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What is Creativity?

What is creativity? How does it relate to things like problem-solving, risk-taking, impulsiveness and excitement? I talk to some highly creative individuals in this special episode, part of a series of three 'Mastering' documentaries. This little documentary, part of the Mastering Creativity strand of the HC Masterclass series (hcmasterclass.com), introduces three successful, creative individuals taking very different paths in life, and tackles these questions – and more.


What's the point of empathy?

Is empathy important in business? Is it possible to have too much empathy to be successful? What's the connection between empathy and power? This little documentary, part of the Mastering Empathy strand of the HC Masterclass series, introduces three successful, creative individuals taking very different paths in life, and tackles these questions – and more.


Alex McLean – creating communities and interference patterns

Alex McLean is a well-known artist, musician, researcher, and coder based in Sheffield. He is the creator of Tidal Cycles, free software for writing music, and is one of founders of live coding and the algorave phenomenon. Alex actively builds communities in the areas that interest him, and in this episode we talk about some of the events, festivals and groups he's been instrumental in developing, including Algomech and Dorkbot London. He's also an academic researcher on the Penelope...


Creativity Clinic 21: Four ways to keep motivated in an age of freelancing, procrastination and the gig economy

The world has changed since I last talked about motivation. More than ever, we're addicted to devices, addicted to YouTube, addicted to interrupting and derailing our thoughts – addicted scuppering our plans in favour of a quick hit! For those in a motivational rut, here I lay out four simple ways to get you back on track. 1) Pretend you've got a boss 2) Childlike rewards, tiny changes 3) Set the scene for the activity 4) Focus on the now, not the future


Creativity Clinic 20: One creative branding tip, and how I'm rebranding this podcast!

I used to think that branding was about coming up with the story we'd like to tell, but now I think it's more about uncovering the story that's already there. In this special extra-long Creativity Clinic, I talk about a practical technique that has helped me to work on the Hack Circus podcast brand in the run-up to the next series of this show, and give some hints of what's in store.


Nathan Geering – accessibility innovation through beatboxing and b-boy dancing

Nathan Geering is a dancer, teacher and innovator known for his work with visually impaired people. He has created dance that's accessible for visually impaired people to both watch and participate in, and has begun to develop a beatbox shorthand system as an alternative form of audio description for movement. Nathan was the Artistic Director for the Special Olympics in 2017, and has a great TEDx talk online which I recommend watching as a follow-up to this podcast. In this chat, we...


Creativity Clinic 19: The value of paying attention in an attention scarce world!

The world is a rough place at the moment. One easy way we can improve it for ourselves and those around us is by upping the quality of our interactions with people. If we really listen, if we really read emails, if we really look for the meaning in the messages we receive from the people who communicate with us, we will set ourselves apart from most others. The trend is towards not reading long messages, not clicking links, missing details, not bothering to reply, and imagining we'll just...


Creativity Clinic 18: The waiting game – gambling on the big gigs

It's the summer... no one's replying to email, everyone's busier – or more on-holiday – than I am. In this episode, I talk about my current situation, which right now is all about waiting. If you've had some success in the past, it's not because you kept gambling on high stakes gigs, it's because you kept producing quality stuff. If you find yourself waiting back on a load of promises, I recommend putting the things you can't work on yet out of your mind, and using the time to develop...


Maggie Nolan – 'Applied Improv' for consultancy and corporate workshops

Maggie Nolan is a consultant and trainer, bringing techniques from improvisation practice into businesses. She launched her agency Start With A Yes over a year ago, combining years of experience of teaching and performing and applying them in a fresh context – to business. In this chat we discuss the improv scene in the UK, how long-form improv works, and the range of reactions to 'applied improv' – particularly when it turns up unexpectedly in your office. We also chat about the...


Creativity Clinic 17: Prioritising Ideas

This week I take on a listener's question about prioritising ideas: how do we decide what's most important? Is it better to do dig into one big thing or skim lots of little ones? In this short episode, I suggest it might be all about values, explain why I'm not really an artist, and consider how long-term working can be complimented by 'slight' ephemeral work. I also draw on the wisdom of previous HC podcast guest, Nadia Kamil. Get in touch if you have any questions around creativity,...


