Laura is a community midwife, birth activist, artist, writer and producer. Here she tells us about her experience of taking our online Graphic Narratives course...
My background is in the arts – I trained and worked as a professional artist and academic, before moving into a producing role, setting up and running my own company, Home Live Art - creating arts events and festivals. In a further move, ten years ago I trained as a midwife, and I now work part-time as a community midwife alongside my own creative practice that remains multidisciplinary; writing, visual art and producing.
As a community midwife in London I support women, people who birth and families throughout pregnancy and into the postnatal period. I run clinics and visit people in their own homes. As an artist I write blogs, books and make illustrations to accompany the texts. As a producer, I run two projects; Maternal Journal, which supports people to use creative journalling to support their mental health and wellbeing, and Birth Café, that brings people together to discuss the significance of birth.
Creativity is integral for us all: finding a form for this expression, is a fundamental part of being human. Whether that’s drawing, painting, writing, gardening or cooking, it taps into our souls and helps us understand the world. Through my project Maternal Journal, it has been incredible to see the power of creativity to positively affect mental health and wellbeing, through supporting people to process difficult experiences and bring them together to increase connectivity and confidence.
I decided to do an online course because it's far easier for me to take part. Some weeks I have been on shift all day and I wouldn’t be able to travel and get to the Royal Drawing School on time. The fact that it's online means I can still take part.
I am currently working on an illustrated memoir project, titled Scar Tissue, which charts the many scars on my body, garnered through my life, as a narrative structure. The text is accompanied by illustrations.
The course has really opened up the storytelling aspect of work for me, suggesting new possibilities and ways of working. I’ve started to introduce more techniques such as collage, words and borders into my work. It’s also been great using Zoom and Padlet to work alongside others and see their work and responses to the same prompts and exercises.
The course has shown me how valuable it is to boost my creative work through new techniques and learning. It's been absolutely brilliant – Sarah Lightman is a wonderful tutor.
I'd really like to do more Royal Drawing School courses in future!
You can find out more about Laura's work by visiting her website and Instagram, @godfrey_isaacs.