Creative Chat ‘n’ Blog – Leanne Moden

Poet and writer Leanne Moden reflects on her podcast chat with interviewer David Johnson and fellow writer Belona Greenwood. As part of a podcast series of 8 regional artists discussing the challenges that they have faced during Lockdown and what they have learnt as a result.

June 2021

Listen to Leanne’s podcast episode here.

When lockdown came into force in March 2020, I lost all my freelance work overnight. As a performance poet, I do a lot of arts and music festivals, and the cancelation of these left a real hole in my calendar. I also run workshops in schools, and I had two large schools projects cancelled because of the pandemic. 

It was certainly a shock to begin with, but as a freelance artist, I’m fairly used to precarious working. Thankfully, since Spring 2020, I’ve been able to work with wonderful organisations like MarketPlace, and be part of innovative projects bringing creativity to communities in the digital space.  

As an educator, I was initially concerned that video conferencing would be complicated and sterile when compared to face-to-face facilitation. Luckily, the fantastic folk at Paper Cranes – the writing collective I run in Nottingham – were supportive and patient while we worked out how to switch to online sessions. Now, I relish the challenge of teaching groups online, and being able to continue to write with our collective has been a real boost to my mental health too! 

I also took the opportunity to do a number of live performances over Zoom, and I’ve really enjoyed ‘visiting’ events across the world. Being able to connect across borders and time zones has enabled collaboration on a scale I certainly never thought possible before!  

Over 2020, I’ve been intensely grateful to those organisations providing creative opportunities for artists and communities to work together. The MarketPlace Creative Conversations project in August 2020 was a wonderful example of this. The collaborative poem we produced is something that I am immensely proud of. 

Writing during a pandemic has been tricky at times, especially when the news seems so consistently overwhelming. But I have learnt how to ‘go with the flow’ a little more, and pounce on inspiration when it strikes. I’ve also learnt some brand-new skills, like video editing and production, which has allowed me to explore new ways of working and flexed my creative muscles. 

It’s been a hard year for the creative sector, but I’m grateful to have learnt new skills, participated in exciting projects and connected with so many lovely people. More importantly, I am grateful to all the key workers in the UK, who have ensured that our hospitals, care homes, supermarkets, post offices, healthcare, education services and other vital facilities continued to run through 2020. 

Thank you all.  

Written by poet, Leanne Moden.

Listen to Leanne’s podcast episode here.

Read about Leanne’s More Than Music project here.