Creative Producers International Bristol Residential Lab Oct 2017 Reflections – Anel Moldakhemetova, Almaty

It was such a gift and a great luxury that cannot be underestimated to take part in Creative Producers International Residence program in Bristol.

Need to say, that it was my very first time in UK and in Bristol and I am lucky that the first encounter happened at Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed. It was a very intense, inspiring and overwhelming experience that provided me with new tools, fresh insights, and, what is the most important, gave me chance to know and exchange my experience with very talented, professional and versatile creative producers from different countries who were blowing my mind and breaking my stereotypes, as well as teaching me so much every single day of the Lab.

One of my secret hopes before the lab was to learn how to play in the city. The lab went beyond my expectations, we played a lot and I felt the very joy of it. Each one of us led a 10-minute warm-up every day. I almost forgot, what it’s like – to play, like a kid. It was almost a revelation, when I allowed myself to play, it was so empowering and… just fun. And one of the insights was – it is so easy and cool, why did I stop practicing it?

Throughout the lab I was learning and practicing permissions for myself a lot. For example, I gave myself permission to not be available all the time on messengers even though I had things to do back at home, I allowed myself to be fully mentally present at the very moment, focusing on one single task at a time – such a luxury again for me, because for the last 2 years I was always multitasking and available 24/7. I gave myself permission to think about and rethink the term “сreative producer”, his role, importance, value and versatility. I gave myself permission to think about my personal needs and mental health because my work routine would never allow me having a minute for myself to stop and to think not only about the quality of the project and work that I’m doing, but my own quality of life and level of happiness and content from what I’m doing. I gave myself permission to explore city as a stranger, a wanderer and to walk and stroll in Bristol without any goal – thanks to the amazing workshop and app “It Must Have Been Dark by Then” by Duncan Speakman. I allowed myself to hide small secrets in the city with Russel Hlongwane and creating a secret treasure map as I did when I was a kid, while getting ready for the Playable City conference activity for the delegates. It doesn’t even matter that sudden rain ruined our plan – it couldn’t ruin the pleasure from the process. I allowed myself to be vulnerable and be ok with it – thanks to Alice, her personal presentation and her conversation with us during lunch break about resilience and taking care of ourselves as humans in the first place. I allowed myself to forget about all rules and mental borders and build the imaginary dream city  from scratch thanks to Permissive City workshop with Chloe Meineck. And Michelle B. allowed me to experience her very personal mental map of Bristol and even gave me money to buy ice-cream from the van – an absolute kid happiness rediscovered again.

I cannot be more grateful for that amazing feeling and experience – rediscovering my inner kid and learning to play again. So simple and yet so complicated sometimes with our busy schedules and minds of creative producers. I found a place inside me where all my creative resources and energy was, pressed down by work, daily routines and obligations, and let it free thanks to the lab. I believe that a creative producer should allow himself to play before working on playable city projects. I succeeded thanks to the amazing team of the Creative Producers International Team, Pete Vence, Joe, Claire and everyone who worked to make this residence happen. I am so grateful to all of you for the wonderful beginning of the journey with CPI, and can’t wait to continue working with all of you.