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Navigating Creative Spaces As A Black Woman In The East Midlands

The creative world can be a very strange place for those who aren't acquainted with it. As a young black girl, I carried a hefty amount of unfulfilled energy - most likely from being the outsider and trying to fit in. Entering a building made for the artistic pursuit of creative expression felt like an illusion that had me frowning in disbelief. Years of witnessing a lack of representation in the arts, when watching TV and films, reading books and on the occasional school trips to the theatre or museum, led me to distrust the creative industries. If I couldn't see anyone who looked like me here, was this really a place for me? Instead of these spaces making me feel like I could unleash my stories, learn and grow creatively, they were unknown territory.

Part of working in the arts as a black woman looks like going to a conference, listening to speakers explore how art spaces can be more diverse, and being one of maybe ten black people in an audience of hundreds - ever had the feeling that all eyes are on you? While these conversations around making the arts and creative industries more diverse and inclusive are crucial, it can sometimes feel like an overwhelming and impossible task.

Today, I work as an arts professional. But what is it like to be a black woman working in the arts? And how do creative spaces serve black women and girls who don't have a professional interest in art?