People thrive in a community. That community may come in different forms, sizes and scales, but the social nature of people means that we all need some form of connection, and feel more connected with people when we have some areas of linked experience or interest.
The desire to be connected with others in some way is deeply embedded in the human experience and flows back to the time where we needed a tribe to survive. Back in those early times, to be set aside from your community usually meant death. Now while in 2023, it is more possible to get by alone – it is harder. It is surviving rather than thriving. We need connection. We need those people we resonate with in our lives. And perhaps now more than ever, we need space for those connections through shared experiences to help navigate the growing sense of loneliness that exists.
Arts, culture and creative activities in local communities often serve as powerful focal points for connection.
Spaces where you can engage in activity that you are passionate about, you can learn new skills, develop new ideas, and share that joy with other people. This is vital for wellbeing, and is one of those essential components of a flourishing society. Things like this should be a collective priority.
It is interesting to consider the importance of the community in terms of flourishing creativity. These communities are often called ‘scenes’. To be part of the ‘scene’ was to understand the artistic energy and the trends and frameworks of an artform or genre. These scenes have occurred throughout history, and while the stories are often told of the key figures, they were usually part of a broader community of people sharing ideas and techniques and ways of exploring.
The real innovation rarely emerges from a lone genius doing their own thing separated from a community. Usually new movements and ideas emerge through groups of creatives working alongside one another. This could be friendly support, it could be competing with one another, or finding inspiration in each other’s work.
The reality is that arts, culture and creativity thrives in an ecosystem. A space that connects artists with producers with spaces with audiences. The provision of technical skills, communication skills, business skills and more. The richness comes from the intersection of many different people finding connection through the process and celebration of creativity in all its forms. People can thrive when the ecosystem is a fertile environment for new ideas to take root and flourish.
So what does this mean for different communities in the Waikato?
What happens if you are looking to create a creative scene in your community or workplace or school? Ultimately it is about making space to share creativity whenever and wherever you can.
You want to create an environment where:
- People feel comfortable to share their work – particularly work in progress.
- The group supports risk taking and is open minded in their engagement with the creative work.
- Share things regularly and freely – encourage ideas to flow because they are in a shared space.
- Celebrate success and use the success of one to empower others. Everyone can succeed if we build upon strengths.
- New and unexpected is encouraged. This can be a constructively critical space if it supports the growth of the work, but it is also a tolerant and open minded space.
Creative scenes, creative communities can be the source of great innovation, artistic development and personal growth. They can be a source of connection and inspiration. Having creative communities that you can connect with in different environments is vital. It is great for personal connections and friendships, it is great for learning and development, it is great for innovation and growth.
Creative communities within a workplace can be a catalyst for new outcomes and positive impacts.
When the creative scene works, it encourages innovation. Collaborative discussions with friends or colleagues can foster new ideas rather than repress them. There are plenty of examples of small groups – like the Beatles or the Bauhaus, collaborating to drive innovative output by bouncing ideas off one another as they look for new ways to tackle artistic and practical problems. It can be an incredibly rewarding experience to be in a creative environment where thinking and possibilities are amplified for greater engagement and impact.
Being part of a creative community can make us more progressive and tolerant. It can prioritise the creative act as a people-centric value that is more than commodity or productivity measure. The creative community can help us to prioritise the power of self-expression, the reflective nature of shared experience and the exercise of imagination as a positive impact for future development.
Introduce creativity into your community and explore Creativity Every Day.