June 21, 2017

3rd Birthday Thoughts.

joe-shillington-240205

Over a week ago, 64 Million Artists turned 3. 3 January challenges; 3 years of helping people get a bit more creative at work, at home, with strangers; 3 years of working out what we’re trying to do; 3 years of getting it to the point where we have full time staff, an office, a board and a budget for more than a few weeks at a time. Since then I’ve been meaning to write a blog about it, but so much has happened in the world that it just felt like it was never the right time. Waking up to horrible news over and over again I felt at first paralysed, but then more motivated. There is stuff we can do in the world, and I am committed to us doing it.

It feels like now is a time where improved understanding and compassion is more important than ever, and I believe creativity is central to that. In my TEDx talk I said that I thought accessing our creativity helped us build a sense of agency, a deeper vulnerability and greater connection – and that denying that to huge swathes of the population by telling them they’re ‘not creative’ was only dividing us further. I stand by that because I think when we show this part of ourselves is when we get to know each other better. We see beyond the surface stuff, beyond the visible markers of difference, because we can see what binds and connects us.

Our mission to ‘unlock the power of creativity in everyone,’ is driving us to take this message far and wide. At the moment we’re developing more work around mental health and well being, we’re running leadership work at King’s College London, we’re helping develop more creative cities with Hull and other places, and we’re looking at how creativity can contribute to a more positive experience of ageing in Leicester. At the centre of all of this is compassion, understanding and action. We want to do more of this, but right now we’re at a crossroads where our attention is split and we could use a sense of focus.

We’d love for you to join us in that mission – to be part of growing this thing, to connect with others and build the network and get stuff done. We’ve made this survey which we’d love you to fill out and tell us what you think about what we’re doing and how you’d like to get involved – what you’d like to see more/less of. If you don’t like forms and you’d rather just chat, let us know. We’d like to spend the summer connecting with more people and hearing how we might collaborate. We’ve been a bit heads down trying to get this thing started, without remembering that actually, it’s all about you! I hope you’ll let us know what you think, and thanks for your support over the last 3 years. Here’s to the next 3.