Sheffield poet using her own passion to empower others at an upcoming art school
Nyara Creative Collective is an up and coming art school seeking to empower individuals through creativity and cultural understanding.
Nyara Creative Collective was set up to create better access to arts and cultural opportunities for black and ethnic minority communities.
Previous activities have taken place at Burngreave Library.
Danae Wellington, one of the co-founders of Nyara, is a keen writer and poet.
She is an advocate for healing through the creative arts and performed at the Tramlines Fringe festival this year.
After her own struggles with mental health, the 26-year-old sought to ‘find her purpose’ and realised she wanted to ‘make a difference’.
“When people feel that they do not have a purpose and also have no support, they struggle,” she said.
She spoke of how she came from a poor background where there was a history of domestic abuse - common features within her culture which contribute to mental health issues.
She also told of how many individuals within the Afro-Caribbean community do not know how to approach mental health or do not want to understand, so they feel there is fear and shame in reaching out for help. She said people are told to just ‘go to church’.
Danae explained that when it comes to mental health, generational differences play a part.
A Sheffielder for 16 years, Danae said: “It’s a calm city. You walk around and people will smile at you. It’s hearty in some respects.”
She believes that services do not reflect the communities living in Sheffield though, especially when it comes to mental health.
Wider services also do not consider learning difficulties, which is something that Danae has discovered as a result of her own experiences being autistic.
This was the inspiration behind starting the multidisciplinary art school.
Danae wanted to create a space for people to go - somewhere that would have cultural understanding for all ages.
She said: “Attitudes are slowly changing but culturally there is still a lack of education.
“Nyara focuses on rehabilitation no matter what the age. It is about bringing families together.
“My goal is to empower individuals using combined methods of creative writing, film and theatre to aid in spiritual, emotional and mental transformation, whilst providing a safe space to stimulate self-expression and reclaiming autonomous power through exploration of one’s story and life experiences.”
The school is currently working more closely with young people to empower and help them discover the power in their stories through poetry and spoken word.
Devising a programme for next year specifically for young people is well needed according to Danae.
In respect of the rising knife crime amongst young people, she said: “We’re being forced to open our eyes and educate ourselves.”
She believes that we can be ‘hopeful’ of change if we start to take control through taking action.
Danae plans to make sure activities reflect exactly what young people need by holding focus groups in schools.
She is also planning to hold an event later in the year to showcase black and ethnic minority films - to remind people of the nuances of culture and to retain the authenticity within it.
For more information on Nyara Creative Collective, see https://www.facebook.com/NyaraCreative/