Future Fires is a programme that supports young artists to develop a socially-engaged art project in their own community.
Every day this week we are introducing each member of our#FutureFires20 cohort who will be #SupportedByContact for the next 12 months to create a project that will use their artistic skills to make a difference in the community.
My name is Neelam Mahmood. I am 26 years old, and my project focuses on supporting care leavers to share their experiences of the care system through a variety of creative techniques.
The project will initially begin with workshops that care leavers can access as a regular drop-in activity. This will provide a space to discuss and share their ideas, and explore their personal experiences through different creative processes.
These workshops will lead to a final exhibition run by the group. The exhibition will focus on what change they want to see in the current care system. In addition to reaching out to the local community, I will ask care leavers nationwide if they would like to contribute by creating their ideas and sending it via post.
I’m also exploring creating an app or website where care leavers can access the information they need. This will also function as a peer social platform and a creative space to share their work.
If you had to sum up your project in five words, what would they be?
My five words would be: Opportunity to make a change!
What motivated you to start your project?
I was motivated to start the project because I wanted to make a difference using my creative skills.
I am also a care leaver so I can understand some of the struggles and challenges that come from leaving the care system. My own experiences have inspired me to use my artwork as a different kind of platform, as well as wanting to support others finding their ways of expression.
How are you finding the Future Fires programme so far?
I am enjoying Future Fires and appreciate this opportunity. The other participants are lovely and have great projects. The facilitators are always being helpful and teaching us a range of new things.
It has helped my confidence a lot and I can’t wait to continue developing my project with everyone who is involved.
So now it’s onto the big questions…
Favourite place to eat?
My favourite place to eat would be at my parents’ house as they are amazing cooks and always cook enough for me to take home for the week.
What’s your favourite quote/motto?
My favourite quote is: ‘you are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream’ by C.S Lewis
Visit our Future Fires page to learn more about the project as a whole.