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Creative Circles – A Retreat for Those Striving to Serve Humanity Through Art

I had the privilege of assembly the fantastic Gordon Kerr on the current Ink of Mild Baha’i Writers’ Pageant, and he informed me about an superior initiative he’s began within the UK referred to as ‘Creative Circles’.

Creative Circles is a small retreat for those striving to serve humanity via artwork, and it’s a gathering where artists of every type come together from around the globe for every week of masterclasses, workshops, shows, and the sharing of experiences. It’s also a chance for artists to explore their pursuits and nurture their artistic skills in an atmosphere of fellowship and help.

I absolutely love the thought of Creative Circles and I needed to know more, so here’s what Gordon had to say about this great initiative:

Baha’i Blog: Hi Gordon, are you able to tell us just a little bit about Creative Circles and what it’s all about?

Creative Circles are a collection of small scale retreats meant to attraction to artists from throughout the artistic spectrum. They bring about collectively writers, painters, musicians, filmmakers and performance artists who attempt to hold spirit on the centre of their apply, no matter their self-discipline. They are distinctive within the distinctive welcoming spirit we attempt to foster and concentrate on personal and social transformation via the follow of artwork.

Baha’i Blog: What was your motivation in beginning Creative Circles?

I consider that art is important for our private and social improvement and that encouragement and help is important if artists are to fulfil their position as torchbearers of a brand new world civilisation. I was privileged to work for the Nationwide Assembly of the Baha’is of the UK for some 18 years, the place as supervisor of the Baha’i Publishing Belief I used to be in a position to work with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers and musicians from all all over the world. Since shifting to China in 2000 I’ve continued to work within the subject of schooling, publishing and arts administration, operating summer time arts camps and packages in artistic educating strategies for native faculties and universities and serving as director of several arts and educational organisations.

Gordon Kerr, Creative Circles founder.

Over four many years I have seen how we frequently wrestle to value the contribution that artists could make to the event and enlargement of the Baha’i group. I have additionally witnessed how many gifted and sensitive souls who sought in several ways to supply their art as a response to the Revelation, have been typically ignored, had their motives impugned or have been even abused in several methods. This is typically a results of inexperience or unrealistic expectations on the a part of artists, but in addition due to slender mindsets, cultural ignorance, or insecurity within sure sections of the Baha’i group. Sadly, this resulted in many of those gifted souls, including lots of my closest associates, leaving the Faith or turning into marginalised inside the Baha’i group. The state of affairs has significantly improved, but many souls nonetheless bear deep scars which prohibit their potential and others still find it troublesome to play a fulfilling position within the Baha’i group. I needed to do something about that and so spent several years consulting buddies, mentors, establishments and learning related steerage.

Baha’i Blog: How are they organised?

Creative Circles are organised and sponsored by the Dazzling Spark Arts Basis. This privately funded foundation was started in 2013 in Edinburgh to commemorate the centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to Scotland. The purpose is to create a everlasting legacy to these “never to be forgotten days” by encouraging and supporting artists who use their skills in service to humanity.

This yr we are organising three Creative Circles in Northumberland, UK. Every residential program lasts for 3 days and has a slightly totally different focus, Literary Arts 16-18 July, Music & Performing Arts 19-21 July and Visual Arts 22-24 July. We hope to host other Creative Circles at other occasions of the yr in several venues and are exploring the thought of rolling packages in Europe, North America and Asia which can scale back costs and travelling distances and permit more artists to participate.

We nonetheless have a couple of places left on this yr’s program however we attempt to hold all our Creative Circles quite small in order that we will keep an intimate setting where everyone has the prospect to share and turn into absolutely engaged. As a non-profit company we attempt to maintain prices as little as we will and supply subsidies to those on restricted incomes. Tickets might be be booked instantly although this hyperlink.

Baha’i Weblog: Why do you assume it’s essential to have one thing like this?

