Temp Check: We grab a cuppa with Aberdeen creative and podcaster Ica Headlam

2020 has been harder for Ica Headlam than most…but has also seen him make the push from podcaster to campaigner. Originally from London, but settled in the the city for more than 15 years, his show Creative Me Podcast has shone a spotlight on the work of many of Aberdeen’s artists, musicians and creative businesses, putting him at the centre of a renaissance of our creative scene. This year he launched We Are Here Scotland, a platform to help lift up the voices of artistic people of colour throughout Scotland.

With so much going on in his life, we thought it was time to catch up with him and find out how he’s doing.

Photo Credit: Chris Henderson

Hey Ica. Thanks for taking some time out to be probed by our questions. Traditionally we start with a question that’s easy to ask, but not always easy to answer honestly…how are you doing right now?

I’m doing good thanks 2020 has been one of those years where I’m sure we all just can’t wait to get to the finish line and hope better things in the new year.

2020 has been a rough year for many people, but you more than most. Tell us a little about what has been going on in your bubble.

Well as you know I unfortunately caught Corona Virus in late April this year which resulted in me needing to be treated at ARI for five days. It’s been a long road to recovery in terms of living with Long Covid health issues and Chest X-Rays as I developed pneumonia scarring on my lungs. But in comparison to my health earlier this year I am doing much better and returned back to work in mid-October.

Creative Me Podcast has been on the go for 3 years now. What made you decide to start podcasting?

Being a huge fan and supporter of podcasts for a long time I just really wanted to document in my own way what was happening in the place I call home. My particular interest is very much rooted in art, creativity, and community engagement. It’s crazy to think how quickly three years has gone by, but it’s something that I’m very passionate about having conversations with people in North Est of Scotland who love what they do

I’m maybe opening myself up for a hiding here, but what do you think makes a great interview?

In my experience a great interview happens when the guest is put at ease and they are comfortable with opening up about who they are as a person and why they do what they do. I take a very simple approach with my conversations. I treat it like I’m just catching up with someone over a cuppa and having a respectful conversation that hopefully doesn’t come across as one sided.

[pours cuppa]

So tell us what have been your biggest frustrations in recent times?

If I’m honest there have been stages when I would question as to whether the podcast was resonating with the target audiences i.e artists and creatives in the North East of Scotland and beyond. But time has shown that when you keep being consistent with what you’re doing good things will come back to you and people will recognise your hard work in one way or another.

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Photo Credit: Ica Headlam

How important is community to you?

It’s very important to me, communities get things done, put on events, showcases, or exhibitions. Community is something that I have seen a lot of in previously and especially this year during the pandemic small local businesses across various industries amplifying each other’s voices.

You’ve recently started a campaign to support and amplify the voices of people of colour in Scotland. How do you hope to help shine a beacon on these voices?

I hope We Are Here Scotland can exist beyond an online platform for championing people of colours within Scotland’s creative industries. This is why the platform is registered as a Community Interest Company. I also set up the We Are Here Scotland Creators Fund which is a GoFundMe campaign established to provide practical support for creatives who may require financial assistance for new equipment, exhibitions, residencies, or collaborate projects.

You (like me) seem to collect side projects. What do you think that says about you?

I think it tells me that I like to keep myself busy and my brain is always ticking over with ideas or thinking about what’s next. I think I’ve always had an inquisitive mind set too, so I also want to find out ways of doing things or how it’s done especially when it’s something I’m very interested in.

Who inspires you?

This is a hard question as I can’t say just once person. But for me I get inspired by people who step out of their comfort zones and follow through with ideas that they are passionate about. It takes a lot of courage and nerve to put yourself out there and remain consistent with it. There are so many people I know who have done this and that inspires me to keep doing what I do.

Have you been changed by 2020?

Oh for sure man not just physically since having Covid but also within my mindset. Like I love everything that I do but I also very much value the time I have with my wife Beth and our daughter Izzy hence why podcasting or meetings for We Are Here doesn’t take place on weekends or when I’m on holiday. When I was unwell in hospital I honestly thought I wasn’t going to get through this and that very much changes your outlook on life in terms of health, who you are as a person and how you want to live your life moving forward.

Thanks again to Ica to take some time out of his busy schedule to have a chat. I you’d like to know a little bit more, you can go read about (and donate to) the We Are Here Scotland Creators Fund. The Creative Me Podcast has recently done a series of episodes with North Lands Creatives interviewing artisans about their relationship with glass.

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Photographer, curator and nerd.

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