The creative future and COVID-19

For current official guidelines regarding the COVID-19 response in New Zealand, please refer first to

For the creative community, the response to COVID-19 has meant cancellations of events, projects and applications, and greater uncertainty with regards to income and the future of work as a creative. FutureMakers is founded on the belief that the creative ingenuity of students and grads from the University of Auckland’s Creative Arts and Industries faculty will shape the global future.

This page is a launchpad for our creative spirits to recover, reconnect, and begin to shape that future. We welcome your input and feedback, kōrero mai (contact us).

Your own oxygen mask

It’s normal to feel stressed, overwhelmed, anxious or simply “off” during this time of uncertainty.

The way we live is being significantly impacted, and while we are encouraged to maintain our normal routines and work or study from isolation where possible, it’s important to first take care of our own wellbeing first, or our own oxygen mask. Here are some quick ways to take care of the four dimensions of wellbeing:

Physical – take some exercise.
If you don’t normally exercise, start small. Take a walk around your local area and tune into your senses. What can you see, hear, and smell? How does moving your body make you feel?

Mental and emotional – practice healthy thought patterns.
In times of stress it is easy to let anxiety overcome us. Try a guided meditation which will help you to understand how to control your thoughts and take care of yourself.

Here’s a ten step guide from The New York Times, you can also find them free on YouTube or download an app designed for this purpose.

Social – connect with others.
If you are struggling to connect with your friends or family, you can try forming new relationships online or reach out to public services for support.

Spiritual – reflect on your beliefs.
Whether you belong to a religion or not, everyone has spirituality. Consider what is important to you in the larger picture. Think about how your more immediate actions connect to your beliefs and values.

Via myheartsremedy on Instagram


Exploring Wellbeing – this page covers the FutureMakers workshop on wellbeing for creative students, and includes what wellbeing means as well as further links on who you can reach out to for support.

Creative Resilience – creative people have always faced challenges. This FutureMakers page has a guide on how to use a creative process to overcome challenges in pursuit of your goals.

The Creative Independent – “A growing resource of emotional and practical guidance for creative people, published by Kickstarter, PBC.”

5 stress-relieving activities recommended by art therapists that you can try at home right now (

1737, need to talk? – Free call or text 1737 if you need someone to talk to, a trained counsellor from the national mental health and addictions helpline will respond.

MusicHelps, Āwhina Puhoro – Information and resource page for musicians and those in the music industry from MusicHelps.

DANZ (Dance Aotearoa New Zealand) are also producing a resource page for those working in dance.

PANNZ (Performing Arts Network of New Zealand) have a resource page including recording of their monthly online hui (meeting), and a round up of arts media content relating to COVID19.

Creative connections

Creative practitioners of all levels of experience are connecting, collaborating and discussing what the impacts of COVID-19 mitigation measures are on their practice and livelihood. Here are some suggestions on where to stay in touch, or to discover new opportunities to connect:

The Big Idea – Te Aria Nui
TBI is all about creative connections in Aotearoa New Zealand and their stories section has a special area covering the creative industries and COVID-19.

AA(e)-C(19)C – Aotearoa Arts and Events during the COVID-19 Crisis
This Facebook community has sprung up to allow creative people to connect, share experiences and support each other during the COVID-19 response.

Mana Moana Creatives
“A COVID19 relief page for our Mana Moana Creatives in Aotearoa, Te Moana nui a Kiva and the world. Artists supporting artists. This group page has been set up to support our creatives who may need day to day, emotional, mental, spiritual support throughout this period.”

He Waka Eke Noa – Māori Performing Arts Organisations navigating Covid-19
This public Google Doc is being updated with resources for creatives with a Māori/Pacific view. The information is accessible and applicable for all and includes a great guide to applying for funding assistance.

Live Streaming Arts
Facebook community centered on live streaming arts online. Includes how-to, discussion ideas and shared experience for arts practitioners.

“NetBehaviour is an open email list community for sharing ideas, artworks, and knowledge; posting events & opportunities in the area of networked distributed creativity, and for facilitating collaborations between artists, academics, soft groups, writers…” 

How creative people come out on top

Creative people solve problems in new ways, and as the world shifts in response to the global pandemic, creative thinking has the opportunity to thrive.

In our creative practice, we all have setbacks and challenges to overcome in order to develop the resilience needed to persist.

What’s in your toolbox? 
What skills, resources and networks do you have access to that you can leverage? For more guidance on this, check out point number 3 in our guide 15 steps to a paying client.

Spot an opportunity
Opportunities arise from need. Keep looking for needs you can fill using the skills and resources you have in areas that resonate with you. You might keep a list in your journal of needs you notice and over time, one will “click” for you.

Learn as much as you can
Once you know what need you want to fill, find out all you can about it. Find people who experience this need. See if any other solutions exist – how are they succeeding or failing at addressing this? This is also a good time to talk with your networks and uncover relevant connections to help or collaborate with you on your solution. You might also discover a solution in the works that you believe in and choose to offer your skills to another project!

A creative solution
In learning more about the need or gap you wish to fill, you might have already started thinking of ways you can solve it. Now is the time to flesh out your solution, drawing on the skills and resources you have in your “toolbox” and being mindful of what you need help with.

Making it
Depending on what your project, solution service or product IS, how to turn it into a reality differs. We can almost guarantee you will need to reach out to do this, so tap into those networks in your toolbox and ask for help.


Creative Freelancing: 15 steps to a paying client – this page was created to guide aspiring freelancers, but the process of identifying opportunity and how to fill it can be applied by anyone looking to create and innovate.

Digital Tools for Artists to Run a Remote Career During Coronavirus –

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Projects and inspiration

Internationally, artists continue to produce work through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a selection of where to find other creative people presenting their work online.

Silo Theatre Residency
On Instagram, Silo Theatre are hosting artists in residence who takeover their story for a week. Applications for the programme are closed, but the project continues.

The catalog of local artists to be featured in the SUPA CUBA DUPA exhibition in Wellington are online, a fabulous local visual arts showcase. Poster for SUPA CUBA DUPA festival The Social Distancing Festival
This project showcases projects from artists all over the world. It’s a treasure trove of visual arts, dance, music and theatre work.


#CovidCreativesToolkit – this collaborative project on Google Docs links to digital tools for creatives. Most are internationally applicable and include gathering spaces, organising and creation tools, learning, guides, events, wellbeing resources, opportunities and how COVID19 impacts creatives. It’s a comprehensive evolving resource by and for creative people.

Creative Prompts for Art Projects During Social Distancing –