Meet Poet and New Creative, Tom Stockley

Tom Stockley is an artist, poet, community activist and one of our Round Two New Creatives. As part of the scheme he created an audio piece, The New Wild West, which examines the forgotten history of Knowle West and the local heroes fighting for its future.

We interviewed Tom to shed light on what it’s like being a part of the BBC New Creatives scheme. Keep scrolling to learn more.

How did you get onto the New Creatives programme? 

I’ve been making audio work in different forms for a while so when I saw this programme that had a framework of support and a brief to clarify some of my ideas, both creative and socio-political, it seemed like a good match. I’m glad they thought so too, that doesn’t always happen.

What was the programme like? 

I’m used to either working on my practice freely or delivering fairly short, sharp commissions. So to be working within a fairly long term process of workshopping, shaping ideas and a piece being slowly sculpted from many angles was a good process for me. It felt a bit like school again, although not in a bad way.

What was the mentoring process like? 

My mentor was Bristol-based poet, writer and producer Rob Mitchell. The whole process was super personal. It felt really well matched and it was massively validating to have someone who could offer encouragement, critique and understanding of my process. It was a big job to do, chasing after my neurotic twists and turns over pints and meeting rooms, but they did a good job.

What did you take away from the experience?

I now have a less cavalier attitude towards creating larger scale works and a more realistic idea of the project management and collaborative side of things. I’m trying to maintain that punk spirit which is important to me as an artist, but learn how to dress that up to make work for bigger platforms. Like a trojan horse of socialist-leaning creativity.

Has the New Creatives scheme helped you further your career? 

There’s certainly some buzzwords that help on my creative CV. ‘Audio production for the BBC’ will probably wet some whistles. But it’s also helped me clarify what kind of work I want to make and how I want to make it.

What message would you have for others considering a scheme like this?

Do it! But be very clear about your ideas and values and don’t waver too much. Listen to the advice and the experience of others, but ultimately only you know what you want to say and how you want to say it. You are the artist and contrary to how it might feel, the world needs more of those.

Find out more about Toms work at: www.tomstockley/

Twitter and Instagram: @tstheidiot