What it is and Why

16 weeks of experience-based learning, exploring how we can integrate the creative principle into all elements of our living.

Live group workshops, practice experiments, peer support, visiting artists and optional weekly Maker's Exchanges. We are living in uncertain times... how can we learn to play and experiment in the territory of unpredictability and flux? There are ways of working with uncertainty that Creativity understands deeply. This course aims to lead you back to the part of yourself that knows all about this intrinsically. There is a generative principle at work in all organic life, that follows a cycle of birth - life - death . It bears little relationship to the false dominant narrative of 'continual growth'. This course will support you to build practices that dismantle these false narratives and grow pathways towards articulating your heart and nourishing our collective dreaming. . . . .

How it works

We meet most Tuesday mornings 10.30am - 12.30pm BST. The course takes place via a combination of live zoom classes, creative provocations, visiting professional artists, video classes, peer 'creative ally' sharing, home adventures (as opposed to 'homework' ;-) and reflection weeks. There will be opportunities to follow approaches you are enjoying as well as invitations to test out your edges. This course is also about application - so ultimately, you will be supported to bring this new (old) tool kit out of the practice room and into your life. It is set up so you can move as deeply or as lightly through the material as you want. You choose the level of intensity.
Watch Intro Video

Click to watch a short video on what's behind it...

“Magic doesn't sweep you away; it gathers you up into the body of the present moment so thoroughly that all your explanations fall away: the ordinary, in all its plain and simple outrageousness, begins to shine -- to become luminously, impossibly so. Every facet of the world is awake, and you within it.” ― David Abram, Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology

Sounds good...

how do I know if this course is for me?

This course looks at what creative practice can teach us about navigating uncertainty with more courage, playfulness and application. This course is for anyone who wants to rekindle their relationship with the creative, generative principle in any aspect of their life and work. You don't have to want to be an artist or have any experience of being intentionally creative in your life. Curiosity and openness are the only prerequisites. . . . . [egg image by David Jericó]
Eggs image by David Jericó.

Being in Community

We learn best when there is also a relaxed social element. So when you join, you'll be offered a peer support group, a community environment via Mighty Networks and regular connection via Signal. The peer groups will be allocated according to the level of involvement you want ... this might be weekly, bi-weekly or 'now and again'. It can also change as we go. The weekly Makers Exchange sessions are peer run, so we can get a feel of each other's practices and active creative enquiries. [photo by Annie Spratt]
Watch Intro Video

Creativity as Intrinsic Birth-right

From the previous course

'The most interesting moment of a person's life is what happens to them when all their certainties go away. Then who do you become? And then what do you look for? That's the moment when the universe is offering up an invitation saying, 'come find me.' - Elizabeth Gilbert

Course curriculum

11 x live workshops on Tuesdays 10.30am - 12.30pm BST (UK time), sessions with visiting artists, reflection weeks, practice weeks, optional weekly Maker's Exchange drop ins, creative provocations, home enquiries, Creative Ally support teams, community - and more...

  • 1

    Welcome to the Course!

    • What it's All About Really...?

    • Welcome Video and Orientation

  • 2

    Week 1. Attention as a Creative, Generative Tool - LIVE

    • Week One: Attention As A Creative Resource

    • Noticing Where We Are Placing Our Attention - Creative Task

    • Focusing tools - Asking the body for creative idea generation - Zoom class - 1st June

    • Body Listening for Creative Practice

    • First Creative Ally meet up.

  • 3

    Week 2. Being with Vulnerability and Discomfort - LIVE

    • Week 2: Vulnerability and Discomfort

    • Neurosis Cocktail Party: All The Reasons Why You Can't, Daren't, or Probably Shouldn't - PRE WORK

    • Feeling Like An Idiot Practice / Failing at Something that Matters - Zoom class - 8th June

    • Beginning a Habit Breaking Habit Practice - daily practice

    • Date with the Artists work

  • 4

    Week 3. Letting Yourself Get Lost in A Moment - What An Artist Knows I - with Sophie Abbott - LIVE

    • Week 3 - What An Artist Knows - Live Session with Sophie - 15th June - Zoom

    • Doing things for their own sake; Giving Less Fucks Practice - Creative Task

    • Giving Less Fucks Practice - Set up

  • 5

    Week 4. Practice Week 1

    • Practice Week 1 - This is your first creative practice week.

