“I had applied for the Joya Air residency with the intention of retreating from the busyness of life to immerse myself in nature and allow time and space to begin personal writing projects. I had never been on an artist residency before, but Joya: AiR really called to me. It’s beautiful remote and natural location, the sustainably maintained centre and welcoming, minimalist rooms – I knew I had to spend time here clear my vessel, to recharge and to create.
Arriving at Joya: AiR, I was taken aback by the immensity of the surrounding landscape. Mountains and trees rolled for miles and for as far as the eye could see. The centre was beautifully decorated in artwork. Other artists were welcoming, and Donna and Simon had been so inviting that it felt like they had given me my own home in theirs.
My creative intention whilst spending time at the residency was to write. I had allowed myself a few days with no pressure of making or doing anything, but to simply be in the space. I connected with the other artists, listened to the diversity of their backgrounds and disciplines and spent time walking the mountains around the centre.
I realised that my artistic background was quite unconventional compared to the other creatives I had met there. I had studied BA Social Care and Education Studies before graduating from MA Media, Communications and Critical Practice. The jump in discipline was inspired by a passion for social justice, feminism and equality. After gaining a deep sociological perspective of power differentials and oppression experienced by intersectional groups during my first degree, I was charged by a drive to take meaningful action. In a year between studying the degrees, I established www.ProjectFEM.com, a blog and collective of women that used fashion as a platform for addressing feminist issues and empowering women. I went on to study to gain insight into how I could use contemporary media as a channel for positive social change.
Until this year, my life purpose and career motivation had mapped out in a linear fashion. Yet, since being caught up in the chaos of working life, I had felt stuck without knowing which direction to take next. I know that I have to create in a way that is underlined by my passion to affect positive change. I had intended on spending my time at Joya: AiR by using the medium of writing to do this - to allow myself time to write creatively and with intention. Specifically, writing to launch a new blog project that comments on contemporary media, popular culture and feminism. However, my time at the residency served an unexpected journey for me, and a bigger and deeper purpose. Joya: AiR held a space for me to retreat and to reflect on where I had been, where I am now and where I want to go - basic reflections that my busy life had distracted me from. Conversations with like minded creatives fuelled and inspired a whole new realm of paths and possibilities that I could take to achieve my goals.
Beyond providing a studio space for me to write about my passions, Joya: AiR served an invaluable purpose, through free time and a relaxing but creative environment, that allowed me to reach clarity on my work. I have returned home from my time at the centre feeling motivated, peaceful and excited for my next endeavour (which I am keeping close to my chest until I’m ready to share with the world!)”.