Zia, our newest member of the team reflects on her first week in post.

I peered up over my lavender iced latte. Straightening my back and looking beyond the rain-streaked window were so many people. Each with their own deeply intricate and complex lives. Just like you and me, they had their own world within them, their own mind mazes with successes and struggles.


This feeling was condensed and coined into the word ‘sonder’ by John Koenig who, in his project, ‘The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows’, comes up with new words for emotions that are currently unlabelled.


My name is Zia, I’m 22 years old and I’ve freshly started my 6-month Kickstart journey with Lancashire Youth Challenge and the Culture Co-op as the Assistant Arts Producer.

In my time here, I am excited to make my mark on our big world. I hope to aid in the creative flow, mental wellbeing, and professional skills of the youth of our future and the shapers of our world.

Creative practices deserve to be accessible to everyone, and no one is exempt from their moving and striking nature. Though we are members of a profit-based society, and we may sometimes find ourselves lead to this notion that the creative sector is only accessible to those who have reached a marketable skillset or are of a specific status, this is not true. There are bounds of fulfilment to be found in the creative industry, and the steppingstones towards that are for everyone to take. Everyone has a story to tell.

Each one of us deserves access to the skillsets needed to succeed in a creative industry, and to communicate via this outlet.

One of my personal creative outlets include drawing human like monsters for fun, as this is a nice way of not feeling pressured to create a ‘realistic’ portrait, and finding beauty in strange things.

I am also an avid believer that everyone deserves equitable access to resources and opportunities for strong mental health and recovery; especially as mental health illnesses and struggles impact every part of our lives, whether professional or personal.

Additionally, everyone deserves equitable access to mental and professional resources and care, regardless of their economic or social background.

Primarily due to personal experiences (especially as a member of the BAME demographic and the LGBT+ community, and someone who has been helped by mental health professionals), I am also a strong believer in the power of representation and emotional intelligence, especially within roles which require cultural understanding, empowerment, and social support. This is increasingly prevalent in the growing social conscious of our society, particularly within the mindset of our younger generation.

I aspire to expand my social and ethical awareness and strive to educate myself on social injustices and the systemic issues within our society. I have watched some documentaries such as ‘The True Cost’ regarding Fast Fashion, ‘Cowspiracy’ regarding the carbon footprint of the agriculture industry, and, more recently, ‘When They See Us’ which is a gritty documentary on the 1989 Central Park Five case (of five young black teenagers aged 14-16 who were sentenced for crimes they did not commit). I also utilise social media to share information and attend local protests.

The necessity for social awareness will be immortal in its need so long as we live in a multicultural society. We are ever rich in the need to be mindful and understanding of different mindsets. Even on a national scale, there are so many people within our society with views and takes on life to share.

Therefore, I have a love for this coined term ‘sonder’, and a willingness to understand others, uplift them, and encourage them to be open to debate and exploring other mindsets and forms of expression, to solidify their own views.

To paraphrase Brad Meltzer, simply being understood and understanding someone else is one of the deepest levels of care and closeness.