My creative journey, by psychiatrist Katy Mason

My creative journey, by psychiatrist Katy Mason

Deepening Creative Practice participant and mental health practitioner Katy Mason explains how she has brought her creativity to life

Katy Mason on film at Deepening Creative Practice

I have worked in mental health services for many years: I find it emotionally challenging. 

I’ve always been interested in music and books, but perhaps from a more academic standpoint: getting musical grades and reading books I could “learn from”. 

Over time, I found that there was so much more to creativity than I had been taught at a high achieving girls grammar school. 

At a difficult time in my life I was drawn to read a book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, that I had read before – and found the main protagonist was on my journey. At that time, I had been feeling profoundly misunderstood, yet in that author’s creativity, I found something that I had been lacking. 

I went to see a musical, and I felt uplifted, something I had not remembered feeling for a while. 

This was different to practicing scales, and studying the syntax, grammar and structure of creative pieces.

I started to use creativity as a way of enjoying life more

I found some really wonderful connections as I started to explore the arts and that side of myself in a different way. I started to realised that I could use this in my work. Then the Deepening Creative Practice programme came up at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. 

Do we leave creativity to ‘the artists’?

I didn’t consider myself to having any particular creativity talent – this was something I was soon rapidly unpacking and thinking about. 

Do we merely leave creativity to “the artists” or can we find creativity in organisations? 

Can people tolerate being outside of their usual hierarchies? 

We thought about the vulnerability that comes from bringing your own creativity into the work place, and the risks that needed to be taken to do that. Despite a shared interest in the arts, issues of power, privilege and politics arose within the group and had to be worked through. Destruction was rampant and frustrating, but without it, we found the creative processes bland. 

The ticking clock

The ever present ticking clock of our final exhibiting season added a new dynamic, helping us understand our various motives for coming, and gave us material for thinking about our own views on ambition, success and failure. We learned about how much we were prepared to give to the process, and where we were not – and fought through frustrations of our boundaries being different.

Our final exhibiting season

I loved the final exhibiting season, our film Kurat and the associated artworks. It felt like we had finally reached something that reflected us as a group, that we had finally succeeded in bringing our individual fragments together.

Deepening Creative Practice is a learning experience where you can explore your whole self in relation to organisational leadership, consultancy and change. The programme will support you to (re-)awaken, nurture and cherish those aspects of yourself which may be more hidden, to be explored within the work setting. The next programme begins in October 2024.

The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations | Deepening Creative… (tavinstitute.org)

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