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Geo Law AKA. Doodle Club

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November 30, 8:30am • Sheffield Institute of Arts • part of a series on Restart

Geo Law AKA. Doodle Club

Geo Law is a freelance illustrator and doodler based in Sheffield and as jet-setter has worked on creative projects for the likes of Facebook, Kiehl’s, Microsoft, Google, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Dunkin’ Donuts and Whole Foods to name a few. 

Geo’s blend of artwork ranges from doodling murals onto walls with Posca paint pens to creating vibrant colourful illustrations of characters and worlds using his iPad Pro all thanks to his love of comic books, cartoons, anime, video games and hip-hop.

As well as freelance work, Geo teaches part-time at Sheffield Hallam University instructing on creative modules for Graphic Design & Illustration as well as Digital Media Production. 

Geo also runs the Doodle Club, a monthly event held in Sheffield where he leads an after work hours drink and drawing evening where special guests are invited to run workshops and the guests take part with doodling on worksheets.

For October’s CreativeMornings Sheffield, the city’s creatives gathered for a sneak peek of a-ten, Neepsend’s new co-working and events space. Not a hub, not an incubator, just a beautiful space for people to work. There’s private offices, a shared space and a promise of a great playlist at all times.

Ahead of the space’s official opening, CreativeMornings has taken over for CM Honesty. To share her story and share some honest truths is Annalisa Toccara. Self-publisher,  social entrepreneur and founder of Our Mel, a leading social enterprise dedicated to exploring cultural identity, Black history and what it means to be a person of colour in Britain today.

“I’ve had to work hard to be the woman I am.”

Annalisa is honest about her battle with mental health issues. She self-published her first book, Lipstick: A Woman’s Best Form Of Defence, to help other women struggling with depression and self-esteem issues. Something Annalisa herself has strived to overcome herself.

As well as writing books to help other women, Annalisa organised Sheffield’s Black Lives Matter march in 2016. A march that stirred up a passion for art, social justice, and cohesion. Passions that soon became Our Mel.

“The motivation behind Our Mel is that representation matters, stories matter and history matters”

With name inspiration coming from melanin, a pigment found in everyone’s skin. And Yorkshire’s favourite term of endearment ‘our’. Our Mel is a social enterprise inspired by Annalisa’s and Gaby’s own journeys of self-love. Our Mel encourages honest conversations about race through events, workshops and one-on-one conversations.

“Some people don’t know how to talk about race, some people shy away from it but Our Mel creates a safe space where people can speak without judgement.”

In November 2016, Annalisa and the other half of Our Mel Gaby held the first Melanin Fest, a celebration of Black History Month which hosts events all year round to showcase talent, discover what it means to be Black and British, explore a rich and vibrant culture and start conversations about race and self-love.  

With Our Mel, Annalisa has appeared on the Naked Podcast, inspired events across the UK, and changed the way people talk about race.

Annalisa began her talk with the words: “I’m fat, I’m black and a woman. But there’s more to me than that.”

And she’s right, there is so much more, too much to mention in this newsletter. Check out @our__mel to discover more.

Words: Molly McGreevy.

Annalisa Toccara is a freelance journalist, marketer and digital strategist specialising in campaigns. Having graduated with honours from The University of Wales, she has a wide range of industry experience (B2B & B2C) in event management, marketing communications and brand identity.

In 2011, she wrote and self-published, her debut book Lipstick: A Woman’s Best Form of Defence and in 2016, she founded a leading social enterprise Our Mel link dedicated to exploring cultural identity, history and talent.

In 2017, she launched Sheffield’s first Black History Month Festival, an annual month-long arts and cultural celebration in October and she has hosted a number of community events. She also became Vice-Chair of the BAMER hub, Sheffield Equality Hub Network.

Annalisa was honoured to receive a Women’s Centenary Award for her services to the community by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield in 2018.

Outside of business, Annalisa is studying an MA International Public and Political Communication scholarship at The University of Sheffield as well as Chartered Marketer status.

She is passionate about equality, inclusion and representation and is fascinated with the link between creative mediums, social cohesion and social justice. When not aspiring to conquer her dreams, she can be found in bed, living her best life, drinking tea and watching Netflix.

