Now, more than ever before, we are questioning the value of creativity in our world. It has raised it’s forever present head in many ways during these weird and challenging few months.
Lockdown and for many, furlough has made us immerse ourselves in a creative hobby or practice. Everything from baking, to sewing, to painting or gardening projects. Whilst some people seem to have been busier than ever during lockdown, others seem to have needed something new and creative to “fill their time”.
Having to work from home has necessitated a creative response from many as we have been forced to adapt our home environment, find ways to communicate and adapt our work. For many this has meant a make-shift work station in the house or perhaps a huddle of laptops around the kitchen table.
Creativity in large dollops has been needed to adapt services and businesses at this time. Whether you work in the NHS or a food provision industry or something else, we have had to:
• Get things functioning and off the ground quickly and deftly, warts and all
• Give things a go and see what happens – improvisation
• Adapt as we go along and understand that the “rules” change daily – there is little room for perfectionism or procrastination
• Dump what doesn’t work and go with what does
• Hold back other ideas for later, as they become needed
• Strip things back to essentials – the minimal, viable product if you like
• Let go of things that do not seem as important as they used to
All of these are clear indicators of a creative, adaptive response, which is so crucial right now. (Some of the best TV of lockdown has been rough and ready, made on the spot – did you see “Staged” a video call based drama or “Grayson’s Art Club”?)
So, does that mean that creativity is essential right now? Because that seems to be something society is pondering right now – the notion of “essential” and therefore, what’s not essential. Are you an essential worker: health, food provision, bin man, electricity worker etc? OK so what’s not essential then? The artists, actors, crafters, theatres, cinemas etc. Hmmmmm…
As schools grapple with delivering their usual curriculum, they are making decisions about what subjects are essential and what to focus on. Is maths more essential to study than religious studies? It is more essential to keep studying maths so you can calculate the area of a pizza using pi and be able to do simultaneous equations going forward in life, rather than understand our multi-cultural landscape and relationships? (BTW many schools are dumping Religious Studies as it’s not essential). Shall we cancel creative subjects, because they are not essential and are difficult to deliver online (paint doesn’t go well on Zoom) and clearly creativity is not needed in society right now or in our younger generations?
My point is that creativity is essential and needed more now than ever before. Creativity loves a challenge and it loves restriction and the need for adaptation. Let’s learn how to embrace creativity and support it eh?
If you are a coach, therapist or facilitator, do take a look at my lockdown project: “Creativity for Coaches” the online course.