Let Us Pay You To Create: What 1 Bristol Creative Learned About Managing Her Time


Let Us Pay You To Create

Table of Contents

At the beginning of the year, we launched our new scheme LET US PAY YOU TO CREATE, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and Resonance, We were able to pay four Bristol based creatives to make their creative practice their full time gig for a week in February.
All four of our creatives have now completed their projects and we sat down with each of them (virtually of course) to find out more about how their expectations compared with the reality of the project, what did they learn? and what have they gained from being involved?

The second creative we spoke to was Lia Carroll, a multi-disciplinary artist based in Bristol.

lia carroll costume art

Expectations Vs Reality

We started our conversation by discussing Lia’s expectations for the project at the beginning of the week. She told us that she had set her sights really high,
“My main aim was to try and experiment with the materials and techniques. But, having said that, I had this idea that okay yes I’m going to experiment, but I’m also going to make three pieces that will be exhibition ready every day, which is just slightly mad, oh and also set up a website!”
Although Lia had set herself a lot to do, she was happy with what she had achieved by the end of the week.
“The basic idea was to do a series of self portraits, mainly because it’s quite a limited subject. Because I was using quite a lot of different materials, different types of metal leaf and oil sticks and layering materials on top of each other, it was good to have a limited subject. It made me think about the process more. I did three pieces that I’m quite happy with and then quite a lot of sketchbook work too.”

Spending The Materials Budget

Lia was excited to spend her £100 material budget on a set of oil sticks which she told us are “tremendously expensive” “without the bursary I couldn’t have got them, Once you have the set you can kind of go okay well I can afford to replace one or two of them, but five is really pricey, and they’re great to use, they’re basically pure pigments so the color is incredible.”

lia carroll oil stick art

How Lia Learned To Manage Her Time On Let Us Pay You To Create

We wanted to know what the biggest challenge Lia faced whilst on Let Us Pay You To Create was, and she told us that it was regulating her hours, we were very excited to give creatives the opportunity to make their practice their full time gig for a week but Lia told us that that was something that really stretched her brain.
“Some days it was hard to keep going but I think, on the Thursday I worked from like nine in the morning till 1am.
If I’m if I’m not in the mood, then I find it really difficult to make myself do it but if I, if I am if I’m kind of on a roll with something it’s also really difficult to make myself stop.”

Lia Carroll self portraits

How Did Let Us Pay You To Create Compare To A Normal Week?

We wondered how Lia’s week on Let Us Pay You To Create compared to a normal week in her life:
“Well, I work in the arts, which means I have about four different jobs. So it was really nice to have one thing to do in a week. Creating full time when it’s not broken up by having to do bits in between was interesting because I got to see how different that is from a normal week.”
She told us that creating without interruption was a new feeling to get used to:
“Being in that early stage of a project, and it not being broken up by anything else, takes a lot of mental energy when you’re just trying to work things out. You’re doing that for like
eight hours a day, it was full on, but at the same time, it was wonderful, it was really nice just to be making the thing that you should be doing.”

Lia Carroll Multi-Disciplinary art

Lessons Learned

We wanted to know whether there was any aspects of her week that Lia wanted to take forward in her practice, she told us that Let Us Pay You To Create has given her a great insight into how to structure her days.
“It’s so rare for me to be able to have that kind of thing of okay I’ve got a block of time where I’ve got absolutely no other demands.”

A Creative Future

She also talked about how the project has really helped her see where she wants her future as a creative to head. “I think it’s quite difficult to visualise how you’re going to live your life unless you’ve had a taste. So I think just in terms of confidence and being able to go Okay, that’s something that’s actually achievable, it’s been invaluable”
“ I’m not sure I can accurately express how valuable it was, to have the kind of confidence that you get from being successful in this kind of application, and to have a network of people who will support you, is amazing.”- Thanks Lia, we are so glad to have been able to support you and your practice.

Lia Carroll Multi-disciplinary art

What’s next for Lia?

“Well, I’m still setting my website up. So, thats a big job at the moment.” We feel you Lia!
We wish Lia all the best for the future and can’t wait to see what she creates, you can see more of her work here.

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A Statement from the Board of Directors


Like many organisations, PAPER Arts has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. In 2020, on appointment of a highly skilled CEO, we made the bold decision to review our business model and begin a process of research and development in order to shape a new service and to better support creatives in Bristol with professional development, networking and the opportunity to learn new skills.

Throughout the pandemic we have proudly supported creatives in Bristol, with a focus on young people from St Pauls, our Creative Employment programme hosted over 20 sessions and we welcomed 17 young people to feed into our research and development proposal. 

However, the last 18 months have been a huge challenge, while we’ve been able to successfully deliver a plethora of projects since our inception seven years ago, we have been unable to secure the funding necessary to realise our ambitious plans for the future and to provide our organisation with much needed financial stability.

As a result, it is with a heavy heart that the current PAPER Arts team, made up of Grace, Kate, Katy, Lau and Amie will no longer be able to continue in their roles. Our small team has delivered a substantial amount of value to the community we serve and the Board of Directors are endlessly grateful for the skills and professionalism they bring with them each and every day. We are proud to know and work alongside such talented individuals and believe that the arts sector is a better place with them in it. 

The ideas generated by this team are inspiring and hopeful and the Board of Directors wholeheartedly believe in the importance of supporting the creative community in Bristol.

As September ends and the seasons change PAPER Arts will be going into hibernation in order to survive this adversity. Our voluntary Board of Directors will spend the coming months considering the future of PAPER Arts, the role we can play in the arts sector in Bristol and how we can sustainably move forwards. We don’t know what that will look like yet, but as soon as we are able to share more with you we will. 

In the meantime, should you have any questions or concerns or if you would like to speak to someone about the future of PAPER Arts please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] – Kirsten Cree, one of the Board of Directors will be monitoring this inbox. 

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