January 27, 2020 by Stephanie McCleave

Freewriting, play and flow: Lessons from Banfield’s creativity workshop

To get our brains back into work mode after the holiday break, Banfielders took the day off from regular office hours for a Creativity Workshop at Bayview Yards’ Training Room.

Led by psychologist and creativity expert Dr. Eve Blouin-Hudon, the workshop provided a day full of freewriting, play activities and imaginative thinking. It was refreshing and light-spirited, and helped instil the idea that creativity lives within all of us, not just those in the creative department.

Here’s a summary of what we covered:

Freewriting

Forty notebooks, ranging from carnation pink to sandpaper brown, were stacked in neat piles on the front table at the beginning of our session. Throughout the day, we filled them with our thoughts (scattered as they might be) as we learned more about freewriting and the benefit of using it to clear our minds.

Many of us had done freewriting as a creative writing exercise, but didn’t know how it could fit into our work. Learning to let raw thoughts flow onto paper as a way of decluttering the mind was a helpful focus of this workshop. The only problem we found with this was the hand cramps – none of us were used to writing so  much!

Creating a play space to promote creativity

We were also introduced to using intuitive and practical tools to harness creative flow. Each table was supplied with an array of what would normally classify as kids’ toys: Play-Doh, Lego, coloured pencils and Rubik’s Cubes. Throughout the day we fiddled with and visually expressed ourselves using these items.

“It was cool to just ‘feel it out’ and be really intuitive without trying to solve anything, necessarily,” said Strategist Eleanor Beale.

We learned that play is a great way to keep creative ideas coming. It gives us the opportunity to explore different perspectives and be imaginative. Finding a space at work or home for just play (think puzzles, board games, ping pong, etc.) is important and should be made a priority. Now we just need to sort out what part of the office at Banfield is about to be renovated…

Flow

Do you ever get so focused on something that time seems to melt away? Or the sounds of the outside world just seem to disappear?

We learned that this is called being in a state of “flow”, where you lose your sense of self by being totally immersed in a task. It can be tricky to get into, and different things will get different people into it, but flow is a great way to clear our minds and focus on completing a specific goal.

Conclusion

Overall, the day was a success. It was a rare mix of fun, education and productivity. And most importantly, it reminded us how to push boundaries, play, delve into our own minds, and overcome creative blocks to get ourselves into that state of flow.

 

Photos taken by Dr. Eve Blouin-Hudon

 

 

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