Fostering creativity


The education system might in some cases be educating young people out of creativity.

Barbados Community College tutor and poet, Yvonne Weekes told students and educators at the Third Barbados International Conference on Higher Education this morning that the creative process, especially the incubation period for persons in the arts, was not a simple one.

She said often people saw the incubation – that period when artists are reviewing, revising and conceptualising their work – as them not doing anything. It was one of the reasons writers were reluctant to allow people to read their work before it was finished; why directors did not allow people into the studios in production times; why musicians did not allow rehearsals to be heard.

Speaking on the broad topic of The Creative Process, Weekes said she saw two challenges there.

“One is that most people think that young people are in a dark and unwholesome enterprise that can bring no good and give you no work and you will not be able to make a living. The fact is that society needs to be interrogated and the artist does that.

“What is happening in my view in the education system is that we are educating people out of their creativity; that education is about conformity rather than challenging and the people who are most likely to tell students they should not be doing theatre arts or dance are within the same community that you work in or in the external community of parents, teachers, friends and family members.

“The second challenge is that we do not foster the creative process; the students do not know how to work with each other. They are driven by product only.”

Because of the lack of understanding about incubation periods, she said every workshop is followed by a production of some sort.

She later pointed out that practise was how the students would perfect their craft and also how the artists would go about resolving some of the issues of blockages that can happen in the creative process.

Practice was a point also touched on by calypsonian Red Plastic Bag, who was also a member of the same panel discussing The Creative Process.

“You really need to practise, don’t care how good you are you always have to practise; keep yourself always in tune and in touch with what you are doing. I don’t have a brush nor colours to paint my picture. I paint my pictures with music and with lyrics.”

He told the audience that inspiration to be creative was something that could come from anywhere, and as an artist in the form of calypso, he took his inspiration from things happening around him.

He used the example of what he said was his most popular song, Ragga Ragga, which came out of a trip to a nightclub where one of the dub artist Tiger’s songs played four times that night and he left still not understanding a word of what was sung.

He said it only took him about 10 minutes to write the lyrics, but along with Nicholas Brancker and later Mac Fingall, they were able to create a perfect marriage of soca and dancehall to produce a new musical artform in ragga soca. (LB)

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