'Home is Where t'Art is' (say it with a northern accent) by Alice Chamberlain
CH: Why did you decide to start the Instagram handle?
VF: Around the time @rcatextiles_social was established, the students were really stressed out, there was so much uncertainty and fear around Covid-19 via news channels and social media. I wanted to offer some relief from this, so initially set up the RCA Textiles Community Newsletter sharing positivity through inspiration and activities. When lockdown was enforced, life as we knew it changed and the biggest concern for us was the wellbeing of our students.
Initially I met with students for online drop in sessions to create an open space for them to talk about anything, and it was a conversation about fitness which evolved into me offering to deliver online exercise classes. I should add that I’m an academic on the MA Textiles course, not a trained fitness instructor, but I know first-hand the many benefits of exercise and wanted to help in any way possible! This led to me offering opportunities for the students to be creative outside of their own practice, and connect with others through an array of workshops. As a result I made the Instagram account to share positivity, not only for the students but a wider online audience.
'Running in the Grass' Olivia Silverstein
CH: What impact do you think this has had on your students?
VF: I hope this has provided a positive distraction and has allowed the students to feel a little more connected to their peers despite working in isolation. It always fills me with a huge amount of joy when they share their personal stories with the account. One of our students Lizzy Stuyfzand ordered 150 tulips (that would have gone into waste) to help save the tulip farmers, then delivered 15 bouquets to her elderly neighbours. As well as sharing resourcefulness in their creative home hacks, one of the greatest benefits is seeing how the students and alumni have connected and volunteered their time to the community. This has included webinars from RCA textiles alumni, online exercise classes and a series of creative workshops.
'Give me a hug' Pheobe Corker-Marin
CH: Talk us through some of the workshops and what else you have planned?
VF: So far, the students have taken part in 'The Great RCA Textiles Bake off' where the students were invited to creatively define what a ‘cake’ can be. One submission by Rosalba Fucci included a cake made from the random items found in her DIY drawer, as food was not abundantly available or something she wished to ‘play around with.’
'Triple Tape-roll Heaven 4 Tier Cake' by Rosalba Fucci
I also invited individuals to take part in PureBrightness88, which relates to my own practise and research. The students were tasked with creating and sharing perspectives and personal stories of LOVE in Covid-19. These included childhood memories, home, and reflecting on relationships to name a few. Looking forward together, we will be developing opportunities for the community to continue connecting through online social meet ups, creative skill shares and workshops, podcasts, lectures and online exhibitions.
'Fantastic Creatures and Where to find them' Yiru Chen
Creating.In.Crisis is an online exhibition set up by 11 RCA first year MA Textile students. The newly named exhibition, which would originally have been physical was focused on the importance of craftsmanship in textiles. Howeverv due to Covid-19, the event was called off and the group, who had been working closely together were suddenly spread all over the world.
Vivien Reinert in isolation
Speaking to Vivien, many of the participants, including herself felt defeated and struggled with motivating themselves to keep creating. However, the constant exchange between their little community helped them realise they were all in it together, and that perhaps some invaluable lessons could be learnt here.
By being open for the unexpected, the change and the challenge, we will gain and learn new skills.
'Playing No More.' Chloé Rohefort
Plans to set up the exhibition continued, and instead the event was taken URL via Instagram. Creating.In.Crisis is now an online platform to let the wider community be a part of their creative progress, both the struggles and the solutions.
We recommend checking out their archived stories for a fun and mood lifting insight into each student’s work in progress as they #WFH.
Check them out & show some support.