Your Survival Base

Creativity is...your survival base

It’s the final week of Bea and Jill’s creative takeover! Throughout November we’ve made faceless self portraits, developed characters from different worlds and explored our favourite places. For their last prompt of the month, they invite us to explore what environment makes us feel at home.

"We are Bea and Jill, a creative duo who work together as one artist. Bea (they/them) is an autistic young person. Jill (she/her) is their mum and carer. Our creative practice explores identity and community. We like to play games, tell stories and help others to do so too, especially those whose voice is unheard, presumed or overlooked.”

Bea and Jill's weekly creative prompts are inspired by their most recent project Pillow Palace, a virtual art exhibition, built in Minecraft, for and by autistic young people. Scroll to the bottom of this email to read more about Pillow Palace!

“A couple of our Pillow Palace artists chose to use Minecraft in a more traditional way and recreate their optimum ‘survival base’ with food, water, shelter and tools. As well as the resources they needed to survive, their exhibits included the things that they needed to feel safe and happy.

When you come home from a difficult day at school, a long day at work, or an otherwise exhausting activity or event, your surroundings might not necessarily feel like home yet. What builds your survival base, from the foundation to the roof? If your most basic needs are all met, what are your other survival needs? Things that you cannot live without."



Listen to the creative prompt below

Find the things that make you feel content and at home in yourself. They could be anything - objects, actions, events, people, places or pets. 

What do you need to do to ground yourself?
What do you need to feel safe?
What creates your contentedness?
Are your survival needs physical?
Do you need to surround yourself with safety, or does your process start from within?
Are you moving and doing things to create that sense of comfort, or are you sheltering and withdrawing yourself?
Is it a short sequence that you can turn into a simple to-do list, or is it a lengthy process that consumes lots of time?

Create a record or archive of these important things for yourself: the objects, activities and ideas that allow you to just be you, in total joy and comfort. You could write about them, draw them, use whatever medium you would like to.

This is an opportunity to create something ready to share with your future self so that the next time you come home tired or fraught, those things are ready and accessible for you with less effort or thought.

Whatever your outcome is, you don’t have to share this with anyone but yourself.


This final creative prompt is about acknowledging your rest and recovery as a part of a creative process. It can be done exclusively digitally or analogue, or a mixture of the two. Find your special things, whether they are virtual or physical. They can be whatever you want and need.
For Bea…flopping in bed with internet access, some music and a cosy blanket is enough for them to feel content in their body. But their survival isn’t really about relaxation at all, it’s actually about exploring the world at arms-length. Even though they are always tired, their brain is constantly whirring. They engage with the world from their bedroom - a place of minimised duress and energy expenditure - travelling via their computer screen is their preferred medium of exploration.
For Jill…survival is going for epic long walks by herself, watching the world go by, spotting little details, anywhere from loud urban streets to windy hilltops, as she calls it: “stomping”. She needs to move to feel at home in her body so when it’s not possible to go outside, she also loves dancing to loud music.
Together…we love to spend time in our Minecraft world. For both of us, Minecraft has been an incredibly healing and valuable activity. We spent six months building a whole city together! Whenever we can find the free time, we snuggle up and log into our survival world.”


Pillow Palace is not simply a place to do and view, it's an opportunity to completely immerse yourself in being your authentic self.

This creative prompt is very much about thinking as well as doing. We are inviting you to take time to engage in your native state of comfort as you: you are a visitor, exhibit and exhibitor to and for yourself. You might need to experiment and try this a few times to be able to give yourself permission to do this.

It's not a self-care reminder; it's an opportunity to be.

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