    • Photographing what pleases, intrigues or fascinates you

    • First Creative Practice Week - Creative Adventure!!

  • 6

    Week 5. Active Day Dreaming and What-Ifness - LIVE

    • Different forms of Conscious Attention

    • Ways In And Down - Not Knowing As Creative Opportunity - Live Zoom Workshop - 29th June

    • Use going 'Inward and Down' and use it as a starting point to generate some creative material this week

  • 7

    Week 6. Opening to the Ordinary and Non Ordinary World - LIVE

    • Guides, Genies and Muses - Zoom class - 6th July

  • 8

    Week 7. Reflection Week - Being a Transmitter & Receiver (Recorded session)

    • Being a Transmitter & Receiver - Set up Video

    • About Reflection weeks - What is the invitation & what is the point of these?

    • Reflection Week 1

    • Home Enquiry - Take Your Wonder for a Wander Date

    • Taking Your Wonder for a Wander - video

  • 9

    Week 8. Navigating Obstacles and Road Blocks LIVE

    • Intro to week 8

    • Maker's Exchange Intro - what it's all about

    • Cultivating Curiosity - What is this thing that is happening now? - Home enquiry

    • Date with the Artists work - Next week we are with our visiting artist Ila Mehrotra Jenkins.

  • 10

    Week 9. Identifying Story - What An Artist Knows II - with Ila Mehrotra Jenkins - LIVE

    • Week 9 - What an Artist Knows - Live Zoom session with Ila Mehrotra Jenkins - 27th July

    • Taking a line for a walk - weekly practice

    • Home Enquiry - Vision Boarding for co-creation

  • 11

    Week 10. Practice Week 2

    • Practice Week 2

    • Practice Experiment - Considering Your Audience & the flow of story

    • Practice Experiment video intro

    • Date with the Artist prep

  • 12

    Week 11. Presence and Soul - What An Artist Knows III with Yael Karavan LIVE

    • Intro to Week 11

    • Week 11 - What An Artist Knows - Zoom Session with Yael Karavan - 10th August

  • 13

    Week 12. Problems, Irritants, Inequalities and Injustices - Creation as Transformative Medicine - LIVE

    • Intro for Week 12 - Being on a Workable Edge

    • Problems, Irritants, Inequalities and Injustices - Creation as transformative medicine - Zoom class - 17th August

    • Home enquiry

    • Practice Experiment bonus session

  • 14

    Week 13. Reflection Week 2 - being on a useful edge with Brooke McNamara (recorded session)

    • Discipline, Editing and Refinement - Honouring your Audience

    • Life Application Intro - prep for next week.

  • 15

    Week 14 - Practice Week 3

    • Discipline, Editing and Refinement - Honouring your Audience

    • Life Application Intro - prep for next week.

  • 16

    Week 15. Co-creating What Is Already Becoming & Applications - LIVE

    • Alchemy - Your Life as Raw Material - Zoom class - 31st August

  • 17

    Week 16. Endings and Celebrations - Onwards Journeys - LIVE

    • Ritual for Ending And Commitments to Continue - Zoom class - 7th September

    • Revisiting our Journey Together

Working With Artists...

To help bring some of the themes to life, we will be joined by three brilliant artists and friends: painter Sophie Abbott, documentary maker Ila Mehrotra Jenkins and performer / director Yael Karavan, each of whom approaches their art making and life in a way that speaks deeply to that adaptive creative principle. The gift of bringing in practicing artists is that they are used to working with uncertainty as a resource. Perhaps even courting it. So we have much to learn from them. Here's a bit more about them......[photo of Rachel in rehearsals for my play Moon Project - photographer: Greg Allum]
Rachel in rehearsals, photo by Greg Allum

Sophie Abbott - Week 3

Painting, Colour & Getting Lost in a Moment

Sophie Abbott is a painter who creates from her studio in central Brighton. As well as painting, Sophie brings her vision collaborations with design companies like Habitat and community projects. She is also a mother of two and somehow makes it all look effortless. Sophie brings a playful, intelligent and sensory aliveness into our experience of what creativity might be. [image of Sophie in her studio by Jo Thorne]

sophieabbott.co.uk

Q: Hi Sophie, can you tell us a bit more about what you do?