We talked to many artists and educators, additionally researching arts organisations, help networks and funding businesses. Our conclusion is that we’d like a particular area for artists to receive encouragement and feedback in a mutually supportive surroundings. Creative Circles meet an necessary want by providing alternatives for artists to come collectively to explore the challenges of the artistic process in a loving and supportive environment which encourages reflection, shared learning and collaboration. Although at present a lot of the members are Baha’is, our aim is to appeal to any and all artists who attempt to converse the widespread religious language of art and who’re interested in the betterment of the world via individual and social transformation. We also hope to prolong our networks and study from working with other organisations and businesses who share comparable objectives. Through co-sponsorship and joint administration of tasks we will strengthen our expertise, help extra artists and ship higher outcomes for the communities we serve.

Our work is on a modest scale, but thus far we’ve got sponsored and supported artists from throughout the artistic spectrum, commissioned items and performances, offered journey grants and assisted places, helped with grant writing and offered practical publishing and advertising recommendation. Last yr we additionally instituted the Dazzling Spark Awards which give recognition to artists and organisations who have made outstanding contributions in the fields of private and social transformation. Considered one of our most visible and profitable packages has been our Creative Circles.

Baha’i Weblog: Are you able to describe these Creative Circles in more detail?

These retreats are fairly small scale in nature, however convey collectively three teams of individuals: established artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers and artistic professionals of each background, plus a second group of rising or aspiring artists and thirdly an equally necessary group of supporters and arts lovers, comparable to family, pals, colleagues and club members. This mixture of skills and energies when rigorously nurtured will help produce an intimate and supportive surroundings for deep and meaningful dialogue. This has proved really transformational and a magnet to those with comparable aspirations to use their skills and assets for the betterment of the world. Many long-term Baha’is have described the Creative Circles as probably the most empowering and joyful expertise of their lives and urged us to host comparable occasions all over the world, something we’re actively researching and contemplating.

Our Creative Circles are still evolving but after a few years of trial and error we’ve established a successful model which could be adapted to totally different places and communities, typically in partnership with other organisations. So perhaps in future we will probably be hosting a Creative Circles close to you. In case you are interested by exploring this additional please do get in contact. You possibly can attain us through e mail: [email protected]

Baha’i Weblog: How do you see them creating in future?

As with all studying course of, consultation and reflection are both essential. One of the fascinating observations we now have made, is that our unique idea of “aspiring artists” as a gaggle of primarily youthful, inexperienced artists proved to be restricted. Modifications in demographics and life has meant that many who retire from full-time work are faced with a new set of challenges. Whereas retirement prior to now might have meant a number of years put out to pasture or spent in leisurely pursuits comparable to crafts or hobbies, now many individuals are being pressured to consider some type of lively employment to help meagre pensions or lack of household/group help. Whether driven by monetary need, a want for private fulfilment or commitment to service, giant numbers of people at the moment are actively reinventing ourselves as artistic professionals/ academics/consultants in a second or third profession which as life expectancy increases might stretch 20-30 years into the longer term. We now have come to realise subsequently that retirees getting into new careers as artists should not be seen as mere hobbyists or fanatics, however probably as critical professionals investing appreciable time, assets and experience into perfecting their work. Perhaps you’re one such worthy soul. It’s never too late to start.

The humanities are often a good way to meet new individuals and type new friendships so maybe you possibly can be a part of an present group or even start one in your home or group area. Most arts are a form of religious language the place individuals are comfortable to interact in meaningful conversations.

Baha’i Weblog: How can we study extra about Creative Circles?

Info is repeatedly posted on our Dazzling Spark Basis’s Facebook page and we hope to relaunch our digital platforms and websites in the subsequent few weeks. Finally, for those of you who is perhaps here is a link to a brief film we produced of last years Creative Circles within the north of England by award-winning filmmaker Lou Armitt. It conveys something of the unique spirit of Creative Circles, so please have a look and share.

Baha’i Weblog: Thanks so much, Gordon for taking the time to do that interview, and thank you for creating such an exquisite initiative! We hope this yr’s Creative Circles proceed to be enriching and fulfilling for all.

Ebook tickets to attend this yr’s Creative Circles, but hurry because it starts in a couple of days, so register now!

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