In focus

This year has already got off to an excellent start, in many ways. Our calendar is filled to the brim with excellent projects, the beginnings of new adventures and fruitful conversations with oodles of talented people.

If I look at the bare facts of what we are currently undertaking, there’s not an ounce of doubt that I love the work I get to do, and I am very aware of the privilege that comes with doing that work – and indeed, the lifestyle that comes with it.

Yet I can’t help but feel a distinct kind of pressure. It isn’t stress in the usual sense. Of course, there are a number of potentially stress inducing things lying ahead… Whether it is the opening of Weald at the Finborough, the imminent programme launch and looming marketing deadlines for Hear Me Roar, and setting things in motion for the beginning of a crowdfunding campaign for Drunken Nights… and all sorts of other things, small or big. But all these things are manageable, and enjoyable in their relative franticness.

The pressure that seems to be there for me seems to come from the constant tension between making things happen on the ground, and the awareness of the bigger picture of the world at large – and not knowing where to start.

Climate change

Brexit

The ‘migrant crisis’

The list goes on…

While I’ve always been relatively politically aware, I’m now grappling with a spooky sense that it’s all joined up. Reading Maddy Costa’s recent blog, this quote really stood out for me:

In her book Depression: A Public Feeling, Ann Cvetkovich argues that depression is “how capitalism feels”

In the past I’ve written about how as artists and creative practitioners, we still operate with language (here, for example), and within value systems that don’t belong to us but that are deeply rooted in a broader systematic logic that definitely doesn’t work for everyone.

I’m aware of it, and I’m aware of the contradiction that lies as I both point it out, and continue participating in it.

I won’t be able to be in Lancaster for the Festival of Questions, but by Jove am I full of them… I’m so full of them that it is actually quite difficult to be writing this morning… I’m so full of them I haven’t even yet found a way to express them. I’m lacking focus in my reflection – and thank you for reading, as I can’t be sure how much sense I’m making.

I guess this is something of a message in a bottle, a gentle distress signal to those who might feel the same, a longing for a community of people who tend to swap full stops for question marks?

I also guess that the real question is – how might we take time out to formulate questions, how might we embrace wondering while keeping ourselves afloat? My questioning isn’t very good at paying the bills these days… and once again, it all traces back to the dollar…

 

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