It is well known that creative practice – painting, music, writing etc– are widely used in therapies to treat mental health issues and trauma. Some of the best works were born out of tragedy and crisis, with inspiration found etched in some of the darkest corners of our souls.  The link between creativity and times or hardship, sorrow or sadness has always been powerful.  It is no coincidence that times of social, economic, political or personal generate a burst of creative activity.  Creativity is defiant in the face of adversity, seeking to disrupt and make change.

Creativity and the triumph of the humaBursts of creative activity in financial, social, economical and political crisis

In 2017 NYU Washington, DC and the Embassy of Greece presented “Creativity in Times Of Crisis: Emerging Arts in Athens – a discussion with Eleftheria Astrinaki”, as part of the European Month of Culture program. Greece had faced an unprecedented crisis, both financial and social. Yet “beyond the depressing headlines, a bright spot has emerged; a burst of artistic activity in response to this national identity crisis.”–dc-events/creativity-in-times-of-crisis.html

A crisis can be big or small, it can be a conflict within your country, it can be a conflict within yourself.  We have grown used to the relationship between war and art, between destruction and creation. War Art (War artists – documents the highs as well as the lows of the most despairing situations. Creativity can be cathartic and can unlock a power that can impact the world.

Creativity and the triumph of the human spirit

The moments of crisis of a country or a person can mean a change. When a human being is at their most critical state that is when their most creative abilities can be activated. The right hemisphere of the brain begins to work and to generate new ideas and create different solutions. Some of the greatest inventions, discoveries and works were created at times of conflict, crisis or need. A crisis can be an opportunity for a person to transcend.

Creativity can emerge in the face of bleak realities

In the UK we have a number of charities that bring together vulnerable people and give them an opportunity to create. In 2018 artists “Open Houses” event on Brighton and Hove focused on art created by people who have experienced homelessness.

“It is amazing to see the amount of creativity hidden in the homeless population and those struggling with substance misuse in the city. A lot of people have issues relating to substance misuse and homelessness and can’t remember who they were before these issues began. The exhibition is an opportunity to show that creativity is a mean of expressing the changes that are happening in their life on their personal journey towards recovery. Through working creatively they can start to recover a new sense of self and sustain long term change.”

The Creative Shootout and creative solutions

The Creative shootout has always championed creativity in crisis. Managing to find the humour, the beauty, the unusual, the shocking – and bravely applying this creativity to campaigns that can really make a difference.  We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Creatives can save the world!

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© The Creative Shootout February 2019

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