This is our moment to re-shape the public’s relationship with the arts.

COVID-19 has shattered a relationship that was already distinctly uncomfortable. However, the current crisis could also be an opportunity to create something better. Perhaps this is our moment to re-shape the public’s relationship with the arts?

When a relationship falls apart communication becomes increasingly difficult. Unfortunately, the public’s relationship with the arts has been on rocky ground for a very long time.  However, now that circumstances beyond our control have caused  this relationship to break down completely, we have an opportunity not just to re-forge it but to re-shape it. 

If we want to rebuild this relationship, we will need to find a shared language. It would help if we stopped using words that explain our relationships from one side only – words like access, participation and engagement. We could also stop asking how to get ‘into’ the arts. Instead, let’s explore what we can achieve when we come out to play together in a level playing field. After all, one thing that COVID-19 has clearly shown is that our fortunes are entwined.

We may need a different language, but it doesn’t have to be a new one, isn’t it time to rediscover the language of creative development? Isn’t it time for a common language that focuses on the quality of our lives, moments and relationships and not on numbers and markets and transactions?

Creative development is the simple, natural, universal process that we are all engaged in. It does not seek to avoid the uncertainty that arises from our interconnection but invites us to engage with it and to seek a creative alignment with each other and the wider world.  How we do this will require us to face some significant challenges, but surely it is better if we face them together? 

I’m currently working on an open programme of creative development that can be tailored to the needs of any individual, group or community.  We are all looking to find new ways of creating, collaborating and contributing together.  Please see this as an open invitation to join us – drop me a line if you’d like to know more.

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