I use iPhone photography and sketches to record observations about the landscapes I'm working in and use these snippets to explore colour, mark making and composition to use when I'm back in the studio. Recently I've been painting en plein air in local woods and by the sea, exploring the colour and shapes and making small spontaneous paintings which I then translate into larger works when I'm back painting in the studio. 


The spontaneous nature of my paintings means I'm trusting the process and getting lost in expressing the feel of the place, rather than focusing on the end result. I let the brushmarks, splotches and spills occur and often they become part of the work itself, which is for me a very physical process.


image by Alun Callendar


Q: What are you really into at the moment?

 Ok here goes.....
1) Rollerskating... (for christmas i got rollerskates and have been out rollering regularly!
2) Sea swimming
3) House Plants
4) Gardening
5) Walking
6) Blue skies
7) Woods
8) Macrame
9) Odd box
10) Trainers
11) Weighlifting
12) The colour pink
 13) Home making

Ila Mehrotra Jenkins - Week 9

Film Making, Journalism and Visual Storytelling

Ila Mehrotra Jenkins is a self shooting documentary film director / assistant producer and investigative journalist with over 10 years experience. Ila brings a unique combination of entrepreneurship with instinct, massive heart and penetrative enquiry to the conversation about what creativity is. The link above is her most recent directorial project.
[image of Ila with cameras by Andrew Smith]
Ila with canon camera filming rig by Andrew Smith

Q: Hey Ila, can you tell us a bit about what you do?


A: I’ve worked across multiple platforms, including broadcast and digital channels like BBC, Channel 4, Vice and ITV. I’ve a track record of filming primarily on sensitive access docs. I’m a trained photographer with a creative eye and confident self shooter including undercover filming. I’m passionately into storytelling, have a keen eye to spot and develop one, skilled at negotiating and maintaining access, building strong relationships and working with vulnerable contributors. I have strong development research experience, my directorial debut feature in production follows a transgender woman and activist in Delhi over 5 years as she struggles and fights to bring pride and hope to her community.


Q: What are you really into at the moment?

A: Filmmaking, visual storytelling - I’m growing into marrying my passion for telling difficult stories with my love for the delicacy of the visual image to share with the widest audience.

Yael Karavan - Week 11

Performance, Presence and Embodiment

Yael Karavan is an award winning dancer, performer and director. She has an international wide ranging professional career that spans many incarnations. Born in Israel and growing up in Florence, Paris and London, at the age of 13 she began an acting career at the National Theatre, television, radio and films in Israel. In 1995 she began traveling through Europe, Brazil, Russia and Japan developing a contemporary physical language of expression bridging between east and west, dance and acting. Her work has been described as a kind of physical poetry, that delves into themes of collective Memory, Metamorphosis, the invisible and the notion of repetitive cycles, intertwining dreamlike atmospheres with a humorous edge, balancing on the fine line between the tragic and the comic, the intimate and the collective, and more recently urgent environmental themes. She has been, amongst others, member of Derevo multiple award winning Russian physical theatre company, numerous Butoh dance companies, as well as her own company Karavan Ensemble. Yael's creativity also manifests itself in how she brings communities together and how she finds the universal in the deeply personal.
yael in an abandoned house, painted flowers cover the walls, she crouches in a soil bed

Q: Hi Yael, what are you really into at the moment?


A little recent short trip made my heart sing, I visited the wonderful artist Michal Rovner in her countryside home and studio. Rovner is a blessed, talented being worth a search and a dive into her universe. It also included 30 minutes with four, two month old puppies, which felt like a blessing of tenderness and simple being. 



