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A woman standing on a beach, leaning into the wind. A pink shawl in trailing behind her.

Rewilding the Artist

‘Research your experience,

absorb what is useful,

reflect on what is useless,

add what is essentially your own.’

Bruce Lee 

Image of a Rewilding the Artist map drawn in an artists journal. The journal is surrounde by stones.

Rewilding the Artist is an Arts Council Wales (ACW) funded R&D project testing and developing ways to support well-being through the creation of individualised sustainable practice.

Rewilding the Artist was an opportunity for Gaia to carve out time for extended research exploring modes of production and to test-bed sustainable practice methodologies.

 

Re-imagining what a successful neurodivergent (ND) practice could be, Gaia investigated how integrated sensory practices can be used to nurture the wellbeing of the ND artist, leading to sustained and sustainable artistic work. 

Re-imagining

Through Rewilding the Artist, Gaia developed key methodologies that:

  • Help build a sustainable artistic practice. 

  • Create a balance between artistic practice and self-care.

  • Develop solid, nurturing ways of working and help overcome barriers to access and wellbeing.

‘The aim of the research & 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

Head and shoulders image of a woman on a beach. Her face is covered with a pink shawl.

The Importance of Self Care // Plotting a New Route

Rewilding usually relates to restoring land to its natural state to protect the environment. 

Rewilding the Artist was about restoring Gaia to her natural state as a neurodivergent artist to nurture and create equilibrium in her life, her artistic practice and to ultimately protect her well-being. 

It was important to develop the rewilding process in a supportive environment that enabled Gaia to feel safe on her creative journey of self-care. 

It was also important for Gaia to redevelop her own practice within the aims of the project, before then supporting others.

‘Like putting on your own oxygen mask first.’                           Morag Ballantyne
(Rewilding the Artist evaluator)

A woman standing in the sea fully dressed with arms and scarf stretched out like wings.

Authenticity

Gaia is creating change, by modelling within her own practice, the change neurodivergent artists need within the wider arts sector. 

Rewilding the Artist has helped Gaia to understand and appreciate her process as an artist. It has enabled her to connect her work more deeply to the land and environment and be authentically herself as a neurodivergent artist. It has supported her to find the courage to use the skills that often she had hidden away in her practice to ‘appear’ neurotypical.

‘I am finding my own way in my arts practice. Rewilding is the experience of finding my space in the world and total integration of myself with my practice.’  Gaia

Three recycled fabric woven panels (yellow, white & pink), photographed in front of a slate wall.

Visioning Equity

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.

 

The facilitation of others through the rewilding process.

 

A cultural shift in the sector instilling a Culture of Care & Kindness leading to equity & valuing all people.

 

#RewildingtheArtist #NDLedArts #NDLeadingChange #ActuallyAutistic #WeShallNotBeRemoved

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

Woman on a beach facing the sea, holding a pink shawl trailing in the wind.

Ultimate Vision

Artists thriving using the rewilding process.

A shift in cultural outlook that fully embraces and integrates nontraditional ways of working and creating.

Employing a culture of Care & Kindness to All, that manifests true equity within the sector.

Removal of barriers for all artists through different artist approach, true access support and genuine attitudinal change.

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