A question I ask myself again and again as I write for CFile: “Why do other countries do all of the interesting stuff?” While media here in the States is running its perpetual campaign about the hottest new trends in xenophobia, the BBC is being adorably British by encouraging the public to take up an artistic hobby. “Get Creative” kicked off this year, an initiative that both seeks to improve people’s quality of life while also celebrating British arts and culture. They’re casting a wide net, encouraging everything from pottery to bagpipes and, judging from #bbcgetcreative on Twitter, the campaign is still going strong.
Above image: Comedian Johnny Vegas makes a pot for the launch of BBC’s Get Creative campaign.
From The Guardian:
The Get Creative initiative is “a challenge to the nation” aimed at “boosting creativity in the UK”.
Famous faces have been drafted in to encourage ordinary people to get involved in the arts. Johnny Vegas, it turns out, likes to make pots in his spare time. He demonstrated his skills by bringing a pottery wheel on to the stage at the London launch and making a teapot.
Other celebrities have teamed up for a film to plug the campaign, talking about their creative skills.
Kate Moss makes her own clothes. Frank Skinner plays the ukulele. Andrew Marr likes to paint, Lucy Worsley practises ballet and Alastair Campbell is a bagpiper.
More than being a public service announcement, the network has resources people can use to find a creative pursuit. They also cleverly address hurdles to taking up a hobby, the biggest one being the fear of failure. Comedian Johnny Vegas challenged himself to make a pot in 60 seconds, taking the edge off by making fun of himself the entire time. The message: if he can do it, you probably can too.
Creativity is healthy. Creativity mediates stress. Creativity is sexy. And yet we treat it like an afterthought in the States, or worse, idleness. Our national attitude toward it can be skewered in three or four sentences. BBC’s #bbcgetcreative campaign will end this year, but America’s #workworkworkworkgobrokedie campaign will be with us for years to come.
Bill Rodgers is the Managing Editor of cfile.
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