Contract of Self Care
Luminara Florescu’s Contract of Self Care, avoid burnout and explore sustainable working for artists with physical and mental health disabilities.
If you would rather listen to the text below, an audio version is available here.
I am a disabled artist, curator, and mother based in rural Somerset. In 2020, I co-founded and became Creative Director of HEARTHSTONE Ways CIC, a Somerset based art organisation working with local and national professional artists to demystify contemporary art and present creativity as a form of Wellbeing. During the pandemic, I led a number of online projects based on Creative Wellbeing using techniques such as soundscapes, dream journeying, and mindfulness activities as tools to connect participants to their creativity on a deeper level and gain a sense of wellbeing. As the projects developed, discussions concerning self-care and burn out presented themselves organically for artists and community members taking part.
My own practice examines ideas around Inclusion, Access, and Rest; challenging capitalist constructs of Grind Culture and Over Working through creative activism. In 2021, I received the a-n Artist Bursary Time, Space, Money to create a 'Contract of Self Care’ to support a best practice model for artists who have a social practice, as well as the participating members of the public involved in their projects. The project was motivated by my own experience of burnout during the pandemic and hearing from other artists who were experiencing the same.
The upside of the pandemic was a greater general awareness of the value artists and their creative skills can offer in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the communities they work with. It, therefore, seemed essential to explore ways of working that were sustainable for artists, especially socially engaged artists who may also experience physical and mental health disabilities. My aim was to develop a ‘Contract of Self Care' as a free resource to support artists in avoiding Burnout.
In creating the Contract of Self Care PDF presentation, I wanted to offer a resource that was both visually pleasing, and gentle on the eye and mind; as well as being accessible. The resource is by no means a definitive guide to self care, but rather a selection of prompts and questions that may be useful to consider. Artists may wish to expand on and develop their own Contracts of Self Care – something I wholeheartedly encourage – using this resource merely as a springboard to supporting their own self care
This resource is part of the West of England Visual Arts Alliance (WEVAA), a three year programme that includes professional development, commissioning, and support and resources. Find out more here https://vasw.org.uk/wevaa.