One of the more difficult aspects to starting work at ROAR, was getting my head round their complex role as an organisation. I remember asking Matt on my first day “what is it you do?”; there was a sequence of umming and ahhing before he realised he couldn’t easily summarise it.
After working here a month I can now understand why this was such a difficult question to answer. Similar to a lot of arts organisations and really, a lot of jobs in the creative sector, people are very rarely one thing anymore. ROAR’s function and role within Rotherham is wide ranging, as are the jobs of the key members of staff here.
In a similar way my position (officially “admin assistant”) is also quite varied and I find answering the question “what is it you do?” increasingly difficult. Really, I do the little bits and bobs round the office that are usually the last things on everyone else’s “to do” list, or tasks where I can take more time over, like sending out a weekly email to our members. I have also used my journalistic background to help with the communications side of things.
However, I have also been given the opportunity to get involved with different, out-of-office projects. One of the most enjoyable afternoons I have had since starting here was spent taking part in an event at Sheffield Hallam University: ”All Our Brains: A Sense of Dementia”.
The afternoon ran as a series of lectures surrounding the disease by those who have been professionally and, in the majority of cases, personally affected by it. Focusing on how the arts have aided projects and understandings around dementia, the hope was that attendees would feel inspired to contribute to an art exhibition being assembled later this year by the organisers.
Having had a grandmother suffer with the illness and having dedicated a section of my art A-level producing work to try to try and deal with it, the afternoon, although emotionally intense, was very engaging and rewarding.
Over the last couple of weeks, the faces here at ROAR have become more familiar and what has also become apparent to me is what I feel is the root of the organisation.
I consider myself artistic in the sense that I make sense of the world by creating things and expressing myself, usually with the written word, but also with music and visual art. Through working here I am beginning to realise how important it is to have a space which you can work in, a space where other people understand this creativity, and can help you flourish.
In this sense I have met a number of people here who have expressed to me how important ROAR is to them on a personal level; one described how it is what keeps him in Rotherham, another described how coming in “never feels like a chore”. My space was the art rooms at school and the teachers who supported me, for many it is the space and the people here at ROAR.