Image by Mike Baird
How do you forge ahead with new ideas to better your artistic practice?

Recently the NESA (North East South Asia) Conference came to Dubai for a fall leadership conference. It was a 4 day conference for school leaders to select assorted topics for professional development and workshopping. it was my first experience at NESA and I was pleased with the quality of the workshops I attended. Yes, they had more to do with my role in education than with my artist practice and this blog but something I love about all of the coursework I’ve taken recently is its applicability to other facets of my life. I could wear both hats in this workshop of my professional life. Today is an opportunity to share those reflections and I will begin with the opening Keynote speaker, Tom Guskey.

“There is no best practice.”

Essentially the takeaway from this is that what may be one successful practice for one classroom may not work with the next batch of students. Teachers who come ready and flexible to student needs are most effective in the classroom. So, how does this apply to creativity? Context is all important. For blogging or marketing or making art, this means we should consider timing, geography, mood. Assorted elements can impact the success of a plan, learning moment, artistic practice, marketing, buy-in, etc. Certain times of year may be better than others to promote your next big art sale. Or, perhaps in the New Year, with a fresh start, we try out that new concept. And context is not the only important element, but being flexible to a changing context is as well. Being a planner and prepared for multiple considerations and varying your approach to reach the many will help garner success.

We only have 2 weeks to instill and keep change

If a teacher doesn’t apply or practice a new idea or skill in the classroom within two weeks of introduction, they won’t maintain its use and will revert to the same behaviors and practices they used before learning something new.  In terms of art practice, I can see this with my use of techniques or concept as well. If you wish to really incorporate a new routine, skill, technique into your artistic routine you need to use it once or twice within two weeks of its introduction. And I would argue its of equal importance to reflect on how to improve the use of this new skill if you wish it to become routine. This also applies to blogging or marketing in that we should encourage our readers, viewers, clients to practice or participate in a new activity within 2 weeks of introduction if we want them to be genuinely involved in what we do. If you lead workshops, I would even recommend that you set up reinforcement for after the workshop in the form of a website or forum (whatever you think may generate participation) to truly reinforce the practice and emphasize your belief in the idea.

These two pieces from Tom Guskey’s speech were the pieces most poignant for me. Can you apply them to your teaching or artistic practice? How does it make you feel to hear someone say there is no such thing as best practice?

As an end note, workshops only give you what you yourself are willing to put into them… if you are passive and make no attempt to apply the content to your problems or ideas I assure you no workshop is worth your time.

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Reflect on one practice in your life. How did that skill become part of your routine? Is there another skill you wish to incorporate into your artistic life? How can you use the above information to better incorporate its practice?