One of the nice things about creative work is connecting other people. Creative connections are vital and passing those on is a pleasure.
We’ve already discussed how collaboration broadens our own horizons. Our ideas are enhanced by sharing, discussing and questioning them. Problems are solved more quickly and in unexpected ways when we open ourselves to external input.
But how do we build the creative connections needed for this to happen? It’s really very simple. And possibly better to ask: ‘how do we block connections that would otherwise take place?’.
Whatever your creative pursuit – be it visual art, music, movement, theatre – you will inevitably come into contact with other, like-minded souls. Even if you spend hours secluded in a studio, you will then, at some point go to exhibitions, courses, festivals or similar places where other artists gather. And, unless you are particularly shy or people-averse, you will make connections.
Open & Honest
People often talk about ‘networking’, which is a fair description. Unfortunately, that word has become loaded with negative implications. There is a sense that it entails egotism and/or manipulation. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The main thing is to be open and honest with one another. We are all, to a greater or lesser degree, insecure. And we don’t need to be impressing one another all the time, even if we consider others to be somehow important to our progress.
A really good way to make and nurture creative connections is to be useful to others. Within my own local creative community, people will often ask if I know someone with a particular skill or talent. It’s always great to be able to say: ‘oh yes, so-and-so does this’ – or ‘here’s the number of someone who does that’.
In these scenarios, you are not only aiding the person in need of help but also the one that can provide it. You have facilitated a whole new connection, which will then enrich the creative network as a whole. What’s more, those people will remember you as a helpful presence and are likely to keep in touch and want to work with you when the opportunity arises.
And this applies to educational work too. Youngsters that may not otherwise find it easy to connect are given a reason to interact. They become useful participants within a collective pursuit. This teaches them the value of getting together with others. Which, hopefully, will spill over into their lives outside of the educational setting.
They too will then be able to say ‘oh, I know someone who’s good at that’. And then they can be the one who’s helpful in putting others together. Which is a valuable skill to nurture and a useful asset in any walk of life, creative or otherwise.
So, go on and get connecting. Whether it’s introducing friends, colleagues or pupils, the rewards will be many. We all like to feel we are part of something. And to help others feel that way is both enriching and rewarding. Especially at a time when many have had to endure isolation for so long.