Over the few months I’ve had the chance to talk to Bushra El-Turk through the CoDI Mentorship Scheme, which has been absolutely brilliant. There were two questions I especially wanted to think about, which have been on my mind pretty much since I started composing and which have become especially important and central to projects I’m currently working on. It’s been wonderfully inspiring to have the opportunity to discuss them and think about tactics, approaches and ways of researching.
One question was to understand how to manage my creative process in order to make it more sustainable as a long-term career choice. The other was look at different aspects of creative collaboration and group improvisation. As coronavirus hit the fan one week into the mentorship scheme, I darkly assumed we would not be able to explore these questions in a way I could apply practically and immediately. Doing something like group improvisation via Zoom sounded about as promising to me as getting an online massage.
The fun thing has been finding solutions to this in a way that I think will continue to shape the way I work. For example, while I’ve still parked some projects until a time that will suit them better, I’ve been able to move forward with others. As a result of my conversations with Bushra, I’m now in conversation with a community choir on how to write a piece together online (working title: ‘Screaming into the void’). We’re tweaking processes on how to invite group creativity on that platform in a way you couldn’t do in a room, which has been entertaining to think about. Interestingly, it also seems to have become more meaningful now as it has the potential to give voice and direction, changing something quite significantly about the project.
Similarly, I feel I’ve made real progress with slowly changing the way I approach my creative process. Some of the tactics will mostly be practicable ‘later’, but there’s plenty of things I can apply straight away such as finding common threads in my work. Bushra and I spoke about what I want to sound like in five years, which is a fun thought, and not one I’d really considered. I’ve noticed these conversations have already changed the way I work and I’m excited to see where it will lead.