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‘Lockdown Lit’: a video anthology to keep creativity thriving

While lockdown is providing us the opportunity to explore creative endeavours we might not have otherwise had the time for, it can be difficult to find the motivation to actually get into it, especially if there is no one to share it with.

The Nothing in the Rulebook (NITRB) community have organised a way to keep our creativity flowing through a video anthology called ‘Lockdown Lit.’ It is made up of submitted work including anything from personal stories to essays. Accepting submissions until 17 April, the anthology gives people the opportunity to share their creations with like-minded people or those who just want to watch. Initiatives like this are so important, especially in a time like this, in order to bring us all together again, even if the majority of us are currently physically separated from our families and friends. It will help to restore a bit of normalcy to our lives.

When talking to Samuel Dodson, one of the founders of NITRB and former Warwick student, over email, I asked him a few questions about their projects.

First could you briefly explain what Nothing in the Rulebook is?

“Sure – it is a collective creative founded to support new and innovative creative projects, as well as provide a platform for aspiring creative professionals to express themselves through their work and their opinions. NITRB is really about saying, there should be nothing in the rulebook to stop you doing the creative things you want to do; in the case of #LockdownLit, there’s nothing in the rulebook that says you can’t create a video anthology in the middle of a global pandemic!”

What were your inspirations behind ‘Lockdown Lit’?

“A third of the world’s population is currently under lockdown and, while we live in a world generally inclined towards exaggeration and overreaction, we’re genuinely collectively living through something that is so unprecedented and utterly unfamiliar for nearly all of us.

“What’s interesting is how quickly you see people online really suddenly starting to recognise what we lose when we are suddenly placed in social isolation – and while we live in our digital media bubbles so much of the time, nothing can replace real connection with other human beings. So being on lockdown is tough for a lot of people – not least those involved in the creative arts sectors, where people are often freelancing (and so can’t just go ‘on furlough’, and end up facing really huge financial hits), and where lots of creative events – be they arts festivals, book launches, plays or gigs – have been (understandably) cancelled.”

Samuel then goes on to explain how ‘Lockdown Lit’ was inspired by the idea of bringing creative people together, despite the physical boundaries. It helps support writers or artists as well and will build upon the community NITRB has already created. Now more than ever, technology is playing a huge part in ensuring we all remain connected and so it makes sense to translate people’s creative work into video form.  

If the launch is successful, would you consider doing something like a video anthology again, not just for lockdown?

“Absolutely! I think the lockdown is showing two things really clearly; one is that we absolutely have taken for granted simple things like meeting people in person. I’m sure once the lockdown restrictions are eased, we’ll see a huge uplift in people getting together for creative events and spending time outside of their homes. There’s only so many times you can watch Tiger King while sitting on your sofa in your PJs without going totally stir crazy.

“But the other thing is that the lockdown has shown how great virtual technology now is for connecting people. The NITRB community is totally global – we’ve featured interviews, stories, articles and other pieces by people from Australia, throughout Europe and the USA, as well as India and Japan. And it seems like a really natural way of bringing this community of creative folk together.”

NITRB are always keen for new contributors and supporters – not just with Lockdown Lit, and provide a great platform for writers or artists to share their work. Video anthologies and other initiatives like this are a perfect way to ensure our imagination and creativity continues to grow. 

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