Ria Hartley



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Ria Hartley

1/4 Coda children of domestic abuse and Ecologies of Care

Ria Hartley is a double award grantee of Future's Venture, initially being funded to develop her Coda work around domestic abuse and impact on young people and then to develop her Ecologies of Care Programme and Toolkit.

1/4 Coda children of domestic abuse

“100 children drink water from the same well. 98 children become ill, the doctor prescribes medicine for each child. The children continue to go to the doctor with the same symptoms, and take the same medicines over the course of their lives. Why has no one questioned what is wrong with the water in the well?” (Dr Nadine Burke Harris, Centre for Youth Wellness)

8 million people in the UK (24.4% of people between the ages of 16 and 59) have been victims of domestic violence and abuse and 25% of young people have witnessed at least one episode of domestic violence and abuse by the age of 18 (Early Intervention Foundation, 2014) These statistics are proportionally high in the UK alone, but childhood adversity is a global issue, and is now being understood as a public health crisis in the USA. In a time of austerity where resources to support intervention, prevention and healing are rapidly disappearing through financial cuts, what are the consequences for our society's future if we do not create healthy, safe and sustainable environments for the development of children?

1/4 CODA is a creative artistic research & development enquiry led by Ria Hartley & Rudy Loewe, exploring the current political, social and cultural debates surrounding domestic violence in the UK. Through dialogues with ACE specialists, healthcare workers, researchers, DV services, front line workers, youth boards, survivors and activists, we endeavour to disseminate our findings through visual form & direct action.

Ecologies of Care

“remember,

you were a writer

before

you ever

put

pen to paper.

just because you were not writing

externally.

does not mean you were not writing

internally.”

― Nayyirah Waheed

I began writing in my own style from around the age of ten. My writing included sketches, marks, diagrams and collages. I wrote as a form of survival, a way to make sense of the chaos around me, and to explore my ideas and express myself, but I kept my writing secret & hidden. I was afraid that my writing might get people into trouble, or perhaps break up my family. I was afraid of my ideas and imagination, that they were too queer, that I would be punished or humiliated if anyone were to read them. So I never shared my work and I never spoke my truth, until I found a voice through my arts practice many years later.

In 2005 I was diagnosed as severely dyslexic and in 2017 I was diagnosed with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These nuerodiversities have an impact on my Mental Health, and vice versa. One of the challenges of dyslexia is the time and energy it takes to process written & verbal information, analyse and understand it, and then respond with understanding & clarity and having ADHD means it can be very hard to gain the focus & concentration needed to produce my ideas, thinking, concepts, reflections, stories and poetics in written form.

I have always been a writer but never had the chance to develop my writing and in particular develop the ways in which I write as a neurodiverse person. I excel when I have the space & freedom to create – when I narrow myself my creativity declines rapidly. I have been working in the arts & cultural sector for many years, trying to achieve my work through a neurotypical frame, and this has had an adverse effect on my health, wellbeing and practice overall. Moving forward, I am exploring the gifts and abilities my neurodiversity offers, and how I can thrive through creating in the ways that best suit me and not the industry I work within. The Radical Independent Artist fund is enabling me to spend two days a week to explore and develop my neurodiverse writing practice, lending me the creative freedom necessary to excel in this area of my practice.