Three Longs & Three Shorts

How to tap into creativity during lockdown

It is said that crises bring the best out of humanity. Whilst the world is looking forward to many innovations coming up on the back of this lockdown, this applies equally to the individual level itself. Especially in the creative field, social distancing actually isn’t such a bad deal. Alone time can give people the much needed space to think and create. This piece in the FT shares some examples of how people in the creative fields of music, art and even scientists are making use of the solitude of the lockdown to come up with new ideas.
“A slower pace of life and learning to love boredom could not only lead to an explosion of people writing and painting masterpieces but also thinking about “creative solutions” to work problems, according to Sandi Mann, a senior psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, who is running lessons and therapy clinics remotely.
“Boredom is one of the most creative forces — there are benefits to doing nothing. You start thinking in novel and productive ways,” she says. “Get through the pain barrier and discover your creativity that is waiting to emerge.”
…The co-director of SynbiCITE, the UK Innovation and Knowledge Centre for Synthetic Biology, says this is the scientists’ time to contribute to helping in the national emergency. “We are seeing a classic response to an emergency by scientists rallying round and harnessing their energy to think creatively.” He has led a team of scientists to contribute to Covid-19 testing by raising £120,000 from the Dementia Research Institute to fund the repurposing of SynbiCITE’s biofoundry, a centre for designing and building the genetic make-up of cells. The
testing regime has been validated and implemented in London’s Charing Cross and St Mary’s hospitals. All of this work, which usually takes months, was done in just three weeks — an “amazing” turnround, says Prof Freemont. The result is that robotic platforms will be used to collect data on Covid-19 patients that can be analysed and help the fight against the outbreak.”

However, not every aspect of creativity thrives in solitude. After all, social contact is still the most biggest source of happiness for most humans including those from the creative field.
“One challenging aspect of our current working life, though, is the lack of contact with others due to social distancing — and this can affect creativity. Both Prof Freemont and Ms Westgate find the flow of discussion can be inhibited by remote meetings where only one person can speak at a time. “Conversations can weave in a room” but the limits of technology “can interrupt the flow of ideas”, Prof Freemont says. “Thinking is social too and that’s been harder with the lockdown. I can’t wander down the hallway to chat with colleagues and think aloud together with them when an idea pops into my head. I miss that,” Ms Westgate says. Ms Hanks sums up how many workers are feeling: “It will be very special when [we] get together again.””