The Journey Newsletter: Edition 1

The Journey Newsletter: Edition 1

Aug 22, 2023

The Journey

Gaia Redgrave // Rewilding the Artist Newsletter

Edition Number One

Rewilding the Artist // Breaking New Ground

Making the arts more accessible to disabled & neurodivergent artists & visitors through a Culture of Care & the Rewilding process.

Croeso // Welcome to this first newsletter of Rewilding the Artist – Breaking New Ground. 

These newsletters will come to you maybe every month, or every couple of months, to share thoughts, news,  links, resources and opportunities to get involved in Rewilding the Artist – Breaking New Ground. The newsletters will include personal reflections by Gaia on where she’s at and what she’s been thinking about.

Please feel free to share the newsletter with others who may find it interesting, and see the links at the bottom of the newsletter for other ways to be connected to the project.

The Origins of Rewilding the Artist

I spent many years experiencing what it was like to be a neurodivergent artist, and how difficult it was accessing spaces & opportunities. As well as my own lived experience, I witnessed others' difficulties whilst attempting to overcome barriers. I saw first hand how difficult it can be to be a neurodivergent artist.

One of the most important things about Rewilding is that it is a process that encourages and creatively enables the use of your practice for your own wellbeing. It is empowering and can be a tool to enable the removal of barriers to access. In an ideal world, none of us should need to remove the barriers that society has put in place and restricts us. However, we do not live in an ideal world, so rather than waiting for society to change, why should we not do things to empower ourselves, work around the issues that society creates so that we can do the things we choose to do, and ultimately shine a light on the issues we face by subverting issues from the inside. 

During the first iteration of Rewilding, I developed Embodied Weaving. Embodied Weaving is a method of sensory practice that allows me to centre,  process life & manage events that I find difficult as someone who experiences sensory processing difficulties. This in turn became not only my practice but my sensory diet (activities that are carried out everyday by people that are neurodivergent to support physical & mental wellbeing). I no longer had to juggle my time or feel the need to separate myself into different parts. 

As I was testing out how my practice could support my wellbeing, I realised that other aspects of my life were being brought in as well. Rather than my health and wellbeing being one aspect of my life, and my spirituality another, my consultancy work being another aspect, and my practice separate again, everything was coming together as one homogenous thing. It became very holistic. This holistic approach mirrors, in my practice & my connection to the land. The way I work in my practice is that the land and I are the same thing: I am not separate from it, it is not separate from me, we are one. We collaborate and both voices are manifest through this process. 

Rewilding was born out of struggling to get anywhere in the face of so many barriers, and needing to take care of my wellbeing at the same time. So in the first iteration  I was dreaming up and testing new ideas around access. Now, I am creating resources to help other people on this journey,  and to walk alongside them. The Rewilding journey  opens up routes and pathways for people to find their own pathway within the Rewilding structure, it is not a prescribed process.

It’s like a beautiful maze, like the one at Bourton-on-the Water in the Cotswolds, at the centre of which is a building, a magical space with a frog inside. Inside the frog’s  mouth is a pearl, everyone finds their own route to the building, and they find their own personal experience inside.


What is Rewilding the Artist - Breaking New Ground?

The vision of Breaking New Ground is to share Gaia’s Rewilding the Artist process with others, supporting:

  • Artists empowered and thriving using the Rewilding process. Becoming their authentic self.

  • Encouraging non-traditional ways of working and creating enabling access & radical self care.

  • A shift in cultural outlook & attitudinal change that fully embraces and integrates a Culture of Care & Kindness for All, that in turn manifests true equity within the sector.

  • The development of Gaia’s practice in the light of the Rewilding the Artist journey.

What will the project do?

Over the next two years, Rewilding the Artist - Breaking New Ground will:

  • Work within a Culture of Care ethos, the culture Gaia is advocating for within the arts to include accessibility and working environment for everybody. This will include ‘Culture of Cre contracts’ for everybody involved so freelancers and everybody else are valued. 

  • Create and test free & low cost resources for artists & organisations.

  • Mentoring two people through the Rewilding journey who will then be able to walk beside others on their journeys in the future

  • Publish a podcast series in which we will be interviewing people who are already doing innovative work in this field, sharing these solutions to inspire others.

  • The project also supports Gaia to develop a new body of work where she is in collaboration with the land.

Who is involved?

For Rewilding the Artist - Breaking New Ground, Gaia is working with others through:

The Heart Space: the core team delivering and evaluating the project.  Gaia Redgrave – Project Lead; Lisa Hudson - Partner (Utopias Bach); Lindsey Colbourne - Partner (Utopias Bach); Morag Ballantyne - Evaluation; Sam Allen – Project Management

The Circle: freelance members that have specific roles during the project. Rowan Flynn - Media; Steph Shipley - Critical Friend (Utopias Bach); Zen Redgrave – Sound & Access Support

The Tribe:  individuals who support the development and testing of resources. 

How can I keep up to date with the project?

Ultimately, all the resources will be available online. The resources will be released as they come through the project, and you can find out about these and other news (including the Rewilding Podcasts), through this newsletter or on Instagram. 

Personal Reflection by Gaia: “Rewilding the difficulty”

I have been thinking about being  overwhelmed.

Pulling a project together, from getting the funding to really kicking off the work takes a lot more time and is a lot more stressful than you can imagine. There is so much to do putting everything in place as to who is going to pay for what, how things are going to work, how to work together, bringing everyone together, especially in a collaborative project like this. I’ve made a point of being very organized from the start. However that organization quickly becomes quite a quagmire with all the detail that needs to be sorted.

Before the project started, I had also experienced difficulties including some comments suggesting that I shouldn’t be doing this, that I won’t be able to succeed at it. 

But the whole point of Rewilding is finding routes through these things. This aspect is often missed by those who haven’t taken time to understand the process. It is one of the most important foundations of Rewilding. So in true Rewilding fashion it was important for me then to reach out to the circle of people who are supporting me with the project to rewild the difficulty. This is something that every project could benefit from - it doesn’t just pertain to people who are neurodivergent and disabled. We are working together developing a system to best utilise the people in my support circle so that I am freed up to envelop myself in the more creative aspect that particularly pertains to me.

As my practice is my sensory diet & keeps me well, just getting back into the tactile nature of weaving, spinning, feeling the soil or the grass under my feet feeds me. It’s nourishing and ridiculously joyful - autistic joy if you like, to feel a piece of my woven fabric in my fingers and the rhythmic movements of the loom.. 

Because of the difficulties I’ve experienced running up to getting the funding I’m also working on a transitionary work, transmuting the old, to step into the new so I can breathe, and step forward as my authentic self on this next part of the journey.

New Rewilding the Artist Resources

Hybrid Events for Freelance Artists

Hybrid Events for Organisations

Artist Invoice Template

All Rewilding the Artist resources are free or low cost and are downloadable at:

Email: [email protected] 

Instagram: gaiaredgrave & rewildingtheartist_coc

Free & Low Cost Rewilding the Artist Resources:

Hashtags: #RewildingTheArtist #NDLedArts #CultureOfCare #Authenticity

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