CMedi People: Audrey Barnes

The night before our next exciting CreativeMornings Edinburgh event, brings us to our next CMedi People blog post where we introduce a member of our community to you all online.

Now, do you remember the amazing blog posts that have been coming out about our CreativeMornings events in the last few months from someone called Audrey? If not, we highly recommend that you take a read here. Well tonight we’re excited to be able to introduce you all virtually to the incredible woman behind the blog, Audrey Barnes. 

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Photograph of Audrey Barnes by Ellie Morag

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I’m originally from the US, and have lived in Scotland since 1993. People tend to know me by my tattoos and mixed-up, Scottish-American accent! I’m currently a student, studying Intercultural Business Communication, but my passions are broad and multifaceted. I guess you could call me a Jack/Jane of all trades!  

What made you decide to come along to our CreativeMornings Edinburgh event last month?

After attending my first CreativeMornings Edinburgh event in August, I saw how it’s created a space for talented and passionate artists/creative thinkers from diverse industries and specialities to meet, collaborate, and inspire each other. It’s a pleasure to even just bear witness too, so I couldn’t not come along to each following event. It is probably also why I started writing about the events – I was excited to share the atmosphere with others.

How did you find out about CreativeMornings?

I was studying for a semester in the States, and feeling a little homesick for Scotland, so started looking up events and opportunities to get involved in once I returned to Edinburgh.  I stumbled across the CreativeMornings Edinburgh instagram as a result, just as the #CMEquality event was being talked about on social media, back in July. The guest that month was Kara Brown from The Young Women’s Movement - the chatter online about the talk really drew me to want to come along – to share in the experience.

What’s your usual morning routine?

Coffee, breakfast, reading, and writing. The coffee and breakfast are a must, especially since my days tend to be busy. The reading and writing varies, between researching for writing projects, actually working on writing projects, or just going through books or saved articles off and online. Even if I have to wake up early to guarantee time for that routine, I will do it.

What did you like best about our September event?

Alyson Thomson, the speaker at the event, was just fantastic. The topic of Dignity in Dying is a difficult one for many, but she has an amazing way of communicating which facilitates both rational objectivity and whole-hearted compassion, simultaneously. Then to be surrounded by creative individuals, ready and willing to engage with each other and the guest speaker, it’s a very positive atmosphere to be a part of. There’s talent, community, collaboration, and the sense that folks are coming up with creative ideas all around you.  

What is your creative calling?

I’m still figuring that one out in all honesty. 10 years ago, I was in aerospace engineering, whilst also working in arts and music scenes, then found out I had potential in business and communication… I’m still passionate about each of these things, and so much in between.    

What or who inspires you?

My answer to this hasn’t changed much over the years, and I suppose it’s a cliché, but it’s true. My Mom is my inspiration. She worked hard as a single mother, in a new country, and now has a successful medical practice where she pours her heart into looking after others. As a result, it’s people who use their skills, talent, time, and energy to create things which are socially conscious that inspire me.  

Can you list a few of your favourite creative resources?

Absolutely!

Firstly, I love to read, especially books written from diverse international perspectives and genres. It not only changes, but broadens your view of the world, and makes your brain fit for innovation. Some that I have read recently:

  • Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World – Haruki Murikami 
  • Reservation Blues – Sherman Alexie 
  • No Mākou ka Mana: Liberating the Nation – Kamanamaikalani Beamer
  • Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who do the Most with the Least – Jessica Jackley
  • The Book of Phoenix – Nnedi Okorafor
  • Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek – Manu Saadia 
  • Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard – Chip Heath
  • The Sympathizer – Viet Thanh Nguyen

There are some creative folks who I like to follow, too:

Seth Godin: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ - He’s an incredibly creative thinker, writer, business person, and carer of people. I can’t even keep up with how many books he’s written, as well as his daily blog posts. He was even involved in CreativeMornings New York, and the CreativeMornings Podcast.

Sarah Muirhead: http://cargocollective.com/sarahmuirhead/ - I’m so lucky to be able to call her a friend, which may make you think I’m biased, until you see her art. Not only is she a stunning artist, but she’s a wonderful human. Her words, as well as her paintings/drawings, will inspire.

Steven Paul Judd: http://www.stevenpauljuddart.com/ - He’s a Kiowa and Choctaw artist, writer, and all-round creative. Connect with any of the art he produces and you’ll struggle to stay in a fixed or un-inspired mindset.

Creative sites/newsletters:

The Literary Hub team’s newsletter: http://lithub.com/ - It’s a create resource for articles and recommendations, all of which will expand your thinking… and reading list.

Brain Pickings: https://www.brainpickings.org/ - Their articles focus on all things which stimulate creative thinking, from artists and musicians, to great philosophers and writers. I look forward to each and every instalment.

What do you do to take care of your creative soul?

There are so many ways that I try and take care of my creative soul, from listening to music and reading whenever possible, to cultivating a positive online environment e.g. Following inspirational people on social media, and writing a blog which shines a light on the good work of people I meet. However, the main thing that works for me has been to go out and have conversations with conscientious, creative people. It’s not always easy, but a keen focus on active listening and encouraging others can leave you feeling motivated at the end of each day.  

A huge thank you goes to Audrey for taking the time to share more about herself with the rest of our wonderful CreativeMornings Edinburgh community. Don’t forget to say hi if you spot her at tomorrow’s event!