Pump up your creative jam or how to stretch and strengthen your creativity muscle
A participant report on the IDEA LAB – Ljubljana edition, a workshop on project-creating skills by Tomas Ramanauskas and Kristupas Sabolius, the leading Lithuanian theorists and practitioners of creativity in international communication, filmmaking and researching, Ljubljana, 26 September 2017.
By Jana Renée Wilcoxen.
If you work in the arts and culture sector, by nature, your work is creative. What you do is anyway all about creativity, right? It doesn’t matter if you are theatre director, a painter, a curator, a web designer, a scenarist, a museum promotion expert or a festival programmer, isn’t the sum total of your daily tasks the result of being cleverly creative? Isn’t your creativity muscle buff enough as it is?
Why would you need to attend a day-long workshop on creativity and being creative, entitled Idea Lab? I mean, you have enough ideas already that you cannot even actualise them all. But then again, you’ve got that funding application around the corner for a European project and you’re wondering how to convince the European Commission that your creativity and creative output is not just on par, but that it is something that matters and makes a difference in the cultural landscape, something worthy of funding at the European level. You know it, but the competition is fierce and your partners are all so different, and the time is running out … Maybe you’ve been staring at the application guidelines and wondering how to fit your organisation’s activities into a form that would get noticed? But aren’t the applications just about the quantifiable numbers and objective results? Does anyone even care about creativity any more, isn’t it just akin to marketing gimmicks and slick buzzwords?
In this workshop, a pair of energetic Lithuanian guys – Tomas Ramanauskas & Kristupas Sabolius – whom we might call “creativity gurus” set out to prove to a small group of cultural workers and artists based in Slovenia that everyone can use a little stretching and strengthening of their creative muscle. But how? It’s not like we can sign up to go a creativity gym. Or can we?
In a “compact” introduction, the pair ping-ponged through their 15-year collaborative and singular creative history during which they spawned the Lithuanian gonzo journalism youth cultural magazine Pravda (2004–), whilst involved in many other creative roles across a variety of creative industries. Tomas’s journey has led him from writing criminal reports for TV news, to publishing (Pravda), to running an independent cinema in the Vilnius old town and starting a one-minute film festival, then expanding into copywriting and creative directing, then working again in TV, this time as the chief creative officer at MTV Baltic, to starting a punk band (even touring once to Ljubljana), to directing an animated short film, to now co-running three different agencies that cover the “creative ABCs” – advertising, branding and content – for a long list of Lithuanian and international clients. Kristupas is a writer who has not only published his writing in various forms ranging from a fiction novel and several plays to a script for an award-winning film and three books on imagination and the imaginary at the intersection of philosophy, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, arts, cinema, theatre and neuroscience, but has also worked in many contexts ranging from theatre halls to curating exhibitions to teaching contemporary philosophy of art and theories of imagination at the University of Vilnius.
Phew, and that’s only just a highly condensed synopsis of it.
Over time, they began to wonder how to approach creativity as a particular skill set that could be honed, wondering just how to analyse it and how to describe it. This led to them developing a series of more practical lectures on creativity and the co-authoring of a book on creativity, entitled The Man Who Knew It All, which presents 98 inspirational people and the nature of their creativity. In short, they are ongoing collaborators spanning various fields and contexts, intertwining both theoretical and practical experience.
Thanks to Motovila and Poligon for organising this day with Tomas and Kristupas. Now that your creativity muscle is a little more in shape, I wish you all very fruitful creativity, even the inglorious kind.