My year with blueprint 100
What a strange and time to be finishing an epic year, to have spent every week with this wonderful collection of people has been such an honour and pleasure that it feels bizarre to say goodbye through the strange close-distance of pixels.
I have gained so much this year, it hasn’t been easy but I have certainly learned a lot. I have never before been afforded the opportunity to completely adapt and change the way I am working and the structure at such a core level. This has been both liberating and overwhelming. It has presented the space to really dig deep and ask the questions that need asking, even if they did make us uncomfortable, in fact even more of a reason to ask these questions! It has built a foundation of experience that I now take forward into the rest of my life. I have gained practical experiences like how to operate within a larger organisation as a freelancer. I have also grown in ways that can be applied to both personal and professional life, like how to negate issues if you feel like someone is struggling and the importance of emotion check ins so that you can understand where your teammates may be struggling and why.
In a way I feel like this year has been a taster selection (which is the way I like to eat my food best!) lots of small samples of information, experience and the occasional apple of knowledge falling on your head helping to throw you into the unknown and into new ways of thinking. I have also learned so much about myself, what I do when I am stressed and slowly but surely finding out where my limits are. I am convinced when I know more of where and what that line looks like I will become a much more effective worker.
I come out of this experience filled with gratitude for the growth that has been made for me as a human being. I also leave the table wanting a little more (as a dear friend told me is how you should always leave the table) and regretting not sampling or testing some of the ideas that were on offer or only just beginning to bake. It is my intention that these ideas will come into their own as future projects.
More importantly than how far I have come and how I will move forward, is my experience with blueprint100, in which I have always felt held. At the point where I thought I might break or be completely overwhelmed there was always someone to catch me, help me back on my feet and create a small hole of light so that I could see my path again. This is thanks to the endless compassion of both Katherine Wheeler and Debs McDowall, their faith and trust in us is something that will continue to illuminate the path for many years to come. I must also pay homage to the incredible team that I found myself a part of, we always joked about a weekly cry and our work becoming a therapy session. Working in a structured way with others is something I have always struggled with to the point of crippling anxiety. The entire ‘Stove Network’ holds community at its core, this passion and consideration came through in both the way we were inducted to the role and the energy of blueprint100 team. I always came away from work feeling better.
At the start of the year we said that we wanted to create a space in which people could feel comfortable enough to take chances and ‘fail’. I for one feel like this could sum up my experience with blueprint100.
I would like to end this year the way I began it, with a song. This expression could also sum up the progress in just one avenue that I have explored in this time; the confidence to share, to share what is not ready and what may not even be good. We started with an exhibition called ‘Comfort in the Uncomfortable’ in which I sang a Gaelic song, it was an attempt to strip some of my ego and share what made me truly uncomfortable. I am now part of a Gaelic choir and am singing and sharing music with others on a weekly, even daily basis. Thank you for having confidence in me and helping me grow.
My experiences, in no particular order:
First aid training
Performance and dance experience
Diversity awareness training
Event set up training
Budget training and experience
Active listening training
The opportunity to work with a creative team, encouragement to question and evolve working practice and blueprint 100
Going to France (the flexibility of this position allowed me to do things that others wouldn’t)
The opportunity to organise for ourselves
Access to building, graphic design, brains, support, budgeting, funds, a ‘project manager’ from The Stove Network among many other things
‘100 moves’ workshop and working with artists Kerry Morrison and Helmut Lemke
Working with community groups
Designing and delivering workshops
Meeting with Creative Scotland Director Iain Munro
D&G College Fresher’s fair stall set up and connections
b100 rebranding lead role
Creation of artist talk and community meal
Training for transformation course
Feeding into the Stove Board away day at CampleLine
Writing a successful funding application to HWT
‘Queer life drawing’ organisation and facilitation
Partaking in ‘Time to Shine’ consultation with Creative Scotland in Falkirk
Mental Health exhibition – set up and workshop organisation and facilitation