Today, I’d like to take the time to give a word of thanks to an organisation I’m a member of, which has been so kind as to publish several of my poems, short stories and flash fiction. It’s given me the opportunity to reach a wider audience than I might otherwise have managed, and I’d like to return the favour.
Creative Future are a charity based in Brighton (though they publish and exhibit people from all over the country), providing training, mentoring and the chance to publish or exhibit work to people who lack opportunities for a variety of reasons. It may be due to a physical disability, a mental health condition, a neurological disease or disorder. It may be due to poor health. And it may be due to social or economic circumstance – such as being homeless, or having to work multiple jobs to pay the rent and never getting the free time to promote your work yourself.
And Creative Future recognises that it’s not just disabilities, or caring responsibilities, or socio-economic background that can hold people back. They recognise that somebody can be held back by their sexuality or race just as much as by a stifling workload, being homeless, having their time taken up caring for sick or elderly relatives, or by having a disability.
Often, indeed, the people who are most marginalised are held back by more than one of these. Which is why Creative Future accepts contributions from LGBT and ethnic minority writers, alongside disabled writers and those from low socio-economic backgrounds. It’s great as it allows people with one kind of issue holding them back to learn more about others, and empathise with people who are held back just as firmly, but by totally different things.
I’m also very impressed by Creative Future’s decision not only to publish contributors online, but to publish anthologies too, which really helps. And it doesn’t stop there –Creative Future works closely with the Big Issue, and so from time to time their artists and writers are published by the magazine. In doing so, contributors are able to ensure they’re read more widely, while also helping out an enterprise devoted to improving the lives of Britain’s homeless, some of our most vulnerable citizens. And just to show Creative Future stands in solidarity with the Big Issue’s business ethos,contributors are paid as well.
As a writer, I’ve benefitted greatly from Creative Future. Having my work published on the site has given me a great confidence boost, while the selective nature of publication – you can’t just chuck any old scribbling at them and expect it to be put up, you know, as I learnt from experience – has made me more aware of the need to edit work. But writing isn’t Creative Future’s only forte – they also publish artwork on their site, so if your skills are more graphic than written, don’t feel you’re excluded! What’s more, there’s their events programme the ‘Impact Art Fair’ (http://www.impact-art-fair.org.uk/), the ‘Tight Modern’, (http://tightmodern.wix.com/gallery) and the Creative Future Literary Awards (www.cfliteraryawards.org.uk) to get involved in! For more information see their website: www.creativefuture.org.uk