Rest (Is A Political Act) is an ongoing research project by artist Niki Colclough. For our second Future Station event exploring care in the arts, we gathered to consider collective approaches to rest through an online workshop with Niki. The workshop aimed to refresh our thinking towards the act of rest, as one participants reflected “Rest is not radical, but it is radical today”. We asked questions to understand our current relationship to rest:
- ‘What societal structures prohibit us from resting?’
- ‘Can we reframe rest as a creative tool?’
- ‘Could we utilise rest as an ecological act?’.
Following generous discussions detailing personal relationships that both aid and prohibit rest, Niki introduced the 7 types of rest:
PHYSICAL – Is resting your body, as well as sleep it can mean engaging in restorative activities such as exercise or massage.
Indicators: Tired, aches, pains, frequent colds, irritability.
MENTAL – Is giving your brain a break.
Indicators: Insomnia, hard to concentrate, forgetful, hard to shut off thoughts.
SENSORY – The need to give your senses a break, this is needed when we are overstimulated by surroundings or over activity.
Indicators: Feeling overwhelmed, not finishing tasks, feeling anxious, unable to ‘cope’ with everyday situations.
CREATIVE – The need to spend time engaging in activities that inspire us.
Indicators: Loss of motivation, ‘writer’s’ block, procrastination.
EMOTIONAL – The need to be authentic and honest with your feelings.
Indicators: People pleasing, feeling like you have to ‘OK’ when you’re not.
SPIRITUAL – Is about connecting with something larger than yourself.
Indicators: Loss of direction, low self esteem.
SOCIAL – Is pursuing positive, energising and supportive social connections.
Indicators: Feeling isolated, lonely, feeling drained.
Using a tool designed by the artist, we held space for quiet contemplation – where might we need to top our tanks? What small changes could we put in place to enable us to rest more completely?
Finally, we shared practical ideas for bringing more restful moments into our lives, promoting a mental shift away from guilt, with a nudge towards nourishment.
Niki will be hosting more ‘Rest: Is A Political Act’ workshops during 2023. If you are interested in hosting a workshop at your venue or organisation, please get in touch. Over time, Niki will gather a collective strategy for rest in the arts – to follow her work visit www.nikicolclough.com / Instagram : @nikicolclough
If you are interested in reading more about rest, the following links are useful tools :
The Care Manifesto (The Politics of Interdependence)
The Care Collective
Six Ways of Looking at Crip Time