During the Covid19 lockdown, alongside keeping in touch with Artsmark schools and Artsmark partners, I have also been working with colleagues at The Mighty Creatives to help create a new online resource for teachers, parents and families. The Mighty Hub of Creativity is designed to be an ever-changing and ever-growing database of high-quality online opportunities and experiences, digital exhibitions activities and exercises. Most are from regionally based organisations, companies and venues with a handful from national bodies too.
It has been a fascinating task to help research and curate such a broad range of creative opportunities – from interactive music apps to online storytelling and from online dance workshops to craft ideas for people with autism. In many ways we have found it surprising, but also extremely reassuring, just how many quality arts experiences across our region we were able to find in such a short space of time. This range of activities is only likely to grow as time goes on.
My own kids are now (technically, at least) adults and have mostly ‘flown the nest’, so attempting to engage them in creative activities at home during the lockdown is not something I have had to grapple with personally. However, multiple zoom conversations with teacher and parent friends and colleagues about the challenges of ‘being creative at home’, together with memories of doing the same as a young parent (admittedly without the additional pressure of lockdown), have helped my colleagues and me focus on the need to uncover easily accessible, fun, interesting, high-quality and engaging arts experiences – and that’s what we hope we have done.
At the time of writing there is no real sense of how much longer the various restrictions might continue, but we know that social distancing is likely to be with us for some time to come. We can also guess that some attitudes and behaviours are likely to remain affected for even longer and some may shift forever. So whether, as a country, we manage to avoid a second spike of the disease or not, this kind of resource is likely to become increasingly prevalent, useful and necessary in the next 12 months and beyond.
Creativity at some level is an essential human trait (even for those who don’t recognise that it is) and the fact that the majority of children and parents have been stuck inside their houses for several weeks on end doesn’t alter that fact or that desire or that need. As recovery curriculums are brought into force and the pressure is piled on to ensure that numeracy and literacy levels don’t fall behind because of the Covid19 crisis, it will incumbent on us all to fight harder than ever to ensure that the arguments to underline the vital importance of creativity are heard loudly and proudly.
The Mighty Hub now has more than 70 entries listing an amazing array of creative events and activities from organisations and companies and venues across the East Midlands and the UK that children, families, teachers, schools and young people can access, enjoy and get inspired by!
Mr Holly recommends his Top 10 Mightiest Hub entries…
One of our region’s cultural and creative gems, Spark Arts’ website is bursting with ideas and suggestions to engage children in (and out of) lockdown and is run by lovely people who are absolute experts in their field.
Lincoln’s centre for art & archaeology has a brilliant resource of worksheets, fun facts and information that are easy to find and have a go at – I learnt loads!
National Trust’s ’50 Things To Do before you’re 11 3/4’ is as wholesome as it gets – a wonderful listing of activities and experiences to do in your garden or in the local park.
This New Zealand based project comes from a recognition of the importance of using creativity to help children & young people come to terms with trauma and disasters. Important & timely.
Derby’s wonderful Red Earth company specialises in work for D/deaf families & communities and as part of the company’s virtual tour (‘calm & creative in a time of crisis’) it offers a huge range of brilliant creative films that have been uploaded 3 times a week throughout lockdown.
If you’re missing contemporary dance and/or wanting to inspire young people who can’t get out & see any high quality performance then this is the place to go – a series of brilliant dance performances made by a range of young artists, including from the East Midlands.
I’ve always been a fan of the brilliant Leicester based MBD and their website is full of digital jewels of past work and inspiring ideas for the future.
This amazing music app has been around for 10 years and is maybe old hat for some, but I came across it for the first time during our Mighty Hub research and they couldn’t get me off it!
This national project is well-known and very well established but is also brilliant and an ideal lockdown activity. The Sing Up website is teeming with ideas and activities.
If you want to feel uplifted, amazed and just generally hopeful for the future and the place of creativity within it, then I recommend you head over to Jacksons Lane! Contemporary Circus is the most wonderful artform, created and performed by the most wonderful people – and Jacksons Lane is just the most wonderful place.