Lots of things worry me about this world and I guess the loss of creativity seems rather trivial compared to the crisis in Syria and the appointment of questionable leaders…
But I want to stick up for the arts.
Because the arts are both misunderstood and underrated. The slashing of arts funding at universities not just in Australia but around the world is a mistake. And the obsession with technology as a ‘fix-all’, ‘the way of the future’ and ‘the only sort of innovation’ cannot be right.
The arts are fundamental in how we shape our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Contemplation and reflection is important for us to assimilate our experiences and connect to something deeper and truly authentic. A cold world that is organised around theories and devices that control our every action isn’t my idea of a future I want for my daughter.
Don’t get me wrong, Science and Technology are wonderful things and without them I’d be lost in this modern world. I wouldn’t survive without text messaging, my laptop and calendar pop-ups (very useful for an arty, away-with-the-fairies, scatter-brain like me). And all the intricate dental work I’ve had – I have Science to thank for that.
All I’m asking for is balance. To not ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’.
So, here’s a little story you might find interesting…
You might wonder if poetry has any relevance in modern life and with generations of kids today. I think it does. Not long ago my daughter’s interest in poetry was piqued while we were working on the poetry page in ‘Free Me!’. At her request, we started reading all different sorts of poems – even some sonnets by Shakespeare. She doesn’t quite understand every line at the tender age of 8 but something about it speaks to her – the song, the pattern, the lyrical nature of it. What a joy to see my child respond to one of the most beautiful ways we can express ourselves! I didn’t even have to prompt her and she now wants me to dig up all the poetry books I can find. She’s writing poems of her own too.
It is truly wonderful to see your child engage with something so beautifully artistic. Don’t get me wrong, she loves ‘Dubsmash’ and other iPad apps too but seeing your child’s original words written in her own hand – there’s something deeply satisfying about that.
We can’t live our lives without emotions. Without the arts, we are losing a ‘compass’ that helps us to navigate our emotions and how they shape our inner and outer worlds. Reflection, creativity and emotional growth are closely inter-twined and we need to preserve this precious relationship.
Creativity is not a lost art – it’s just a misplaced one. And it’s up to us to find it and bring it back.
Leanne Roulston | Author and Illustrator of Free Me!