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theboar.org/ Arts | @BoarArts | ARTS 23

Diverse, creative and cultural: Marissa Beatty on Creative Warwick

Alexei Warshawski sits down with Warwick’s Socs Officer to talk about the launch of her new campus wide campaign

>> Images: Marissa Beatty / Facebook

C

reative Warwick looks set to be Marissa Beatty’s magnum opus as Societies’ Officer. It’s been collaboratively organised by the SU, the Arts Centre, and university management, and is designed not just to tap into the creativity which already exists on campus, but to make clear just how important that creativity is to all of us as part of the Warwick community. I began by asking Marissa how she plans to kick off Creative Warwick this term. “The idea is that we’ll have a lot of interactive things around for people to get creative with.” I came up with it from my end – I’ve always been big on creativity – and when I raised it alongside Teach Warwick, it turned out to be something which had already been discussed at university level, particularly with the arts centre. It was a campaign they were really keen to do. So it just happened to work out really well and really coincidentally, with us all having similar kinds of ideas and different ways of achieving them. The university have been really involved and really helpful, particularly with marketing; the senior management level are all really interested in it, and are helping with the Warwick Fringe Festival, which will be coming in June as a culmination of Creative Warwick. It’s really collaborative

and we have the university, the arts centre and the SU all coming together – it’s a new way of working between all these areas of the university.” The idea is that there is something for everyone This makes me wonder, and ask Marissa, what inspired her to pursue this project and to make it such a big part of your time as Societies’ Officer? “Part of Creative Warwick for me has always been about increased collaboration between societies, for the sake of having a greater impact, and as I’ve seen collaboration between societies, I’ve also seen it across Warwick as a whole. There’s so much that’s happening on campus that it’s really hard to keep up with everything, and I think Creative Warwick is a chance to encourage everyone at Warwick to start working together on big projects and seeing how big an impact they can have.” I ask whether she sees these projects as going beyond performance and theatrical societies. “Absolutely,” she asserts. “Societies do really interesting, broad, diverse stuff, so much of

which is creative even if it isn’t thought of as creative! For me, it’s about challenging the stereotype that creativity is all about performance. The word ‘creative’ has become owned by certain industries, so it’s about challenging that definition and making people see that they are creative, particularly… recently we’ve seen creativity in schools diminished, and

>> Images: Warwick SU

it’s worrying, because creativity is good for everything! It’s how we function to get things done to a high standard. People pigeon-hole themselves as uncreative, which made me think ‘no! Everyone can do this!’” So, I ask, if a student were to say ‘that looks really interesting, but I don’t have time because of

my studies’, how do you think you could say “this will actually be to the benefit of whatever you’re trying to pursue?” “In terms of time, the idea is that there is something for everyone, and by putting it all out there, it’s easier for them to find and explore the things that they want to involve themselves with. To be honest, it’s really just changing peoples’ way of thinking about creativity.” This intrigues me, and I ask whether Marissa sees Creative Warwick as a wellbeing venture as well as a creative one. “Yeah, definitely. In Term 3 we have the ‘mind’ and ‘natural world’ weeks, because during May and June people submitting essays and sitting exams. I hope that in years to come, Creative Warwick means we see more creativity in the curriculum We purposely put both weeks in the same weeks as the ‘Are You OK?’ days are happening, so that we can explore ways that creativity can help wellbeing – we’ll look at things like creative revision techniques, and making them very individually-focused, in the mind week. The natural

world week is more about people going outdoors and experiencing things in their study breaks, like outdoor dance classes and tai’chi. It’s so important to get those relaxing five minutes outside of the library!” “Another big aspect on the wellbeing side is focusing on how important diversity is to creativity. We want to look at different cultural events, so making a space for people to talk about different holidays and cultural traditions they celebrate – I think this is particularly important on such a diverse and international campus. We want to create the opportunity to showcase all of the different cultural events on campus, which I think is particularly important considering that One World Week doesn’t run anymore.” With that, the interview starts to wrap up, but I’ve one more question to ask Marissa; where do you see Creative Warwick going in the future? “I hope that in years to come, Creative Warwick means we see more creativity in the curriculum at Warwick, and as a part of Warwick’s strategy, fostering creativity, and for Warwick to be at the front of challenging traditional pedagogy.” Alexei Warshawski


Issue 6, Volume 39 - 11th January 2017  
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