Creativity happens. It is a moment and then it is over. If the output has value it needs to be identified, captured, led and delivered. One role of the arts manager is to facilitate this delivery of value.


The Problem

If left, creative output forms a puddle. Lifeless and offered no boundaries or direction it may, if lucky, sit flatly for a time against a surface, slowly spreading, seeping-out at random until so thin in memory it evaporates through a patchy dampness, a hint of existence – then gone. Letting creativity lead generates no direction because creativity doesn’t know where it’s going. Creativity is the ‘lightbulb’ of inspiration often followed by hyper-activity and excitement of potential personal value. It is necessarily random bringing together new combinations of experienced options, ideas, notions and realities. A natural direction as linearity from constant creativity is only discovered when set against time. But this path has no meaning forming only a cacophony of inevitably unrelated randomness, disconnected ideas falling from the mind into a very complicated contextual existence. This is not to underestimate a fundamental element of the process of arts management, and the reason arts management can exist. A person’s ability to access this self-expression and openness to the unseen, the vision and the enlightenment is a key value point in any artistic endeavour.

Walls & Pools

The Solution

Creativity needs to be captured, either at source when it occurs within an established system, or by building walls around a pool we’ve chanced upon. The idea of walls and creativity can often trigger the artistic mind-set into anarchistic retaliation, but some keys to successful boundaries are form, positioning and managed flexibility. Analyse the pool and identify its key value points, hold it as potential waiting for direction, sense the meaning and find the poignant moments to nurture front and centre, be the audience and seek the aesthetic but then know how to move it towards… Bring it theoretically into context against the real world and make it valuable externally, imagine it against different delivery points and gauge the impact. Find the sources of operational support, the funding and the communications, match deliverable value to needs of satisfaction and finally, think about the release mechanism.

Valuable Exception
Sometimes the artist is also the manager but this takes self-understanding and appreciation of this delivery process, automated administrative systems and 24/7 working. Focused self-control mixed with passionate self-expression and ruthless self-critique. So much reliance on the self brings a challenge for the individual whose main value lies in a delivery of their final well defined formation to external parties. ‘Artist & Manager’ I salute you, but I’m sure you’d agree:

Creativity doesn’t lead.
Creativity is only the beginning.

Examples of walls of constraint – digitisation, branding, recording, events, contracts, line-ups, actual walls

Examples of pools of creative content – collectives, back catalogues, notesbooks, hard-drives, practice rooms,

Walls don’t need to contain – only lead

Standing on a wall

Walls focus inspiration and support delivery

Contorting between walls