Most of us instinctively react to feelings of anger, fear, confusion, and sadness by retreating. We often prefer consumption to creation during difficult times: rereading favorite books, or binging a whole season of television in an afternoon, or doomscrolling on our phones. We’re not built to handle uncertainty, and our impulse is to escape into the familiar.
But creativity calls us to take risks, to dare failure, to face the immense and potentially overwhelming possibilities of a blank page or canvas or computer screen, an empty stage, a bare square of soil. It’s often uncomfortable at the best of times. And these, to state the obvious, are not those.
How do creative makers work through periods of intense political and personal uncertainty? Can outrage and anxiety power creativity, or do they inevitably work against it? How can we learn to practice creativity, a generative and fundamentally optimistic act, in times that all too often seem to reflect back to us the most fearful versions of our neighbors and ourselves?
In this season of Processing... we’ll engage with these questions by talking with five Pitt creators who persist.
Season Two features Hannah Eko (MFA in writing graduate), Craig Hayes (undergraduate student), Oronde Sharif (Department of Africana Studies faculty), Ivette Spradlin (Studio Arts faculty), and Tahirah Walker (former staff, Center for Teaching and Learning). Hosted by Shannon Fink (Center for Creativity Operations Manager).