Self-isolation: an opportunity for creative retreat

jigsaw puzzle

by Janet Grist

With all the uncertainty around how the coronavirus will play out in our communities and the need to reduce contact with others, we will all have more time on our hands over coming months.
While we may be disappointed that a much anticipated festival, or play, musical performance, exhibition or sporting event has been cancelled, there’s an opportunity for us to get creative about how we spend our time at home. And for those for whom social isolation creates anxiety and depression, it pays to find ways to occupy our minds in enjoyable pastimes to lessen the feeling of missing out.
From the Bower has compiled a range of ways to occupy your time fruitfully and enjoyable while staying at home. And in 2020 we are fortunate to have the technological tools available to us to make an enforced retreat a much more enriching experience.

Virtual tours

Google Arts & Culture has a collection of more than 500 different museums and galleries up on its site that you can visit virtually. Clicking through will bring up images of some of the museum or gallery’s collection and in some cases full virtual tours. You can check out the massive list of available galleries and museums here:
They include MoMA, New York, Van Gogh Museum; Amsterdam; Uffisi Gallery, Florence; Musee D’Orsay, Paris; The Met, New York; Tate Britain, London; Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Santa Fe, Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh and the British Museum, London.
The Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington DC also has a virtual tour which you can find at:

In Australia
Our own cultural institutions also offer virtual tours. Here are just a few:
The National Museum of Australia:
Museums Victoria:
The Australian Museum
The National Portrait Gallery:

Browsing artworks

At you can view millions of artworks from around the world. Their collections include Contemporary Art, Post War Art, Impressionist and Modern Art, Pre 20th Century Art, Photography and Street Art.

Explore the world of MOOCs

The world of MOOCs – short for ‘massive open online courses’ – is booming. There are more than 10,000 online courses listed by 800 universities. Many are free and self-paced meaning it’s never been easier to go back to school. There are plenty of enticing offerings when it comes to the visual arts.
Major MOOCs platforms include:
Coursera –
edX –
Futurelearn –

Free online art classes also has a link to 10 free university art classes online:
You might be Interested in mastering a new, hands-on creative skill. You can learn to draw your own comics or capture artful digital photographs. Wish you could brush up on Art History 101? There are courses exploring the art and archaeology of ancient Egypt and the development of the artistic avant-garde.

Traditional arts and crafts

You may already be involved in the creative arts and crafts movement in which case you’ll be well equipped to while away a few hours in one of your current projects.

Other pastimes

Pastimes such as jigsaw puzzles, crosswords and other puzzles are a great way to distract oneself from daily worries and exercise the brain. Why not get all the family involved in an ambitious 1000-piece jigsaw, play charades or break out the playing cards for some good, old-fashioned entertainment?

You may also like...