How to ensure creative continuity in the age of Covid-19

By Lisa Ball-Lechgar, Deputy Director, Tashkeel

Published: Thu 14 May 2020, 9:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 22 May 2020, 11:39 AM

The restrictions around the pandemic have affected our productivity and mental health. Many have sought solace in cyberspace, consuming content to rid us of boredom and fear.
We have been inspired, informed and entertained by creatives across the globe, who have shared moments of joy and wonder. The creative professionals living and working in the UAE are part of this worldwide movement.
But for many, the shutdown has been overwhelming. In an effort to support, Dubai-based art facility Tashkeel has published two resource kits: one focusing on mental wellbeing and the other listing online platforms and initiatives to watch, read, learn, experience, apply and join. For it is now, more so than ever, that every creative needs to think outside the box and innovate - not just for society's sake, but for themselves and their careers.
The advice boils down to this:
Play - Experimenting is a major part of a creative's toolkit. Use inexpensive materials and household items to free the mind.
Explore - Delve into your personal history. Explore the families, relationships and incidents that make us who we are.
Research - Pick up those books sitting on the 'For Later' shelf, and listen to podcasts by authors and intellectuals. Dig deep into subjects and issues that drive you to respond.
Connect - Don't observe; participate! Propose a topic for group discussion, set daily assignments for fellow creatives, instigate a collaborative project.
Document - Make use of the solitude to organise your studies, sketches and artworks. Get a better understanding of your own practice.
Create - You may not have access to the usual tools and equipment, but don't let that stop you. Improvising with a new set of resources may lead to new work.
Contribute - Apply to the multitude of open calls and competitions out there. You have nothing to lose by submitting work for a chance to gain critique and exposure.
Skill up - Acquire new skills to strengthen your online presence. The virtual world will become an important income generator for those who sell and teach in the arts.
Plan - While we aren't quite sure when things will return to 'normal', prepare for the future. Commit to goals, refine your portfolio and put a plan together to market yourself.
Remember, the world is changing. While we will mourn the habits of the past, there are new opportunities and ways of working that we can, and must, embrace.
(To download the resource kits for creative professionals, visit

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