A Warwick Arts Student Navigates Lockdown
Lockdown, wherever you have been residing in these past few difficult months, has impacted hundreds of thousands of people. For those of us currently in the United Kingdom, we still have many restrictions placed upon us. I can only speak from the British perspective of my time in lockdown; however I hope I can share some learned experiences that can be applied or integrated into most students lives, irrespective of location.
Everywhere I look I see rampant online activity, pressure to be productive, healthy, politically engaged, seeking further education, more culturally diverse and aware, creative, career orientated, the list goes on (and on). This enduring barrage of expectation can feel profusely disorientating. It has definitely pushed me to the point of stagnation- a behaviour that is all too common in those of us who try to achieve everything all at once. For when we inevitably cannot complete all of these tasks to the best of our ability, we find ourselves doing nothing at all. And then of course, the barrage continues, and reactionary guilt towards inactivity settles in, nasty and unwanted. I have been engaging with content that has touched on this subject for some time now, sources like:
- Elizabeth Day writing about her experiences in lockdown (which can be find online here https://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-8246171/Elizabeth-Day-Help-Im-caught-wheel-Zoom.html)
- Kiran Misra writing for the Guardian talking about the pressures of “hustle culture” (link here https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/24/productivity-in-coronavirus-lockdown)
- And memes with straplines saying ‘you are in a global pandemic; it is ok to not be productive’
So, I am beginning to realise that I am not the only one feeling conflicted and frustrated with the pressures we are under to be our best self during such difficult times.
From an arts student perspective, it has been difficult to churn out essays, reports, reflections, creative writing, and the prospect of career research can feel more than daunting. So in order to regalvanise my motivation I decided to access creative material leisurely. This had the effect of piquing my interests naturally. I think that an unpressured approach to creative pursuits/ productivity seems to do the trick for me, and I wanted to share some resources I have been using during this time:
Podcasts- are a fantastic way tool for education. They can be disarmingly thought provoking too, and could be used as a springboard into researching any of your artistic interests. My suggestions would be:
- Grounded, an interview podcast presented by Louis Theroux featuring guests such as Helena Bonham Carter, Boy George, KSI and more.
- The High Low, a fantastic current affairs and media pop culture podcast that covers everything from literature to film to modern day living.
- Fit & Fearless, a podcast available on BBC sounds that debunks fitness myths and endorses a more sustainable approach to exercise and wellbeing.
- Literary Friction, a podcast that invites acclaimed authors to talk about their books and life experiences.
- Desert Island Disks, an infamous radio show where celebrity guests are invited on air to discuss their hypothetical marooning on a desert island, and what eight tracks would they choose to take with them to pass the time.
- NT Talks, National Theatre Talks, a programme consisting of an array of interviews with actors, directors, or theatre critics, short pre-show talks, in-depth to full days exploration of a production, design events, and even ten-week play-writing courses.
In addition to this there is a wealth of online media available at the moment. WhatsOnStage have compiled a list of theatre shows that are currently online, link here: (https://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/news/stage-shows-musicals-opera-free-stream-online_51198.html). The page directs you to shows from The National, Bristol Old Vic, Gate Theatre, and more. There is also a link to BBC iPlayer that holds a vast spectrum of recorded live art: from poetry by Kate Tempest, to animated performances pieces by Akala, and social-drama plays like LOVE, by writer/director Alexander Zeldin.
Not just live performance has made the coveted transition online, but galleries and museums have too. The Guardian has run a piece detailing ten of the best virtual museum and art gallery tours (link https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2020/mar/23/10-of-the-worlds-best-virtual-museum-and-art-gallery-tours) and locations range from London, to Rome, to South Korea and Amsterdam.
Finally, I know I mentioned the intimidating, and all too easily avoided career research. I know I have been bombarded with suggestions that ‘now is the best time to think about what to do next with my life’, and what are the necessary steps to get there. Of course, this is completely true, but with the world around us evolving so quickly, and the arts industry, as a sector, undergoing radical changes, sometimes this proactive go-getting approach, although admirable, can seem formidable. In this case, I want to recommend the Warwick University Student Careers team (link to their homepage here: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/careers/). Warwick students have the luxury of booking an appointment with a department advisor which can be held over Microsoft Teams. Not only can you access personalised help from a qualified consultant, but career webinars are available to watch too. Also, in specific relation to the Warwick Theatre Department, students are regularly updated on unique and exciting career opportunities, training events, online learning, etc, that would be very difficult to come by without the departments bountiful repository.
I hope some of these ideas raised in this blog helps you to ease into navigating lockdown in a way that is, yes, productive, but also enjoyable!
All the best,
P.s. Feature image is a collage piece created by Cardiff artist Nathan Wyburn, who was inspired after the first Clap for our Carers took place in March.