Creative Lives and BBC Local Radio stations. It shines a spotlight on everyday creativity through local radio, boosting wellbeing and reducing isolation. The initiative began with BBC Radio Merseyside as a legacy project following the 2008 EU City of Culture in Liverpool.

Since 2008, Creative Lives On Air has expanded its reach to communities and regions across England and Wales, currently collaborating with eight BBC Local Radio Stations (find out more here). It also develops bespoke learning and training opportunities in radio and podcast making.

Here are our top highlights from the past few weeks

  • BBC Radio CWR

Radio Club at BBC Contains Strong Language Festival

Back in June, 36 (primary) year 5 children from three Birmingham schools took part in a poetry workshop on held by Coventry's Poet Laureate Emilie Lauren Jones, The children read and explored poems with themes on growth, and then worked in groups and individually to write their own poems about growth, with another theme worked in. Their poems covered topics including friendship, the environment, Covid-19 and racism.

Listen to four of the Radio Club poems.

The pupils performed their poems at a live event on Sunday 11 September as part of the Contains Strong Language Festival, inside PoliNations' Wondersphere.

  • BBC BBC Radio Suffolk

Ad-hoc creative writing

Earlier this summer, Creative Lives On Air Producer Rosa Torr set her ‘Creation Station’ asking for creative writing responses to the First Light festival for BBC Radio Suffolk. Are you curious to hear what people said?

Listen via BBC Sounds (starting 41min into the show)

Rosa is also working on a new radio series entitled 'Making Conversation' and she needs YOUR voice. Learn more about the project and how you can get involved here

  • BBC Radio WM

4600 Gifts for Commonwealth Games athletes

As part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, local charity Craftspace was commissioned to make gifts for the international athletes. The result is a truly magnificent project involving craft enthusiasts in Birmingham who showed admiration for the Commonwealth Games athletes by creating thousands of unique gifts.

Hear more about it in a series of radio features produced by our new Creative Lives On Air colleague at BBC WM, available to listen to via BBC Sounds. Listen here.

Jennifer Vernon-Edwards

  • BBC Radio Sheffield

Singers and writers enjoying high-brow success

What comes to your mind when you think of the Sheffield Manor? Let Jennifer tell you what she has recently found there - an inspiring group of creative writers called 'Wild Women' who joined the Forget-Me-Nots singing group run by Sheffield's Manor and Castle Development Trusts. Her interview was aired during Paulette Edwards' show on BBC Radio Sheffield.

Listen via BBC Sounds [from 2h15m]

Our favourite quote from one of the 'Wild Women' member:

    I thought I couldn't do it [creative writing] but I surprised myself.

    How crafts can help deal with mental health issues

    Earlier this year, Jennifer visited Andrea - an amazing craft enthusiast to learn about her story and share it with radio listeners. Andrea truly believes that anyone can do anything creative. She shared her craft story in two episodes of the Creative Lives On Air at BBC Radio Sheffield.  

    You can listen to the first part of the interview right here (via BBC Sounds), right now! (story begins at 2h21min into the show)

    Here are some of our favourite snippets:

    "A lot of the sewing we did in my family was by necessity because we were quite poor. We used to make bin bag frogs and we'd use old winter coats and make teddy bears out of them."

    For me, craft is an escape route. For my mental health I need it.

    We're quite a neurodiverse family and I think, in some ways, craft speaks to us massively. 

    "My son and my partner both play music, my partner has always done woodwork, leather work, my son is a brilliant musician, he's always loved writing and drawing so I think craft for us has been really good in dealing with anxieties, for me, depression and for my daughter, to be able to just go off and paint a little bit in her room, it gives that outlet and a bit of a headspace." 

    "I had the idea that we should have a play group for adults to come together and make something even if they make a mess. Play, I think, is essential to everybody."

    Learn more about Creative Lives On Air at BBC Radio Sheffield here.

    • BBC Radio Tees
    Short Stories on air - Crossing the Tees Festival

    Rachel Teate has produced a series of five short stories recorded by local students and people in the local community of Tees which will be broadcasted on BBC Radio Tees' Upload show over the next few Friday evenings. The stories are featured as part of the Crossing the Tees festival.

    Listen here!

    • BBC Radio Leeds 

    Robyn Nichol

    The Richard Stead Breakfast Show featured the story of Robyn Nichol who embroiders images from her northern childhood roots and uses it as a tool to help with mental health. 

    Her work is part if a new initiative to celebrate Keighley's shopping heritage, called the K-Town Shopper. It includes an arts trail and 'alternative' department stores. Robyn draws inspiration from different brands, her favourite childhood memories and from pic’n’mix sweets, to mushy peas and Yorkshire puddings. See some of her Robyn's embroidery pieces via Instagram @robynnichol.

    Our favourite quote from a participant featured in the audio piece is: 

    I started experimenting with embroidery because for me this process is very beneficial for my mental health.

    Listen to Robyn's conversation with Richard Stead via BBC Sounds (from 1h:36m).

    In a more recent show, Rima Ahmed chatted with two of the Getaway Girls on air to find out more about how they created their own podcasts. Take a listen via BBC Sounds. 

    This follows our collaboration with the Getaway Girls to create a series of podcasts to empower girls and women in Leeds and to inspire them to explore their own creativity. In the first podcast, two members of the Getaway Girls talk about creativity and what they are proud of as women living in Leeds. Sumaiiya interviews poetry writer Lara.

    Listen to their conversation below. Intro by Kaiha.

    Learn more about the Creative Lives On Air projects on BBC Radio Leeds.

      Stay up to date with the most inspiring radio shows that spotlight everyday creativity by following #CreativeLivesOnAir on social media.