Dylan Kok is a 1st year international student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), pursuing a Masters of Education with a collaborative specialization in Knowledge Media Design. Prior to his studies in OISE, he graduated with a business degree from the National University of Singapore, and spent the bulk of his professional life climbing the corporate ladder in his home country of Singapore. After reaching a plateau in his career and personal development, he and his family decided to embark on a new journey; they decided to move half-way across the world in the summer of 2019, filled with wonder and excitement at starting a new chapter of their lives in Toronto. A few short months later COVID-19 struck the world, and like many others around the world, their lives were turned upside down. When the opportunity came to be a part of the EXC-19 project, he eagerly took it. It allowed him to work with many other creative minds, but also offered him a reprieve from the gloom and misery that came with the disruptions brought about by COVID-19. He hopes that this work can bring the audience the same joy as it did for him, continuing to embrace a new normal and hope for a better tomorrow.
Why did you get involved in this project?
I saw the project as a great opportunity to work with a diverse and creative group of individuals who, like me, had a story to share. The project was also interesting as contributors were able to work off each other’s ideas, while weaving their own feelings and emotions into the picture.
Did the one week turn-around for the work help or hinder your creativity?
The tight timeline actually helped me, because it forced me to focus and put aside all other distractions, which was difficult to do while dealing with the disruptions as a result of COVID-19.
How did you feel about working on a project where you didn’t know who you were collaborating with?
I found the idea slightly daunting initially, but found myself enjoying the process. The project provided space for both reflection and exploration of ideas, which I found to be quite rewarding.
Has being involved in the project changed your thoughts on creativity?
Yes. While individual and group creativities are often seen as contrasting aspects of idea generation, this project illustrates how both aspects can exist at the same time – individual creativity can be effectively harnessed by a diverse group to create a single piece of art.