#edbookfest: Will Gompertz: “We need to stop behaving like animals and start thinking like artists.”

gompertzWill Gompertz – Embrace Your Creativity and Improve Your Life? – 19th August 2015.

“The interesting thing is that the middle has gone,” begins Will Gompertz. There’s the mega (think Amazon), the impersonal, enormous and convenient beasts that we all use; then there’s the minute, authentic artisan (he talks of GAIL, which makes the best bread in London, to him). There are the behemoths, and those finding a way to do it on a smaller scale; to be okay is no longer okay.

There’s a digital revolution, and people believe we’re almost through it. “I’d say we’ve hardly begun,” counters Will. “In the 20th century, it took over the brawn; in the 21st century, it will take over the brain. Our relationship with technology will become increasingly frustrating.” It will continue to appear in new parts of our lives; Edward Snowden showed that by unveiling how our liberties were being curbed, privacy invaded – companies seemed to know more about us than we did ourselves.

“The industrial revolution led to the middle class, the digital revolution will lead to the creative class.”

“I think humans have got a fantastic facility called imagination,” he adds, something that no animal or machine has. Eventually we’ll start to perceive ourselves as artists: “in the 20th century anything could be art – in the 21st century anyone can be an artist.”

He talks through several artists and creative minds showing how they simply thought differently, citing that creativity is disruption of the brain; it’s two random thoughts crammed together, and finding the link is creativity. “One reason we travel is that we crave disruption. We get more if we do the same thing time and time again.”

“Artists are seriously curious,” says Will. “They ask questions all the time and are engaged with the world.” He turns to the current schooling system. “Young people learning facts and regurgitating them. Is that what we want? Facts should be the start, art school can be where they use facts how they want. Teach children how to think creatively.”

“Artists break the rules,” he presses. In an A-Level essay on Shakespeare, the man who created thousands of words to tell his story, if the student was to make up their own words, they’d fail.

He wants people to know that failure is okay, it’s nearly always plan B. “We need to stop behaving like animals, and start thinking like artists.”

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