Creative Catch-up with James Whitman

James Whitman is a writer, and is one of our Creative Development Fellows. In this blog post, he introduces ‘Creative Catch-up’ — a podcast he is making with visual artist, Stephanie Smith.

“I’m James (the writer) and this is Steph (the artist). Welcome to our Creative Catch-up!”

Steph and I are best mates, and we’ve been having “creative catch-ups” for years. You can often find us on Roker Beach chatting about what we’re working on, where we’re stuck, and nerding out about the art or books we’ve been consuming.

These catch-ups are super helpful when we’re in the thick of a project, or when we’re developing new artistic approaches. Because we work in different mediums, we can explore each other’s practice from a position of curious ignorance, which keeps us both honest about the creative choices we’re making.

I’ve been working full-time as a writer for several years, and Steph has recently made the move to full-time artist. This has added an extra dimension to our catch-ups, as we chat about some of the day-to-day realities of being a working creative, like maintaining productive routines, working intentionally, and avoiding burnout.

During lockdown, it occurred to us that not every artist or writer is lucky enough to have a creative bestie. We also wanted to push ourselves to “level up” our careers this year, and to develop audiences for our work.

So we started thinking about making a podcast. ‘Creative Catch-up’ is our way of sharing conversations we’d be having anyway, in case other creatives find them interesting or helpful. It also keeps us accountable, since part of the podcast is about the development of our works-in-progress.

Neither of us had podcasted before, so I applied for a Creative Development Fellowship to fund some mentoring time with local audio producer, Jay Sykes. As a working creative, it can sometimes be difficult to justify the time we need to develop our practice. This funding has been invaluable in creating space to learn the craft of podcast production, and it means I can really throw myself into the process.

‘Creative Catch-up’ is available now on most podcast platforms, or you can listen to it from a web browser here:

If you want to know more about us as individual creatives, you can find us on the socials below:

Instagram/Twitter: @TheJamesWhitman

Instagram: @stephanie.smith.artist

Do you have a story to share? How have you unleashed creativity during lockdown? We would love to hear from you! Let us know of your creative ideas by emailing us at [email protected]

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