Katie was a recipient in the first round of the Sustaining Creative Workers Initiative.

Tell us about you and your creative work.

I am a lighting designer for theatre and live performance working with queer artists across many different forms including theatre, dance and experimental performance. As a lighting designer, I am interested in how light can be used to tell stories.

I am also an artist with my practice taking many different forms across performance, installation, video, and drawing. Whilst my practice is very varied, ideas often cross over between my two artforms and the different modes of practice influence different ways I approach both parts of my work.

How has coronavirus impacted on your life and work?

It has made it difficult to work as a lighting designer as most theatres are currently closed. I normally tour a lot and currently I am at home a lot more than I usually would be.This has provided me with more time to focus on my solo arts practice.

I have also taken this as an opportunity to explore and develop concepts and skills in my lighting practice which I am looking forward to testing out in the future.This period has really been about slowing down, which has provided beneficial reflection time, both on a personal level and more broadly within the industry. It has been a time to have some in depth conversations about new work but also about how we want our sector to function in the future.

How are you coping or responding at this time?

I am trying to embrace this time as a way to lean into and reflect on my practice. I am also using this time to do things I have wanted to do but have never had time to before.

I am lucky that I live with my partner; their companionship over this time, having someone to talk to about what is happening, has been helpful.

The most challenging aspect is adapting to a constantly shifting situation; this can make it difficult to plan for the future. The best way I have found to deal with this is to be adaptable with my projects and try as best as possible to mentally prepare for the possibility of change.

Do you envisage new creative sector opportunities emerging from this crisis?

I think this will change the nature of collaborative relationships within live performance. I have participated in a number of online creative developments over the past few months and they have been much more collaborative than pre-COVID times.

Often there is a time pressure in live performance to get a work up and ready for an audience and this can mean that as a lighting designer you get left out of initial conceptual conversations. With the current restrictions, there is a freedom to spend more time conceptualising and this has led to more open collaborative relationships between departments from the beginning of a work.

This new way of working is inspiring a reimagining of the collaborative relationships that break down traditional theatrical hierarchies and can lead to some exciting projects in the future.

How has your recent Sustaining Creative Workers grant supported your practice?

This grant has given me the opportunity to learn new skills that I can use across both my lighting design and art practices.

I have been undertaking online training in Adobe Photoshop, After Effects and Illustrator, and creating animations.

I have also been exploring how projection can be used as a lighting element within live performance and have used this time to learn the software and build a library of animations that could have a possible practical application in the future.

It has given me the freedom to play with new ideas and test them out in my studio. This training has been incredibly valuable to my development as an artist, it has taught me how to realise ideas and has inspired new ideas I didn’t know were possible.

In three words, offer your fellow creatives some encouragement or advice.

Recuperate. Reflect. Adapt.

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