From Shakespeare to Newton, crisis has often brought incredible creativity to those who experience it. Our Managing Director Susan shares her thoughts on creativity in times of isolation, crisis and sometimes even - boredom.
The effects of Covid19 have made us rethink the importance of many things, one of which is the role creative expression plays in our lives.
Finding a creative outlet has often been seen as ‘something-to-do-when-you-have-the-time’. However, in living memory, there’s not ever been such an urgent need to discover our creative resources to adapt and find meaning..
Throughout history, pandemics have enabled some pretty amazing creations. Shakespeare wrote some of his most acclaimed plays during the plague in the 16th century. Similarly, Sir Isaac Newton reportedly formulated the Theory of Gravity under quarantine in the 17th century. The desire, and indeed, need to express our creativity in this current pandemic has inspired some of us to write a novel, learn Italian or become more fit; for others it is a chance to examine lifestyle choices or watch those dusty box sets and films.
One of the many remarkable things about individuals and communities responding to the stress and persistence of Covid-19 has been the way in which creativity and expression has sought so many outlets.
Boredom and Creativity
If “necessity is the mother of invention” then it could be argued that a close relative of boredom is creativity.
As Dr Sandi Mann, a researcher at the University of Central Lancashire, reported in The Times,
“As global boredom strikes us, we will get ever more creative: We’re already doing things differently - socialising, doing business and even exercising using online platforms. And the surge in creativity over the next few months is going to be as big as any other period in history. It’s the same level as you might see in a war — but this is a war where we’re all on the same side.”
To alleviate boredom is to search for ways of being stimulated,-and this inspires creativity. Boredom, restlessness, and constraint can lead us to alternative ways of entertaining ourselves.and can inspire new ideas to create a better future.
According to Dr Mann, the world is in “a great big scientific experiment”, despite the distress caused by the outbreak, people will try to look on the positive side.
“The backdrop of illness is that as humans look for positivity, they channel creativity. Boredom is one of the most creative forces — there are benefits to doing nothing. You start thinking in novel and productive ways. Get through the pain barrier and discover the creativity that is waiting to emerge.”
At City Academy we’ve been so touched by the ways our various communities have expressed their creativity in their attempts to deal with isolation and boredom.
The Musical Theatre companies have been particularly active as well as creative.From the online quiz which tested everyone’s knowledge of songs, stories and composers of the world of musical theatre to a film celebrating 10 years of the Monday Company.
Our online courses have been enthusiastically received - from Sitcom writing to Drawing and Painting. Many in our community are rediscovering Acting classes and some have discovered their inner ballerina.
Some members of our community have used this time to work on self- improvements and our voice courses have been brimming with students enhancing their Zoom skills whilst others have decided to understand the zoom capacities on their cameras.
“Even though it was just an hour it was a really good refresher of the basics. I think they should run online courses even after the pandemic is over.” - Voice Training student
“It was a really fun hour. in this time of Covid19 to offer fun activities it's just amazing!” - Photography student
City Academy has been delighted and moved by supporting our students to find new ways to express their creativity.
It has been profound to see how combating boredom has also helped to stem the difficulty of loneliness and isolation.
Being creative helps us all,to better manage mental health conditions as well as promoting positive mental health for the wider community, supporting physical wellbeing, through activities like dance for and singing….and above all providing a means to find an outlet for creative expression that promotes our vitality in this most unprecedented of times.
Susan Young is Managing Director at City Academy.
Susan is a global executive with extensive business leadership experience with organisations of varying size and across many sectors. She has held positions in marketing and management development with GE, Black & Decker and Laura Ashley, and was Managing Director-Europe for Aero Products International and First Alert. Her specific areas of commercial expertise are within marketing, business strategy and product development.