 Q: Where can we find out more about you? And who took these beautiful photographs? 

My website is yaelkaravan.com

The top photograph is from my performance MA-MA, the photograph is by Josefa Searle.

The black and white photograph is from a photo shoot by Aliki Lempidaki & Jim Sanders. 

Brooke McNamara - Week 13 (pre-recorded lesson)

We are really honoured to have a special pre-recorded session from Brooke McNamara, MFA, poet, dance-theater artist, teacher, and Zen dharma holder. She has published two books of poems: Bury the Seed (2020) and Feed Your Vow (2015). For her poetry, she is the recipient of the Charles B. Palmer prize from the Academy of American Poets. Brooke has taught at Naropa University in Yoga Studies and at the University of Colorado, Boulder in Dance. She is co-director with Lauren Beale of Eunice Embodiment, an organization that offers cutting edge performances, embodiment education, and CULTIVATE creative practice workshops and retreats. Brooke is creator and instructor of the online courses Summoning the Unseen, Write to the Heart of Motherhood, CULTIVATE: Creative Practice (with Lauren Beale), and Women’s Ritual of Renewal (with Lisa Gibson)

Q: Where can we find out more about Brooke?


Brooke's Website: BrookeMcNamara.com 


Photograph is by Jewel Afferbaugh 

Rachel Blackman - Facilitator

Theatre & Feeling Ridiculous | Embodiment & Somatic Re-Education

Rachel Blackman will be your guide and lead facilitator through out this course. Most of your course content will be either be hosted by or led by Rachel. Rachel is an artist, somatic educator, theatre maker, trainer and mentor. Rachel has been creating original theatre since 2008 and collaborated as an actor, director and movement coach on many artistic projects for others. Her latest piece is a celebration of the creative potential of failure, called, You Aren't Doing It Wrong If No One Knows What You Are Doing (Tiny Failures) and is a Brighton Festival Commission. She is also an actor & you may remember her best when she had a lot less hair, as Charra in Matrix Revolutions.... (Photo by Hugh Fox - promo shot from the Tiny Failures show)

Q: Hey Rachel, what are you really into at the moment?


Nurturing biological intelligence. Bringing aliveness. My family. My home. My work. Friendships. Heart. Community. I know art can be a site of secular, sacred, collective dreaming and want to bring people into that. We are each a living heart. Imagination is a powerful place! 


Weaving. Noticing. Translating. Receiving. Transmitting. Learning to de-colonise. Learning to honour ancestry and inter-species experience. 


I honour the original custodians of the land where I grew up - Mostly the Bungalung and the Eora lands in now NSW. 


Reading - Caste by Isabel Wilkerson 


Watching - Giri Haji written by Joe Barton - made me miss making theatre. 


Listening - Amber McZeal (On Being podcast) 


Eating - Frozen cherries. 

What people say...

'I can't recommend this course highly enough.'

L V

I can't recommend this course highly enough. Rather than being just another course on improving creative output, it takes a wholesome approach to transform the ability to live as a creative being in the world. It helped me not only to be more inspired and more confident with my creative work, but also with my overall connection to spirituality and wellbeing. This is partly due to the perfectly picked, placed, and developed skills, topics, and methods, and partly due to Rachel's brilliance as a teacher. She knows how to create a space that feels not only warm, but also safe to show vulnerability in order to transform it. I still use her methods to approach new and challenging tasks, and I still have her voice in my head to remind me to be more confident and playful.

'I wish I could have a course like this always...'

L W

All classes were explorations rather than ‘have tos’, all ‘homework’ was optional, and I did all of it as I wanted to explore, see where a prompt can lead me. Very interesting guests, varied people who shared their own creative processes. I wish I could have a course like this always, to be accompanied and cared for and carried through without intrusion on my own process, in a knowledgeable nurturing way as Rachel is able to do. Also to be reminded, while going through the thicket of every day life, that we have a body, there is a lot more out there and we could just dare: as being creative is everybody’s birthright.

