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Building A Community To Do Creative Work Together 

When people come together, ideas flow, which others get to see and can participate. 

A community is strong, especially when it engages in creative activities together. 

It works when people feel willing to contribute and valued for who they are. It means everyone gets to learn from and inspire each other, rather than operating in isolation.

This article looks at finding a cohort of people who want to add to the mix and change together. It thrives on a spirit of generosity.

Where It Started 

When a group of people with diverse skills and perspectives unite, they can achieve great things.

When you take an approach to be creative together, it’s messy learning, but it often leads to ideas and solutions that no person could have conceived alone.

This was where I began. When you start your own side projects, it’s just you trying to convince people to join in. It requires a lot of effort. You’re on your own with your ideas and delivery, trying to get others’ attention.

I had always longed for a way to bring people to a space where we could be open and have conversations about figuring out what it means to be seen today and create work that makes an impact. If I were able to establish such a creative environment, it would allow all of us to be a part of that.

By creative, I don’t mean artistic approaches, such as design or writing, but innovative thinking, collaborative projects and problem-solving.

Over the years with YATM (You Are The Media) I aimed to create a community where people could be themselves, without feeling pressured to conform to expectations (you can read more about that here) and to encourage more active participation

YATM events, starting in 2016, were my response to everything that made me uncomfortable—exclusion, superficial networking, and hierarchical structures. Over time, these events became a celebration of normality and a space for people who choose to accept themselves.

This encouraged us to find more ways to be creative together.

Examples Of Creativity Together

We have delivered many activities that promote a collaborative and creative approach.

Here are some examples where it is about a collective effort.

A podcast where attendees were stars of the show

In February 2024 we started the YATM Creator Day Podcast to coincide with the main Creator Day event. Shows where two people, likely meeting for the first time, shared their backgrounds and reasons for attending Creator Day. For 2025, I aim to elevate this experience.

Different people hosting Lunch Club events

For many people from the community, this is their first time hosting an event. It can be a huge step to hold that torch. We have a theme, someone leads and everyone supports and makes it an occasion that doesn’t feel stressful for the host. This is their moment in the sun and to take the glory.

We walked with Chandy

In June 2021, one of the members from the community was having a tough time. Rather than words of support on social media and then ignored, we decided to do something about it and 80 people joined in to raise awareness. You can read more here.

Working with the local college for YATM Creator Lab

This initiative with Bournemouth & Poole College has progressed from teaching practical skills to building confidence of young adults. It involved the ‘village elders’ sharing their knowledge and experiences and the students at the Creator Lab gradually integrating into the wider community and feeling a sense of belonging.

Encouraging the skillsets of others to shine

A lot of credit for the promo videos produced for Creator Day goes to Matt King, a very talented creative mind. Liam Toms is also a talented person when it comes to getting people to join in, particularly for his Game Nites. When people have the platform, audience and opportunity to deliver to, it makes them famous in the family.

YATM Takeover

Every Thursday in the YATM newsletter, someone from the community starts the email. This is it to show the rest of the community, that there are others from around the world to say ‘hello’ to and connect with. It also shows that a newsletter, just have to be centred on one person, other people can step up too. Even better when they are the first person everyone else sees.

Making a summer event about togetherness not forced learning

We have never delivered a summer party before. On Friday 12th July, we have the Summer Showcase Variety Performance, in Bournemouth. A mix of others from the community sharing their stories as well as ways for people to get to know each other better and feel a part of the wider YATM community (and win prizes). It’s a way to kick back and heighten camaraderie. You can come along by booking here.

How This Has All Worked

A community that engages in creative activities together is built on three key pillars

Insight 1 – Build What Isn’t Available & What You Lack

Building a community means a stronger way for self-expression, meaning there are people alongside you where you feel fine to be yourself. However, to get there and to attract people around a cause, you must care deeply about the topic. Being yourself helps people believe in you. When they believe in you, they trust you. When they trust you, they support you.

Insight 2 – Ideas Flow When People Come Together  

Creativity thrives in a collective environment. The interactions and exchanges within a group can spark new ideas and perspectives that wouldn’t emerge in isolation.

Insight 3 – Mutual Support Grows 

Being part of a community involved being accountable to each other. This mutual accountability encourages people to apply the lessons they learn and support each other in their endeavours. It also means that people can see others who are stepping up and know that it feels safe and supported.

Seth Godin encapsulates this idea beautifully: “Who you hang out with determines what you dream about and what you collide with. And the collisions and the dreams lead to your changes. And the changes are what you become. Change the outcome by changing your circle.”

Think More Collectivism Than Individualism

A collective approach prioritises the group over the individual. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The focus for people is their relationship with others. This is contrasted to social media where for the most part the aim is to ‘look after number one.’ 

This represents individualism where the shift moves from ‘our’ goal to ‘my’ purpose. Personal achievement and seeing ourselves is the priority, rather than being with others.  

Collectivism heightens the ability for the group to be creative as a team. This is what happens:

Support happens and bonds are formed – it doesn’t feel as lonely anymore

Shared responsibilities – this means that skillsets are pooled together, rather than kept apart

Increased collaboration – diverse perspectives and skills are heightened, meaning the group can make a bigger impact

Shared identity – when you build a space that has shared valued and input is encouraged, it fosters a sense of continuity

Communal creativity is all about thinking as a collective rather than as individuals. It’s the magic that happens when we pool our creative energies together.

It’s thinking more as a sports team, than it is as an athlete. Success is achieved through heightened teamwork and collaboration. Players prioritise the team’s success over individual statistics, working together to achieve the goal. What happens is that each person becomes rewarded.

Feeling motivated to be part of the group leads to recognition, appreciation, and reward. 

We see that within YATM. From the person who starts the newsletter every week, to ideas to incorporate to create events better, this is about cooperative problem-solving in a creative and progressive way. It is also much more empowering when delivered and visible. This is because people can connect with something larger than themselves.

Let’s Round-Up 

A small group of committed and thoughtful individuals can have a greater impact than trying to make a difference alone.

A creative space for people to be seen and invited helps to keep the entire effort relevant as ideas are continually welcomes and encouraged. 

This is why it fits into a collective, rather than an individualistic approach. It’s the powerful shared drive where people can attach a deeper meaning to the overall cause that encourages longevity.

By building a community focused on creativity, you cultivate an environment where everyone can thrive. The combined energy and shared experiences lead to breakthroughs that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.

Embrace the messy learning, as it helps to transform not only your own work but also your perspective. 

A community united in creativity not only makes the journey more enjoyable, but also demonstrates how to achieve greater things on a larger scale.

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