Happy International Day of Happiness! Yes, it seems a little odd saying that given the current situation, but maybe we do all need to stop for a second and celebrate positivity. On the world happiness rankings, we (unluckily) come in at 13th narrowly behind Australia who can only possibly be happier than us because of the regular presence of kangaroos.
We did have some fun plans for #InternationalDayOfHappiness – all of which are officially postponed not cancelled – but we still wanted to find a way to celebrate. Action for Happiness have unsurprisingly turned their attentions to peoples wellbeing during the global pandemic with a coping calendar so we thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight some of the ways the creative community are coping!
This is a community setup to support graduates whose degree shows have been cancelled due to the pandemic and is helping to reduce the isolation students may feel by inviting them to share their work via their platform on Instagram. It’s also a great for everyone else to get a wider appreciation of the work of these graduates! Check it out here.
For those seeking inspiration creativity toolkits are popping up everywhere so there’s really no chance of running out of ideas even in the longest of lockdowns. Here’s a collaborative one hosted by artist Alec Finlay and we’ve also been made aware of #CreateToConnect starting March 23rdfor two weeks from 64 Million Artists here.
For writers or anyone else looking for something meditative, mslexia publish daily writing prompts to stimulate the brain whilst you self-isolate.
What we’re doing
Next week we’re going to be announcing a number of ways in which we hope to keep people talking and supporting creative conversations online. You can already join us on our WhatsApp group where we’ll be sharing updates from ourselves and partners, but we’ll also be working to setup some one-to-one and group platforms to enable us all to connect even whilst socially distancing.
So, if you’d be interested in any of the below, get in touch to have a conversation about how we shape them:
At the moment we’ve setup one WhatsApp Group in broadcast mode meaning we can send out announcements and messages particularly in relation to the tools that us and various colleagues are trying to establish in this difficult time to keep people connected. If you’d like to see us using WhatsApp in any other ways either for smaller group conversations, social settings or project work we’d love to hear from you.
“Virtual” Random Coffee Breaks
Inspired by Pedro Medina and developed by Michael Soto and Jon Kingsbury of Nesta UK, Random Coffee Breaks have been used to support socialisation across organisations with large workforces and diverse employees. The programmes encourage people to take 20-30 minutes out of their day for a conversation with another randomly assigned member of that organisation who they may or may not know, in a step which legitimises socialisation in the work environment and breaks down perceived barriers such as departments and management structures.
We want to take this a step further for the local creative sector as a whole and attempt to breakdown a more physical barrier, that of isolation as a result of lone working that is so common for those in the creative industry, a barrier that will likely be felt more acutely in the months ahead. Anyone interested in participating will be invited to provide an email address that they’re happy to share and then once a month we’ll randomly pair up individuals from the list and make an introduction.
With the current very real need for social distancing, we’re launching these in a virtual capacity, where we’ll encourage participants to take virtual breaks and make contact with their randomly selected partner; you might want to do this via video chat or even just a phone call. Whatever you chose to do, this is intended to be a way to connect and share at a time when it may be increasingly difficult to do so.
Livestreamed Events and Workshops
With our venues off limits for large audiences and the general public for the time being we want to try and make use of them in a safe way with the technology we have available to us. As such next week we’ll be setting up livestreaming facilities at Artizan Gallery, Lucius Street, with the option to broadcast performances, workshops and conversations in a safe way to audiences online. We’re already thinking about how we can keep things like our poetry sessions going and maybe even seeing if we can replicate something similar to the recent Life Drawing Live event hosted by the BBC.
Online Video Hangouts
Finally, the online video hangout is likely to become king in the near future as a great way for large gatherings to take place remotely. We hope to launch the first of these next week (possibly with some testers over the weekend) but in the interim we’d like to know how you’d like to see these work. Is there a particular platform anyone prefers, do you want to use them to socialise, problem solve, create? Whichever it is we want you to tell us!
With all of this on the table and a ready ear listening to what else you’d like to see happen we hope you’ll all join us by contributing to some creative solutions!