Chelmsford Creatives are a group of 15-24 year olds who have worked alongside Chelmsford Museum for the last three years to deliver projects that make arts and culture more accessible and relevant. The COVID-19 lockdown presented a number of challenges for them as a group as they faced difficult circumstances in their personal, professional and academic lives. It also meant pausing the work they’d been doing with the British Science Association on their British Science Festival 2020 programme.
“We started meeting online and we spoke candidly with each other about the effect COVID-19 has had on our lives, families, mental health, jobs and education. We listened, and we supported each other. But at the same time, we recognised that not all young people had this privilege, and decided our focus should be creating a resource that helped other young people feel understood and listened to.
Our friends at the British Science Association put us in contact with Dr Tina Kendall, a researcher of ‘boredom’ media. Most of us were quick to associate negativity with being bored. But through workshops with Tina we reflected on the complexity of boredom in lockdown: creativity, making the most of our free-time, opportunities for self-reflection, pressure of self-improvement, and the reality that maybe boredom is a privilege key-workers might not have had.
And so, over lockdown, we created BOREDOM-19: a zine that features creative reflections on social media, mental health, privilege, and how young people across Essex have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic. We advertised a public call-out for creative pieces of work by other young Essex residents, and were flooded with high-quality submissions from across the county. It was incredibly difficult to narrow down the submissions, and we wish we could have included them all.
It’s been really exciting to see the project manifest itself from discussions over Zoom to a 64-page zine with diverse artwork and experiences. We hope this project helps young people in Essex feel heard. BOREDOM-19 has been distributed widely across Essex, but if you missed getting your hands on a copy you can read the online version at: www.boredomproject.org. “
The Boredom Project was a partnership between Chelmsford Museum, Anglia Ruskin University and the British Science Association.