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There has been an outpouring of creativity in our world since coronavirus isolation and social distancing became part of our lives.

Faced with the challenge of the abrupt end of all live performances and classes the arts and culture sector has shown its inherent creativity by bringing experiences to us in our own homes.

Theatre performances are being shared via streaming platforms. Musicians are performing gigs from their living rooms. And we can all confess that access to film and TV has become an essential part of our lives!

These are unusual times where maintaining wellbeing is a challenge for us all. Arts and cultural experiences are helping us cope.

Now is the time to experiment with creativity

I would encourage everyone to experiment with creativity during this time. The results can be both relaxing and energising.

We find ourselves using our time differently. For many of us our lives appear to have slowed down. As we all step off the treadmill, we suddenly realise how fast it was moving.

Alongside entertaining us, artists are offering us the opportunity to participate in creativity ourselves. With online art classes, guidance is available for those that need the spark of inspiration.

Of course, it shouldn’t be overlooked that the abundance of output from our creative industries is a reaction to a challenge.

Those in the creative industries are facing extreme financial challenges with many self-employed and freelance. While we turn to creativity to help us, we could reflect on the value of the output given the precarious employment positions in the industry.

We have also witnessed examples of participatory creative experiences on a huge scale. The outpouring of emotion felt by so many who witnessed the ‘Clap for our Carers’ shows the impact of these experiences.

We see rainbows throughout our neighbourhoods, often created by our children but there for us all to experience and enjoy. Live art experiences on our doorsteps!

Can creativity help us build bridges to the future?

Whilst arts and culture are playing a huge part is assisting us to cope in the present, I wonder what part it could play as we look towards the future.

In the RSA's new podcast 'Bridges to the Future’ Matthew Taylor asks his guests How could – and how should – the world change when this pandemic is over?

How we could use arts and culture to engage our wider communities in this discussion?

Last year I created a community project in my hometown. Create Change Chesterfield had an intention to create a community of changemakers in our town - to inspire my community to become active citizens who look for ways to shape the world around them. Could we inspire our communities to think about what our world should look like after this crisis is over?

This won’t be straightforward. Various political twists and turns in recent years have challenged the belief that we are able to influence the decisions made by people in power. I believe many people would have little expectation that their thoughts will could have an influence.

Engaging our communities would take creative thinking as well as thoughtful methods of participation.

I’ve found aspects of creativity to be a way to facilitate people to think more deeply on a topic and free their thinking to embrace new ideas. Bringing this together with arts and culture’s ability to encourage participation in enjoyable experiences may help us to find a way through the challenge.

Each rainbow I see in a window makes me think that every household should be asked what future they would build. Perhaps through art, culture and creativity we could find a way to ask them this question and display the results for all to see.

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