Keen to be seen creative
Shae Courtney, an InSite correspondent, writes of the National Lottery Report on creativity in Britain.
I have always taken a very liberal approach to the creative arts. I think allowing young people to express themselves is absolutely key in stimulating happiness, release and, ultimately, a better, more productive population. In the past, it has been the remit of the "wacky" and "off-the-wall" in our society to express themselves in previously nonconformist ways. The largely conservative-thinking population of the past often denounced modern artwork as having little or no merit. It is only in the last twenty or thirty years that a softening of public opinion and a change in British commerce has fuelled creativity.
In November 2007, the National Lottery released a report into creativity in the UK. The twenty-page report covered a wide range of topic areas that attempted to analyze how the UK was at "being creative" and how much time was spent "being creative".
Of particular interest, those who aspire to be creative has increased quite dramatically between the two years, 1986 and 2007, in which the survey was conducted. Whilst a shift in attitudes could be responsible, an increase in technological advances seems just as probable.
A similar survey, also conducted in 2007, found that girls were more likely to follow traditional forms of creativity (writing fiction, writing poetry and photography) whilst boys followed more contemporary forms (webpage creation, digital art, digital music creation). This notion is echoed in similar findings in another survey that suggested writing emails, using a camera or making images on a computer was done twice as much or more than the subjects' parents. In the same survey, letter writing and expressing opinions about society showed gains on previous generations despite the increase in computerization.
Interestingly, regional variation was clear from the report too. Unsurprisingly, London and the South East trumped other regions of the UK in creative activities (where London came top) and reading (where the South East came top). Although not entirely clear from the report's findings, one can only imagine that London's commanding position of creative activities can only be attributed to two things. These being the liberal attitude embodied within the majority of Londoners and the access to creativity that such a metropolis offers. The West Midlands, the region Hereford was in, came forth for time spent on creative activities and sixth for time spent reading.
The conclusion of the report was that schools and colleges are well placed to fill a sought-after gap in creativity, Britons are keen to be creative, creativity will be best achieved by making creative activities sociable ones and that creativity varies widely by region.
The reason for the National Lottery commissioning this report was to find if the money they invest in projects like Insite could be better spent. £309 million was invested in 2006 alone and the National Lottery is keen to see more spent on creative arts if a genuine need arises.