I started a thing. Again.
On 10th June, I did a soft launch of my new creatives and community website. Creatives Around Us is a community, a platform for creatives and community managers who have unique stories to tell. In a world filled with distrust and doubt, I want these stories to inspire a world of change, positivity and hope.
Creatives Around Us and The Community Managers have been around since 2018. I started sharing stories of creatives and community managers on Instagram, but I wasn’t sure of the direction I wanted them to take. I felt like the social platforms were moving me, so I decided to pause until I understood where I wanted them to go.
Social media can get suffocating. I know this because I’ve logged out of my socials and even deactivated my Twitter on many occasions. These stories feature on social timelines, but they can get lost and exhausting with the numbers of updates, terrifying news, and promoted posts you have to deal with on the timeline.
I want to create a space that inspires people to be, to love, and to feel good things.
A community manager is a leader of a tribe who inspires changes within their community. In this context, a community does not have to be a large gathering of people. It can be inspiring change within two or more people or consistently doing good work wherever one finds oneself. I had fun chatting with Sheila, who is doing amazing things in her community. Sheila is amazing. I know this because she is my friend. I think that this is also what endears her to her tribe, the knowing that she would never desert them. Sheila would rather have you call her an ordinary leader of tribes, and that, I believe, is the whole point of what I want people to see. The stories I feature are of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Sheila didn’t think she deserved the title of ‘sophisticated, intelligent,’ but I said to her, ‘Sheila, this is my intro, this is where I write what I know about you. You get to say your part, and I’ve included those. Allow me to write mine.’
It’s amazing. This whole process is exciting for me. I also got to tell the story of Tunde Onakoya, who is inspiring his community by teaching vulnerable kids to play chess. One thing that stood out to me in Tunde’s story is that he is not just teaching his kids chess, but he is also proudly telling their individual stories. The way he told the story of Ferdinand inspired me. They had a recent tournament where Tunde and his team made suits for the kids who took part in the competition. He wrote that the reason he made the outfits for them was ‘to tell a new narrative of children in the slums that is not just one of poverty, but an image of what is possible if they are given equal opportunities to excel.’
Sheila said, ‘Life is possible with communities: intentional communities that have a common goal to explore life genuinely.’ When you read their stories, you feel so inspired; in reading these stories, you can tell that they have a genuine intention to care for these communities.
Creatives Around Us celebrates creativity. I shared the story of Hanan, a student of Architecture who makes notebook covers, bookmarks, keyholders, and sketchpads from a place of prayers and dreams. I think Hanan is incredibly talented. Her designs are brilliant, and she has a story to tell. She said to me, ‘I started with notebooks to make my audience understand the value of writing things down, it really goes a long way. I want to let people know it starts with a book filled with dreams.’
Segun Akano uses screws to make art. One thing about Segun is that he studied Analytical Chemistry at university. I wonder if he ever knew he would make art while at school. I forgot to ask him this.
Asides from being an artist who makes art from mixed media, Dare Adenuga is also a storyteller who tells the stories of his craft with each creation. You can see them here on his Instagram.
Our stories define who we are. Brené Brown wrote, ‘Maybe stories are just data with a soul.’ We read these stories, and we see struggles, imperfection, passion, and determination. I feel so honoured to share these beautiful stories. The story is in the journey; may we own it.