Our Life/Arts Programme has moved online!

Image Above: Title ” A golden flight for him and me” – Course participant, July 2019

A temporary shift that’s let our women continue exploring their creativity

Create Recovery’s Life Art Course has run in Brighton for the past four years for women in abstinence based recovery and uses the Life/Art Process® as the core of its teachings. The course is focused on supporting recovery by creatively exploring the spiritual principles that underpin the 12 Step programmes. The essential intention of the 12 Step process is to connect to one’s own understanding of an inner guidance or higher power and the arts can offer a powerful opening to experience that connection. The facilitator of the course, Lauren Dowse, states how the combination of somatic movement, drawing, poetry and performance practices allow the women to gain a greater awareness of the wisdom of their own bodies and awaken their imaginations. This can lead the participants to have powerful experiences of their own inner strength and also creates opportunities for more meaningful connections to others. The course was supposed to run for a year, starting May 2019 and ending May 2020, however has now been extended throughout the summer due to Covid-19.

The lockdown measures due to the pandemic that were put into place in March 2020, meant the project could not continue as the group in the studio. However beyond the uncertainty in our current world, through hard work and funding from Awards for All, National Lottery, Lauren managed to move the sessions online, allowing the participants to continue to share their experiences as a group through art, poetry and movement.

Lauren states, with a smile and look of relief, “Not quite blood but lots of sweat and a few tears went into solving the technicalities of moving online but I was so grateful to have received the help I needed as the sessions are going so well. It didn’t feel right to end the course during lockdown having spent nearly whole year together as a group, so keeping the course running until we could have our final session in person felt really important and keeping everyone supported with a creative practice during this time in isolation was imperative”. Between the sessions Lauren offers Homeplay exercises, shares playlists and resources for them to continue to move, dance, draw and write.

One of the most beautiful and seemingly favourable activities is the movement. This process of connecting to their inner guidance/higher power, had Lauren devise movement metaphors to explore the spiritual principles in a physical way, this has witnessed profound realisations and growth.

“The project is amazing as it’s very subtle with how you can get in touch with your inner self through movement. I find it to be very powerful” -Fi

As the intentions were set upon having that sense of ongoing community online, Lauren found a creative response to continue the beautiful project irrespective of a restrictive situation. During this unprecedented time the online sessions focal points revolve around themes of finding balance, embodying resilience and offering well being resources, with its main focuses on the creative practice and still providing the important connection and community for the participants.

“The project has been amazing in helping me contact and support the creative recovering aspects of myself. The trust I feel is crucial to that process and Lauren has done a wonderful job of seamlessly transferring the group online. Oddly, I have felt freer to be silly and playful in my private space whilst being aware that I am witnessed in the group” – Anna

The abrupt timing of lockdown in March meant that all the women’s artwork they had produced during the previous months of the project were locked up in the studio which had to be closed. So the aim for the final session is to meet in person, when its possible, to return the artwork and poetry and perform their final dances to mark and acknowledge their time together. Also to create a final Self Portrait that will bookend their experience, as they had created one at the beginning of the course over one year ago. To complete the session there will be a closing circle to say their final goodbyes.

           Excerpt from Collective poem written by the participants, September 2019

As God Sees Me

It was like magic,
And came as awake up call,
Wanting to be seen,
Rather than hiding myself in my troubles,
Lovingly held,
To be seen and moving forward,
I am I am Who I am.

My higher power sees me as pure and whole,
I am so deeply loved,
I am guided constantly,
In a Circle of safety.

Image Below: Title “I am Bright Shadow” – Self Portrait. Course participant, May 2019,