We were delighted to introduce our first cohort of Creative Associates last month. This dynamic group of eight artists and creative practitioners join our team at a crucial stage in our story.
Over the coming weeks, we'll be getting to know each associate a little better, via a Q&A. First up, meet Nerida...
Tell us about your creative practice. What kind of work do you make and what motivates you?
I class myself as an emerging creative so I am still finding this out myself! I would describe myself currently as a director, maker and facilitator.
My creative practice sits on the borderline between the arts and working with people. I believe that these two are inseparable. I think that the arts are for people and too often they are left out of the equation. I am interested in how the arts can serve a purpose in society and act as a tool for expression, wellbeing and dialogue.
I began as primarily an emerging theatre director. I was previously Trainee Director at The Other Room where I produced their TOR Emerging Writers Scheme and I co-run Run Amok Theatre Company with Izzy Rabey. I am also the producer of Trans Pride Cardiff.
I currently work as a facilitator for Newport LGBTQ+ Youth Group and the Newport Youth Council. I have also worked with the Sherman Introduction to Playwrighting group and co-lead one of the Sherman Youth Theatre groups. I am also working as a Youth Development Co-ordinator on Reading the Rainbow – an LGBTQ+ film literacy project in collaboration with The Riverfront and Pili Pala Film.
I am motivated by reimagining who gets to be an “artist” and thinking of how we can build a society where everyone has access to pleasure, joy and belonging.
Why did you want to join us as a Creative Associate?
I’d listened to Graeme speak as a guest on the Critically Speaking podcast and it seemed as though Wales Millennium Centre was in a really interesting transitionary period; moving from the way they had been working to the way they wanted to work.
I was really into the idea they discussed of Wales Millennium Centre being a home, working to expand who felt like they could belong there. I don’t want to come back to the arts as they were before COVID19 – it is incredibly uninteresting to me – so I really wanted to work with them to codesign new ways of working and utilising the space that they currently occupy.
What do you hope to get from the next two years working with us at Wales Millennium Centre?
I’m really excited by the prospect of learning from and collaborating with the other Creative Associates. I hope that I’ll have the time and space to nurture sustainable and meaningful relationships with individuals and communities. I hope that I will leave with even more questions than when I arrived.
The last 18 months have been difficult, but what are the positives that have come out of this period for you, and what are your hopes for the future?
I think the biggest positive that has come out of the last 18 months has been time and space to slow down and reflect.
I felt a real sense of loss of identity when the pandemic hit because I felt like my trajectory had been interrupted. I felt as though I had been working extremely hard and sacrificing a lot of joy for nothing. In short, I was suffering from a lot of internalised capitalism.
However, it made me reassess how I could live by my values. How could I switch from a survival mindset to one that centres joy and growth? How can I learn to embrace failure? I don’t believe that my worthiness should be based upon my productivity so why was this the message being communicated to me? My work is a small part of who I am but it is not what makes me a whole person.
It also gave me space to think about damaging or unhelpful ways of working within the arts industries and start to imagine kinder and bolder alternatives to this. I definitely don’t have all the answers yet but I’m excited to explore.
Another positive is that I was forced to adapt to survive and as a result I have been able to do more of the work that nourishes me, for example working with young people.
My hope for the future is to keep learning!
Where can we see your work?
I don’t have a very big online presence; you can follow me on Twitter at @nerida_bradley but prepare to be disappointed!
Reading the Rainbow will be taking place in June which is open to all young people (12-17 years old) so follow @RiverfrontArts to find out more.
I’d also really recommend keeping up with all the wonderful work being done by the Newport Youth Council who you can follow on @YouthNewport.