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Amy Barnes ConsultingCreative Happenings

What does creativity mean to me and why it's important

Some say that to live is to create and that when we are fully engaged in the act of creativity we are closest to creator/ god. To me, creating is the act of giving birth to something unique; a cycle of outside<->inside<->outside.

In the business world and in organisational work, I often hear people talk about creativity and innovation as if they are the same things yet they are probably more different than they are the same. To me, the application or functional focus of innovation means that by definition, a degree of steering and channelling has been applied from the beginning. The more we are bothered by the need for creativity to deliver something, the more we are putting constraints on what is potentially a very free process. The effect of the need for an end result can mean that we 'waste' less time and energy in taking diversions- but the downside is that it might also mean we won't necessarily stumble upon something that is beyond our expectations and something that is fresh, new, original or unique. I feel very strongly that commercial pressures and the need for return on investments mean that there has been a movement towards innovation and design at the expense of art and pure creativity. As we develop as peoples, I sense that at some point there will be a need to search for meaning, to return to ways of connecting more with our spirit and to let ourselves have some free space to go to the edge of our imagination. I believe that it is at the edge of our consciousness that insights, wisdoms and new futures reside.

Having come from a background of classical dance and music and more recently, reconnecting with art, I am beginning to appreciate the difference between being an artisan and an artist; being a composer and a musician or being a choreographer and a dancer. In my view, of the art forms, there is no substitute for art and in particular, drawing and painting. This is because they lend themselves to allow what has been absorbed and experienced by the artist to be re-expressed and in that process, enabling what is foreign to be integrated and transformed into something else. This 'something else' will have, for the artist, particular meaning and each piece of work also holds a potential for conveying something universal that has transcendental reach. In my view, art has the ability not only to transport the viewer/ participant/ co-creator to another space, place and time but art made with energy and emotion is alive and the viewer/ participant/ co-creator meets the feeling and the spirit of the artist's source in the here and now. In that moment, something new is created within the being of the viewer. We can talk, read and imagine this process but it is not until we do it that we really understand and get to know what art is and the relationship between art and creativity until we get our hands dirty and make some art.

Why is creativity so important to us now? Real creativity is about making something unique out of nothing. Truly creative people are able to make newness time and time again. It is this type of capacity that is most needed now. It is not possible to develop new solutions unless we are able to look at the world with fresh eyes. This is very hard to do as one settles into a pattern of operation very quickly. Creative activities, in particular movement, sounds and paintings- any artistic medium that is relatively open (without constraints of 'form' per se) is helpful in enabling us to keep open our own creative spaces. In addition, when one is immersed in truly creative acts, one is allowing what is inside and often out of awareness to be expressed. As such, creative medium and creative activities can also reveal to us more information about ourselves, our environment and the way we are affected by what is going on. Like meditative practices, the development of one's creative capacity is an on-going practice- a continuous process of simultaneous opening, challenging and calling forth what is from the inside to give itself to the outside world. This requires a curiosity and openness to the world. Over time, development of creative capacity becomes a development of being.

Creative spaces and creativity workshops can be arranged for individuals, groups and large groups. An example of an individual creativity session can be seen here.

Creative and exploratory sessions for groups are facilitated using an Open Studio. You can find out more about Open Studios and case studies here

My personal artistic process was reinvigorated in 2009 through the mentoring of Andrew James Campbell and some of my work can be seen here.

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