The creative industry has an important role to play at this time of heightened concern, donning our optimistic specs to share and celebrate stories of support and resilience, whilst seeking solutions that directly improve people’s lives.
As many will have found in considering their Coronavirus response and business continuity plan, there are two distinct aspects to the current situation: the changing facts of the matter, and the very real psychological impact on all of our sense of wellbeing.
We’re in unchartered waters when it comes to the facts, and simply have to do the best we can as the government’s public health officials, and more recently statisticians, attempt to steer a course of least harm. Whereas the reaction across the globe to the pandemic is illustrative of the potential psychological impact. Fear and misinformation spreads fast but on the whole is fleeting, whereas acts of kindness stay with us – they touch us as individuals, restore our faith in human nature, and, sometimes stir us into positive action.
What is clear, however, is how people will be feeling as they become increasingly isolated from friends and community, which encouragingly is something each of us can address. Simple moves, such as regularly calling friends and relatives and connecting with local people in need through online apps such as NextDoor, for a chat and to offer help to collect shopping etc. can make a meaningful difference to someone’s sense of wellbeing.
There are also opportunities for each of us to integrate solutions into our professional work. As opposed to cancelling an exciting series of community engagement events for Redbridge Council RCKa realised that safe engagement had the potential to be a positive distraction as well as a vehicle to obtain local knowledge which also encouraged people to expand and strengthen their existing networks. Where we originally sought to assemble a cycling flotilla of residents from six wards around a proposed community hub, to demonstrate and explore physical and geographical connections, we now hope will turn into a very real strengthening of supportive psychological connections.
So without underestimating the severity and seriousness of the situation, particularly for those most vulnerable in our society, let’s not feed the fire of fear, and instead bask in the warmth of kindness and community spirit. Let’s put our creative skills and optimism to good use, and celebrate positive action; from proud Italians in communal concert across balconies, to self-organised community support groups, and every individual act of kindness that makes us who we are, together.