Could pandemic disruption be a catalyst for artistic creativity?

Posted on: May 25, 2021

“In 2019, arts and culture … contributed £10.5bn to the [U.K.] economy’s output and employed 226,000 people,” writes Larry Elliott in Sunday’s (5/23) Guardian (U.K.). “Lockdown has hit the sector hard, and by the final three months of 2020 activity was down almost 50%. Yet … the long-term future looks a lot brighter. In part, that’s because 15 months of restrictions have generated a hunger for going out…. Adversity can also be the spur for creativity…. Shakespeare … wrote some of his most famous plays during and after outbreaks of the [bubonic] plague…. While the pandemic has been raging, big technological changes have been unfolding, [forming] the components of a fourth industrial revolution…. Industrial revolutions tend to be the catalyst for artistic revolutions…. The first performance of Stravinsky’s the Rite of Spring was a seminal moment in modern classical music. Joyce’s Ulysses took the novel in a direction that would have been unthinkable for Trollope and Dickens. The second industrial revolution produced new artistic mediums—the cinema and TV, for example—but it also had a marked impact on existing ones…. This is an age of disruption…. In these circumstances … it would be surprising if there was no artistic response.”