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15 Dec 2021

Danielle Foster: What a year!

What a year!

I am not sure I can fully capture how grateful and moved I am by having been a part of this incredible Creative Waikato team this year, but I will attempt it for you.

There were countless moments during this year where I stopped to reflect and realised something in me had changed for the better. Sometimes it was a small increase in my confidence to tackle a new challenge and other times it was a huge mindset shift in how I see myself and the world. The people that make up Creative Waikato played a big role in this.

Dani Foster

I finished my studies in Contemporary Art a year prior to getting this job. I had been struggling to secure full time work teaching when I saw the opportunity arise. I was thrilled at the potential for this role. I knew that it was something special, that this kind of opportunity didn’t come around every day. I also knew I could love this work and this team. I didn’t know how much it could influence who I am, how I view my own art practice and how I approach my work and life.

Since finishing studies I have struggled with burnout in my own creative practice. Getting to hear from my colleagues during workshops and discuss these challenges in the office has really impacted me. It has helped me to recognise burnout, see my creativity in a new light and know ways I can approach my creative life moving forward. This is massive for me! I am hopeful for the future of my creative career because of my Creative Waikato whānau! This is just one example of how the team and experiences here have changed me for the better.

A big part of my role has been helping set up the new Elevate Programme with my fellow CDivas. It has been such a privilege getting to work on such an epic programme that offers so much support for our creative communities. At the heart of this lies a real conviction that although it is difficult to have a creative career, there are ways, there is help, and you can do it! This has been so inspiring to be a part of. It was a privilege to work alongside incredible artists and help them see the value in their work, how they could overcome their obstacles and progress towards their exciting goals.

Dani Foster

The support came from all angles as well. I never had to worry about not having the resources to do my work well, or that systems wouldn’t work. These are the really important parts of a job that can go unnoticed at times when they are great, and really affect your experience when they are not. The team throughout the organisation are so talented, intelligent, and dedicated. This makes for one great place to work.

There is no lack of inspiration at Creative Waikato, whether that is from a creative in the community who is sharing their imaginative practice with you or a member from the team being authentic and sharing their challenges. One huge takeaway for me is that we can give ourselves permission to fully be our creative selves!

For all of these reasons I am incredibly grateful. CDivas and everyone in the Creative Waikato whānau, thank you so much for an epic year!