We are proud to be supporting the Get Creative Festival this year and excited about the advances that BBC Arts - Get Creative are making in the field of creativity and wellbeing. So we spoke to Damien McGlynn from Voluntary Arts about their groundbreaking research and what they are doing to support participation in creative cultural activities...
Those who regularly take part in creative activities hardly need reminding of the many personal benefits that come from expressing yourself. The reason millions of people pick up instruments, paint brushes, cameras and knitting needles every week is because they enjoy it. Getting creative is an enjoyable, rewarding and often sociable way to spend our time.
While this might be self-evident to those of us who enjoy these benefits, recent years have seen ever-increasing interest from researchers and academics exploring how creativity can help us maintain good mental - and physical - health as well as contribute to more connected communities. Time and time again, studies show that taking part in creative activities has a positive effect on individuals. Creative Health, the 2017 report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, brought together much of this evidence and made a compelling case for engagement with arts and culture.
Now, for the first time, researchers have gathered information on the way in which our brain uses these activities to manage our wellbeing. Last year, the Great British Creativity Test on BBC Arts surveyed almost 50,000 people about their creative habits and their emotions.
The findings from this huge study have just been launched and, according to lead researcher Dr Daisy Fancourt from University College London,
“this study is the first to show the cognitive strategies the brain uses to regulate our emotions when we’re taking part in creative activities”.
The festival began as a campaign to encourage more people to try something creative, such as taking up crafts as a new hobby, and has grown into a huge annual celebration of creativity with more than 1,500 events expected to take place across the UK this year.
These include all manner of crafty activities including pottery, weaving, crochet, rug hooking, wood carving, quilting and much more. They are all not-for-profit with many of them being free: find a creative experience near you >
Voluntary Arts has been supporting and promoting participation in creative cultural activities since 1991 and the partnership with other organisations such as the BBC, Crafts Council and the four UK arts councils has helped to make the Get Creative Festival a significant annual platform to celebrate and share the the incredible personal impact that these activities can have on each and every one of us.
Having a moment each May to shine a spotlight on the huge range of opportunities in local communities across the UK gives us an opportunity to inspire many more people who may be shy or reluctant to come along and try something new and meet new people. Again, those of us that are regularly involved in creative activities know how hard it can be to stop once you get started so let’s hope that this year’s festival can be the beginning of some new hobbies and lifelong passions for people of all ages and backgrounds.
Find out more about BBC Arts Get Creative here >