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CAN CREATE: Cancer, covid and creativity

Can Create is a new project which explores the link between cancer and creativity which will be highlighted in the Can Create: cancer, covid and creativity exhibition to be held at the Art Place in Chelmsford later this year. The Can Create community is inviting people living with cancer to get involved.

As Can Create explains:

A cancer diagnosis and treatment, whether it’s you or your loved ones, can feel very isolating and can fill your mind with ‘what if’ thoughts. This has been even more true during the lonely months of lockdown when you couldn’t get face to face support from friends or loved ones. The Can Create project is looking for people throughout Essex who translate that mental energy into making things, painting, writing, photography, woodwork, cake, anything really that takes your mind off the unknown and gives you a productive outlet.

Lynda, who is one of those involved in Can Create says:

As a cancer patient myself, I find I am always waiting; for the next results, the next scan..waiting for appointments, waiting to be seen. I was in hospital during the first lockdown. Just lying in a hospital bed, not able to eat, drink and sleep when I chose, relying on the wonderful NHS staff , who themselves were so pushed for time. No visitors, nothing to interrupt the boredom. It was a very passive experience and I watched way too much daytime telly! But I have learned to take a notebook with me a scribble down the things I see, feelings and notes on colour, sound and even how things smell, which have fuelled my creative writing over the course of this strange year’

Can Create is a new project which explores creativity in the face of a cancer diagnosis, particularly over the last year set against the backdrop of the pandemic. We are a group of people with lived cancer experience. We have either had cancer ourselves or have supported someone through cancer.

Working with Macmillan Cancer Support and the community in Essex, we aim to encourage people creatively through cancer and covid.

We are looking for people whose life has been impacted by cancer to take part. All you have to do is send us a photo of what you’ve been making over the last year..whether it’s a piece of writing or a model of a ship, a set of glamourous cushions or a graffiti tag..we want to see all your creations!

The email address is RLoan@macmillan.org.uk and entries for the Can Create: cancer, covid and creativity exhibition must reach us by 21 June 2021.

The first 50 entries get a voucher for £20 for art materials and we will pick some entries to feature in an exhibition at The Art Space in Chelmsford in September!

The Exhibition and workshop 

We will be inviting some of you to display your creation at our Can Create: cancer, covid and creativity exhibition to be held at the Art Place in Chelmsford later this year.

You will also be invited to a creative workshop and the exhibition launch event. Don’t worry, though, all these events will be designed with the latest advice on Covid in mind. We understand that people undergoing cancer treatment may be vulnerable and reluctant to meet face to face in some circumstances.

Art Vouchers

When you send in your pic by email, we will respond asking you to send your address and postcode. If yours is one of the first 50 entries we will post your £20 art materials voucher with details on how to redeem at the Laurence Mathews art shop Southend in-store or online. Your data is always fully protected and your name and picture of your creation will never be used by us without your consent.

Can Create Facebook community 

We have brought together a new creative community for people who have experienced cancer. It is on Facebook and you can find it here  https://www.facebook.com/groups/283735872962229  Full of inspiration, ideas, resources and friendly support. Come and join in and see what others are making!

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