I’ve been thinking a lot about self-censorship recently. And about how, in my day to day life, I withhold things I’d usually share, say or do - due to professionalism.
I first started thinking about it at the Theatre Fest West Symposium this year and it’s kept on popping up for me - be that in conversations, at other events, at home alone at my computer or even today when Kate McStraw led a session on self care as part of The Early Career Producer's & Curator's Network led by The Arts Development Company as part of the Culture+ Programme. (I will be posting a separate article about the Network soon)
Within the Creative Sector there never seems to be an off switch for work - anyone you meet is a potential client. We’re surrounded by potential colleagues, clients and employers both in the physical realm and on our social media platforms - our Twitter, our Facebook, our Instagram etc.
As a freelancer you are your own business. People judge you as you are your business. There’s no outlet without potential repercussion. We’re constantly thinking (at least I am) “Will I lose face or respect if I overshare something? or tell the world how I’m really feeling?”
Anything we say or do is being monitored by our potential customers, colleagues and collaborators. Just today, one of the Early Career Producers mentioned they felt that they couldn’t express their own road rage in the comfort of their own car as someone who know’s them through their professional life might see them.
Why aren’t we permitted emotion? And why is emotion unprofessional?
And does all this self censorship lead to poor mental health / self care?
These are questions that have really stood with me since the Theatre Fest West Symposium I attended in February and have bubbled to the surface again today. I have really begun to notice how often I self-censor and have begun to ask myself whether I am inhibiting myself from working to the best of my abilities by allowing the structures we have built around professionalism to censor me and hold me back.
The Symposium led by Salisbury Playhouse, Take Art, Activate and Theatre Bristol opened a new chapter for me - it made me realise the possible and constant risk we put ourselves in as creatives to make work (and to make work happen). It also bolstered me up with some great ideas and structures that I can go ahead an implicate in my own practice. What was great about this Symposium was that it ended with all the delegates in one room together brainstorming on how we could work together to create a more secure, accessible and supportive environment for creatives. Find out more about the Symposium here.
Thanks for reading,
I’ll be back soon.