“The vulnerability and transparency that happens in this call is a great way to feel connected to other creatives going through the same struggles right now.”
—Morgan Clark, AIGA Arizona Design for Good Director
One of the benefits of our national organization is that we can easily connect with our local chapters. Because events have changed into virtual events, our local chapters have become a national resource. Our local AIGA AZ’s Design for Good (D4G) Director, Morgan Clark, has been joining the Portland AIGA chapter as they host “Creative Connections,” a weekly Zoom call. This session is designed to be a safe space for creatives to vent, celebrate and share while getting some virtual face time.
When I entered a call recently, there were a handful of women participating. Since the group was so small–six people–we were all able to speak and share what we like to call our “quarantine cookie”: a positive moment, followed by a stress or worry, sandwiched between another positive moment).
Everyone touched on their mental health, ranging from the stress of losing a job/client to celebrating new medication that was helping anxiety during these tumultuous times. It was a topic everyone could empathize with. But the best part was hearing about the moments people are celebrating. There was discussion of seeing children more, or getting a much needed (albeit forced) vacation, and just revisiting hobbies.
The call was also great because there was small talk (and I’ll be the first to admit that spending five weeks in quarantine has made me forget how to partake in small talk).
Being a weekly event, I’ll definitely be there this Thursday. And I think it could benefit a lot of our members here in Arizona, too. The vulnerability and transparency that happens in this call is a great way to feel connected to other creatives going through the same struggles right now.
Design for Good breakout most attended at Town Hall meeting
Our breakout session at the annual AIGA AZ Town Hall on May 20 had considerable attendance. Design for Good is foremost in many peoples’ minds right now, especially the drive to be involved in Design for Democracy. Our participants represented a wealth of experience we can draw on for our efforts: from leading meditation, reading to the blind, to serving on boards, working in nonprofit organizations, organizing past Create-a-Thon events, and even being a former Design for Good Director.
We brainstormed about how we can create nurturing spaces through community events such as a virtual group meditation with sound therapy and sketchbooks. The 432 Hz channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-9T184mpY4) is a specific frequency that helps a lot of people feel at peace. Our Create-A-Thon event could feature a playlist with these meditative audio tracks.
Our conversations also revealed many concerns we are having at this incredible moment in history. One participant is very interested in how to get messaging out to address the rise of domestic abuse during these lockdown conditions. Throughout our talks we realize we really need to collaborate with the Diversity & Inclusion team and perhaps merge our event planning.
We loved the virtual format for connecting and being able to reference notes and grab information instantly for collaborating. However, the best thing by far was that we felt there were so many more people we usually don’t get to hear from. The feedback and criticism were flowing freely and we were really grateful for this experience.
Morgan Clark, Design for Good
Contact Morgan firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how to get involved with Design for Good initiatives such as the Create-A-Thon or Design for Democracy.
Below are some thoughts surrounding our mental health as creative professionals.
Arizona State University’s Mindfulness Center is hosting virtual meditation practice daily at noon:
From AIGA Design Educators:
“If somewhere between all the Zoom calls, grading, recorded lectures, and home life, we find ourselves stressed and anxious, the Design Educators Community wants you to know that you are not in this alone. You have a community.”
Some good reads from AIGA Eye on Design’s collection of posts on Design + Mental Health:
The links between creativity and depression
“The chicken-and-egg relationship between creativity and depression make simple conclusions impossible.”
A thoughtful designer creates animated gifs to address mental health stigma
“The GIFs are poetic in places, dream-like in others, yet essentially specific visual descriptors.”
Beware of the “tortured artist” cliché
“Mental health is serious, ugly, and deadly—yet we’re seeing it co-opted by brands and agencies alike”
“…we have to be even more conscientious about discussing it in a way that’s productive, inclusive, and sensitive to the horrible but occasionally rather brilliant nuances of it all.”