Expanding your art

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to sit in on some creative industry talks as a media volunteer for Zealous X – an arts festival featuring musicians, designers, actors, painters and many more.

The panel discussions seemed to naturally circulate around the idea of collaboration and education within the creative industry. Looking back, there were several points made that can be used by anyone in the arts, so with our third network meeting coming up it seems appropriate that I at least pose some of the opinions and questions brought up in hopes of continuing the discussion and getting us all thinking about our decisions within the eclectic industry of art.


The most unexpected sources sometimes give the greatest food for thought. In this case it was Greg B Davies (Head of Behavioural-Quant Finance Barclays). After providing a fascinating insight into his 2012 work “Open Outcry” – a musical performance that was created by the ebb and flow of emotion and money on a stock trading floor – Davies contributed his opinion on art, accessibility, and our emotions. He began by pointing out “There isn’t a four year old who isn’t creative; but later it feels like we need to give people permission to be creative” which efficiently stated that our definition of creativity is too narrow.

Simply consider in your work or search for collaboration if you are truly using all of your resources. Creativity is found within computer programmers, architects etc. Is there an untapped resource of artists that we – as dancers – are not using? A resource that has a whole new area of funding and a completely different audience? And most poignantly, by “using” I mean to diversify our work and reach new understandings of art.

Later Davies, in my own words, briefly theorized one reason that understanding art is perhaps hard to reach for some. He pointed out that many things in life can be done well or not well and thus rewarded (think of sport), however the arts are a broader range. Although opinion and subjectivity are things that make art beautiful it is important to realize that these aspects perhaps do not translate to the “non traditionally artistic” community. Realistically producing “good” and successful work generates funding, not opinion and love. Do we need to approach the arts from a new angle, perhaps more accessible, before it becomes fully accepted? How do we make art accessible without sacrificing the content and heart behind it?

Davies referred to this as “professionalization of creativity”.


Even more advice came from Celebrity Fashion Stylist & Creative Director of Notion Magazine, Alexis Knox. Being in the commercial field where “selfies” are a form of branding I was admittedly skeptical of this talk, however Knox’s statements were helpful, human, and steeped in reality.

  1. “Find one thing and use it up before you move on instead of selling too many trends or brands. Being yourself translates above all.” As a choreographer does is make sense to always make new work . . . how much time should be spent sculpting just one idea?


  1. “You give to get. When you are not getting stop giving.” A clear statement on when you should stop working for free. Unless you are truly learning new skills you should be paid.


As a dancer I respect subjectivity and as a person I really don’t want to take a selfie, but I can see the relationship between commercial branding and the non-commercial dance industry. As emerging choreographers is our own form of branding simply sharing our creative process and thoughts behind our work more publicly? After all I don’t know any contemporary choreographer who makes work arbitrarily. We care about our work and we should let people know we care – even if they don’t understand it. Share. Bring more people in. It seems obvious but how much are you really doing to find what you truly stand for and then shout about it?


These talks gave me more questions than answers, but their solutions/advice seem to be in reach . . .

Stay Creative, Keep Collaborating, and challenge the boundaries of the art that you do in all aspects,

Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform


This post was written by Cecilia Berghäll.

Find out more on our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Visit the links below to see more on the people and programs discussed in this post.

Zealous X specific talks mentioned.

Zealous X.

“Open Outcry” discussed by Greg B Davies.

T. @GregBDavies

T. @alexisknox

T. @Zealous_Co



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