'I got so much out of it - connection, tools and methods, new ideas and inspiration, and plenty of fun'

H F

It was magic! So glad I joined the course, got so much out of it - connection, tools and methods, new ideas and inspiration, and plenty of fun. I loved how immersive and integrated the course was, so that I could see the blossoming of ideas in most surprising ways. I'm still drawing on the wisdom of it all! Rachel seems to be breathing creativity, and designs and holds this (co-)creative space with amazing clarity and grace.

'I honestly surprised myself with my bravery in sharing and making in this space.'

C P

I was kinda blocked last year, had a hunch Rachel might bring just the right amount of humour, curiosity and care to challenge that. Her somatic explorations were a new way of working for me, took me to unexpected and often uncomfortable parts of myself, which of course are a ripe place for creating from. The open and playful nature of the course was a safe container for student sharing and experimentation and the regular co-practice exploration with fellow students works incredibly well online and some of us have continued to meet. I honestly surprised myself with my bravery in sharing and making in this space. Rachel is incredibly skilful to tease that out of me. I’m most grateful. I put together my first live art piece for Brighton Fringe next month.

'I loved this course...like a magical pop of colour.'

M C

I loved this course. It came along at the perfect time and was a great source of both creativity and curiosity. It reminded me that creativity is always available even if you think you’re not that creative. I started to dream more and see the world more curiously. I naturally wanted to create tiny normal things during my normal day to day life. It was like a magical pop of colour during an otherwise not very eventful Covid winter.

'It helped me redefine what creativity is and helped me fall in love with my practice again'

M M

I’ve been an artist for 20 years and I thought I knew what an artist was. This course opened up a permissible space, all manner of undiscovered avenues within myself and within my practice. It issued the invitation for honesty, authenticity, mutual exploration with both the teacher and the group members. It was a journey we took together and it changed me. It helped me redefine what creativity is and helped me fall in love with my practice again.

'A perfect blend of structure and freedom, support and allowing to go with your own flow'

AS

Rachel is an incredible teacher who creates a very supportive environment for exploration a growth. The tools and principles she shared in the course allowed me to dive deeper into the nature of creativity and explore it as an embodied experience. The course was a perfect blend of structure and freedom, support and allowing to go with your own flow. I was not sure if the course was for me as I am not an artist, but it is absolutely relevant regardless of what you do and deals with creativity as principles applicable to anything in life. I highly recommend it to everyone, especially if you, like me, are tired of 'creative thinking' as the only way to focus on being creative.

It felt refreshing to free up my own limitations ...and reignite my spark and sense of wonder.

AH

I enjoyed the subtle variety of all the practices. It felt refreshing to have several "ways in" to creativity, to free up my own limitations of myself and reignite my spark and sense of wonder. Rachel has a brilliant way about her- able to encourage, invite, and challenge us all with a deep delight, curiosity and genuine love for this work that radiates.

What's The Investment?

Time, Money and Process...

There are 11 live, 2-hour long classes on a Tuesday morning (BST), 3 1-hour live set up sessions for the Practice Weeks, and about 25 pre-recorded mini classes and creative explorations you can do in your own time. If you can't make any of the live classes, they are all recorded and made available the next day. You can scale the intensity of the course based on how much you want to get out of it. Minimum recommended commitment to get benefit is 2 hours per week. If you're a deep diver, there is up to 6 hours of content you could be engaging with each week, not including home explorations. Of course the more time you invest in the explorations and make space in your life for this work, the deeper your experience and the more value you will get from it. . . Suggested price is £329. Below you'll find payment options, including concessions and pay monthly instalments. . .
[image by Leo Rivas]

Pricing

There are flexible pricing options. Regular price is £329.00. If you are ok for money, please choose this option. For intimacy, I'm capping numbers at 1 x full Zoom room: 20 people in total... so concession numbers will be capped at 10.

Other payment options -

For those of you for whom money is tight...

Like to know more?

If you're interested but unsure about a few things, you're welcome to get in touch and ask me anything you'd like. Before you do, please take moment to watch the video and re-read all the content here to make sure your question isn't already covered.
Rachel x