And the challenges of truly & honestly reflecting participant’s creativity within the confines of an arts council funded project 


When the idea for Root’s newest experience the Hidden Project , originally came to me a couple of years ago, I had a clearer notion of what the outputs might be.  My internal director knew how our event – now called ‘The Hubbub’ might look, what an exhibition or performance might feel like, and how any staging could be set up (managed and even moved).   

But the point of the Hidden Project, it’s whole raison d'être, is that it truly, authentically, and honestly reflects the experiences of the individuals working through it.  Not mine, not my thoughts.  Not my creativity or my ideas.   

Supporting not creating 

In this project, I am wanting to support, allow, welcome and encourage other people’s own creativity. Helping individuals in their creative endeavours.  Honouring their ideas and imagination. 

To get this thing right, I have been forced to leave my ideas, steer and direction at the door. 

I also needed to manage the venue, which of course needs to know what the Hidden Project and the Hubbub is.  Performance? Exhibition? Installation? 

The funders needed me to complete their paperwork, describing the project.  In detail. 

I had to speak to collaborators and explain to the Roots team what it is that we are doing. 

Creativity (in not being creative) 

The personal creative challenge is immense (and brilliant and refreshing).  I love this process of re-thinking what I usually give within a project. 

I have found ways to be inventive and resourceful, and I am enjoying the more immediate creative response that I have found; in planning, and producing the Hidden Project and The Hubbub.  My creativity is exercised in finding solutions to each of these dilemmas. 

Try this: 

·       Describe your project, without limiting what it can be. 

·       Detail your creative processes, without limiting what the participants might do/bring/be 

Other challenges 

We are working with people with challenging, hidden disabilities and conditions.  My usual approach of bringing high-energy bursts of ideas must be adjusted.  We have participants in our creative workshops with autism, ME, CFS.  I am finding a gentle, clearly sign-posted approach. 

The fit has to be good for everyone.  It can’t be emotionally or physically exhausting, but should explore and reflect physical and emotional responses. 

My practice 

This project may be my most challenging yet, both as a director and on a personal, ‘practice’ level.  I need to find new sides to myself and my practice so we can achieve what we promise through the Hidden Project. 

Arts Industry conversation day 

I will be reflecting more on the process and how myself, the Roots team and our workshop participants respond to all these challenges throughout our Arts Industry conversation day at the Dome on 5th July at 10.30am at Brighton Dome. 

The Hubbub 

Following on from that, the Hubbub itself will showcase the workshops, exhibit creative outcomes and host an ongoing open conversations to explore the lived experience of people in Sussex living with hidden disabilities. This will run from 12am to 5pm on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th July. 


To engage with the project, attend the practitioner’s day or to find out if you can get involved, please do contact us.  You can hear more about all our projects, by signing up to our newsletter here.