Stay creative | The Open College of the Arts
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Stay creative

At this strange, uncertain moment in history, as we all try to keep ourselves, our families and friends healthy, even the calmest of individuals is likely to be experiencing anxiety.  It’s even worse if you’re dealing with a common mental health condition such as depression (as 1 in 6 people in England reportedly do). Fortunately, there are ways – apart from staying away from the news (or singing ‘COVID-19’ to the tune of ‘Come on Eileen’) – that allow you to control and lower your anxiety and stress levels.  

Choosing and continuing to be creative is a really important act of self-care.  Whether you write, draw, sew, sculpt, paint, photograph or play an instrument, you can improve your mental wellbeing.  Immersing yourself in a creative act can focus your mind (a bit like the practice of meditation) and allow you to navigate your negative thoughts in a productive way.  Obviously, feeling creative isn’t something you can force – right now you might feel your creativity is being put to the test, and many of you with children at home will be under more pressure than ever.  But it’s the creative act itself that helps, not what you actually create. 

Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation.  Make use of technology and chat with tutors and other students online to keep the creative conversation going.  The OCA Discuss forum is full of fantastic material offering support (check out the ‘coping strategies’ thread) and posts pointing you towards the best online offerings from artists, museums and galleries.  My favourites include Google’s Arts & Culture platform, which currently features a digital exhibition on Frida Kahlo and the online tour of the show Rembrandt and Portraiture in Amsterdam, 1590-1670 launched by the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid.  If video art is more your thing then head over to UbuWeb – the home of thousands of video works (that are all free to view).  

Alternatively, engross yourself in a podcast.  Totalling 30 episodes, The Way I See It  is a collaboration between the BBC and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York that involves famous names and creative thinkers discussing their favourite works in the museum’s collection.  For more conversations on all things artistic, the Louisiana Channel on YouTube (the brainchild of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark) offers everything from the musings of Patti Smith and an interview with Marina Abramović to some much-discussed contributions from Yoko Ono. 

Whatever you’re working on, be kind to yourself and use the OCA network to keep connected – a friendly voice, encouraging you to stay creative, is just a click away.


Creative Challenges

Over the coming weeks OCA will post open, creative content that everyone can get involved in. During this unpredictable period OCA students are meeting online as we hold virtual study events and continue our subject specific group work. As a distance learning college we are well equipped to support students working from home. If you’re an existing student, new to creativity or just looking for something to keep the kids entertained, watch this space, follow us on social media and join the OCA creative community sharing your outputs in a sociable social distancing way.

Weekly workshops

Our family friendly weekly workshops will be published on our #WeAreOCA blog each Monday starting April 6 with an Introduction to Stop Motion. Following this we will look at:

  • April 13: Storytelling – The Hero’s Journey
  • April 20: Stop Motion – Papercraft
  • April 27: Sculptural Skills – Basics
  • May 4: Stop Motion – Clay
  • May 11: Sewing/Embroidery – Basics
  • May 18: Making Poseable Dolls
  • May 25: Interior Design – Basics
  • June 1: Miniature Making
  • June 8: Photography – Basic Skills
  • June 15: Mixed Media Collage Tiles
  • June 22: Typographic kitchen

Are you up for the Creative Challenge? Join in and share your results with us across our social media platforms – #WeAreOCA

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Posted by author: Julia
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3 thoughts on “Stay creative

  • Great suggestions here. Don’t forget that most art galleries are putting on virtual tours. I have just done the virtual tour of the Cranach exhibition at Compton Verney.
    Many creative writing sites are giving daily prompts for writing a poem or short story. If anyone needs a quick writing prompt now, here are a couple.
    1. Look out of the window: what do you see
    2. Think of a place you know well. How does it represent your character or an invented person’s character?

  • Anxiety is something that can creep up on you when you have never experienced it before, as happened to me recently, it is important to talk about concerns to your family, friends and to seek out other OCA students to share experiences and offer support to each other. For the writers out there in isolation, I have been receiving emails from Arvon, a fantastic organisation that normally holds workshops and retreats, but are now also doing online readings and workshops so worth looking out for them to – well done to OCA for highlighting this on the blog, look forward to reading more as I continue my journey with OCA – website for Arvon is – http://www.arvon.org

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