Sara Green – choreographing science

Sara Green is a dancer, choreographer, movement director and film-maker. She's collaborated with artists and other performers across theatre, film, fashion and dance. Her recent work includes Richard Ayoade’s vignette for Radiohead, short film The Entertainer starring Toby Jones, and Anita & Me, a world premiere for the Birmingham Rep. In this chat, Sara talks about the differences between working with dancers and non-dancers, and explains how she communicates movement to actors who don't...


Creativity Clinic 16: Time and Art

This week's question was about how artists deal with time: do we let the available time decide how 'big' a project is; is that a valid constraint? How do we understand the value we place on time, outside of the monetary value our society attaches to it? And what about our lifespan, health-span and energy-span? How do these incredibly persuasive influences affect things? I have a go at tackling some of these issues in this short episode. Look out for the interview episode as usual on...


Ben Moor – clever and funny storytelling in one-man shows

Ben Moor is a seasoned and innovative storyteller with multiple Edinburgh shows under his belt – mostly one-man shows. Ben's work is sensitive and often surreal, as he challenges the audience to follow him on journeys through worlds peppered with delightful ideas. We chat about Ben's shows, the benefits of doing Edinburgh runs, how the Fringe has changed between generations, where ideas really come from, how to learn lines, and more. We also leaf through his enormous file of ideas. Ben's...


Creativity Clinic 15: Wellbeing and Making

Making and wellbeing are linked. While it's known that making things improves your mood, I argue here (entirely unscientifically) that you can't make yourself make stuff until you feel like you have some energy to spend. So: getting creative can improve an already OK mood, but it's hard to get off that first block, especially if you've been battling mental or emotional problems that drain all your energy and make any kind of extra activity seem absolutely out of the question. The good news...


Sophie Rochester – digital storytelling and the welldoing movement

Sophie Rochester is a creative entrepreneur of significant standing, appearing on numerous lists of top business people in her industry. She is known for always being one step ahead of industry trends, and taking her ideas in bold and ambitious directions. Sophie has a background in publishing, and founded The Literary Platform: a consultancy and online magazine that bridged digital and storytelling, and investigated the lessons of this union. An advocate of both making and learning,...


Katie Day – Making innovative theatre

Katie Day is the Director of Birmingham-based theatre company, The Other Way Works. She creates exciting and innovative experiences for small, highly-engaged audiences, and often deploys technology in interesting ways. Her work often uses the real world as the set, with productions set in hotel rooms, car parks and even the audience member's home. Katie's latest production, A Moment of Madness, will be showing at Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF) from the 2-4 August. Amongst...


Creativity Clinic 14 – Inspiring books

What kinds of books give us ideas? Do we even get much emotional inspiration from books at all? This first Creativity Clinic of the new series is a personal reflection on some of the things I've read that I've have influenced my work, and which, sometimes many years after reading, I still draw strength and inspiration from today. Please send in your questions or ideas for Creativity Clinics to @hackcircus on social media or editor@hackcircus.com – remember they don't need to be direct...


Adam Tandy – making TV: the Detectorists; Inside Number 9; the League of Gentlemen

Adam Tandy is a TV producer, director, writer and much more, working on some of the best shows and with some of the top stars of our era. We discuss some of the joys and challenges of making the hugely successful Reece Sheersmith/Steve Pemberton series Inside Number 9, as well as The Detectorists and the League of Gentlemen anniversary episodes. We also ponder what the tone of comedy is, in the late 2000s, and the impact of social media on storytelling. Libsyn feed (browser) iTunes...


Luke Jennings – Killing Eve author, dance critic, former dancer

Luke Jennings is the creator of the hit TV series Killing Eve, about the mutual obsession between an MI6 agent and a female assassin. He was also, until recently, the dance critic for The Observer newspaper, and worked as a professional dancer in his youth. We discuss the process of writing Killing Eve, sexism and bias in the dance world, and how seeing women empowered through dance has inspired his writing. Luke on Twitter Luke's Wikipedia page Watch Killing Eve on iPlayer Libsyn feed...


Hazel Findlay – elite rock climber and coach

Hazel Findlay is a top professional climber, constantly touring the world in search of new adventures and breaking records. In recent years she has been working as a coach, helping climbers of all abilities to overcome their fears and progress to the next level. Some of the subjects covered in this chat include idea of mastery (as opposed to competitiveness), the mental health benefits of climbing, coaching as a kind of giving back, how climbing is similar to public speaking, and how...