Day in the Life: Lydia Rose

An olive skinned woman with dark, curly, brown hair wearing a bright fushia dress sitting on a blue chair outside smiling

Tell us about you. Your work and when you started working in culture, health and wellbeing and how?

I came into this work as an intuitive means of survival. As a queer, neurodivergent woman of colour and a survivor, art has helped me process the traumatic impacts of interpersonal and systemic violence since I began practicing at a very young age. 

During the pandemic, I was a volunteer and service user at a local food bank, which is where I set up Allie’s Art Club; a grassroots community arts co-operative that provides fun and inclusive opportunities for creative expression, collective care and cultural empowerment. 


What are you doing today?

Today I’ve been doing some prep for a community arts fair I’m delivering this Saturday with Allie’s Art Club. The fair will have a market with a range of nature-inspired art, arts and crafts activities, food, DJ sets and a wildly decorated space for local people to gather and celebrate our connection to the natural world. It’s the first event the club is running under our new umbrella project exploring how we can live well together on our shared planet. 

I’ve also been working on a collage for an archive of artwork looking at abolition on the intersection of racial justice and mental health. The collage has the caption “Together We Flourish Within Ecologies of Care”, blooming botanical images and apothecary-style labels for the medicines of mutual aid and transformative justice. Directions for use: Apply every day and spread generously ;)


Is that a typical day for you?

My days vary quite a lot depending on what projects I’m working on! I tend to do a mix of cultural organising, arts facilitation and personal artistic practice, and try to balance providing wholesome, healing and creative spaces for communities and for myself.

Nowadays, I typically spend a lot of time developing the co-operative capacity of Allie’s Art Club, and designing, resourcing and organising our projects and events. I also often travel to different spots in London to facilitate art workshops, which usually focus on supporting participants’ wellbeing through poetry. My personal practice also leans towards poetry, though I love exploring a heap of artistic mediums and topics around holistic health and social and environmental justice. 


What have you been curious about / inspired by lately?

Lately, I’ve been curious about rest as a somatic practice and reclamation of our inherent worth as living beings on Earth, and inspired by Tricia Hersey and Kelsey Blackwell, who have helped me slow down and rethink the way I approach work. 

For many creative health practitioners and activists, particularly those who are BIPOC, over-working and burnout are so common and have detrimental impacts for our wellbeing and the sustainability of our movements. It can be a real struggle to find a felt sense of safety and dignity when many of us are living in financial precarity and dealing with the ongoing trauma of surviving within a deeply unjust society. Whilst our work may be critically under-funded, our capacity to value ourselves beyond our productive output cannot be found at the end of another gruelling work week or grant application. We can rest and embody the pleasurable and dignified lives we deserve now – and that is a radical act of resistance. 


Find out more about Lydia Rose and Allie's Art Club on Twitter and Instagram