This October edition you can find Annalisa at a-ten link the newly re-purposed industrial space at Kelham Island. A chance to drink coffee and hear her story

Annalisa Toccara AKA. Our Mel

October’s theme is HONESTYHonesty is the currency for connection. It’s a gift we give to each other that strengthens bonds and deepens relationships. Honesty is a practice where we start from the heart. Being honest isn’t always easy and being honest all of the time is impractical. Giving honest feedback or sharing our opinions requires sensitivity to the context and meeting others where they are—with kindness and empathy. Honesty is about providing the information that you would want if you were in a similar situation. Another way to look at honesty: it’s a flower born out of the soil of trust, connection, and conversations. The more we nurture conversations that breed trust and forge a connection, the more honesty becomes baked into the way we lead our lives. This month’s global exploration of Honesty was chosen by our Cardiff chapter, and illustrated by James Lewis. Thank you to Mailchimp, Adobe, and WordPress.com for empowering the global creative community.

Annalisa Toccara AKA. Our Mel

Mir Jansen is a visual artist and currently Arts Coordinator for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. She was a founding member of Sheffield’s S1 Artspace, followed by becoming the Programme Manager at Yorkshire Artspace for 14 years. Resuming her own creative practice in 2014.

‘I am interested in why people migrate and how people adapt to new ways of life, cultural changes, different languages. During and after my studies I was particularly interested in the notion of ‘home’- particularly the spaces and boundaries we create within the places we live in. Part of the construction of the idea of home is to create a notion of being at home, a sense of belonging. I moved to the UK in 1987 from The Netherlands where I was born but I often forget that it took time and effort to adapt to a new way of life an language.

My current project, 'At Your Service’, will be exhibited at Yorkshire Artspace, Sheffield from 27th September until 4th November as part of their Ways of Making exhibition programme. I interviewed 11 European employees of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals over the course of 1 year. Each individual talked to me about the place they came from, why they moved to the UK and each person was asked the same 6 questions: What was your reaction to Brexit? What do you miss about the country you moved from? What do you like about Sheffield? What do you like about the NHS? What are your concerns for the future of the NHS? What contribution do you think you make to life in the UK/Sheffield?’

We will be gathering at Yorkshire Artspace where Mir’s current project 'At Your Service’ is being exhibited. She will talk us through the chaos of her subject matter as we are surrounded by the works for our #CMchaos morning. Join us as we kick off our Autumn season.

September’s theme is Chaos

When you think of chaos, you might think of utter confusion, a jumbled mess, destruction, or Slack being down. But previously the word “chaos” had a different meaning. In ancient Greece, writers and thinkers described chaos as more of an abyss, an empty void that existed before life. It wasn’t until the 1600s, when it was adopted by the English language, that it grew undertones of mass confusion or pain. Life, by nature, is chaotic. And the human brain is beautifully designed to turn chaos into order. Whether through storytelling, art, or through the veneer of self-delusions, we’re built to handle the randomness and uncertainty of daily life. When a tornado rips through town, one person may see chaos where another sees a fresh start. So, then, a creative addendum: We are in control of the story we tell ourselves about the events that unfold before us. We can view chaos as a freight train hitting our soul or we can see it as a catalyst for clarity.

Arts Coordinator at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals AKA. Mir JansenThis month’s global exploration of Chaos is presented globally by MailChimp. It was chosen by our Tijuana chapter, and illustrated by ERABOY.

A community is a reflection of what we crave: belonging. Belonging is the heart of human connection. Our hardwiring is to be social creatures, to need one another. We cannot become our best selves without feeling like we belong to a tribe that sees us, respects us, and lifts us up. A sense of belonging can be fostered in many ways: food, music, volunteering, a cause. You can scan a room and see a diversity of backgrounds, ages, and skill sets—yet the common thread is shared desires and aspirations. It’s magnificently profound how simple this connection is, how deeply we all crave it, and how it changes the trajectory of our lives. The work of community is when a person walks into a room with fear and self-doubt, only to leave with a new narrative and a feeling of possibility and hope. We can give that experience to one another. It’s the work of being human. Artist and Arts Programme Manager AKA Mir Jansen. This month’s global exploration of Community was chosen by our Philadelphia chapter, and illustrated by James Olstein 👋 High five to MailChimp, Adobe, and WordPress.com for fueling our global creative community.

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