On 30th September 2013 an Integrated Children’s Services conference took place at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. Called This Is The Modern World, the conference was an exciting opportunity for staff working with children in Aberdeen to find out about changes taking place to the way services are delivered to children and young people.
As part of the conference, and as the first in the series of funded CreativiTEA Room linked sessions, 4 half hour workshops on the theme of Future Proofing: Developing Resilience to Meet the Challenges of a Fast Changing World were delivered, led by Creativity Practitioner Fiona Milligan Rennie.
The Future Proofing workshops aimed to support individuals working with children in a range of settings to explore how they cope with change and how creative approaches, used across many fields, may provide useful tools. Using short games and exercises and a range of theatre, creative educationalist, NLP and creative writing techniques, participants were led on a 30 minute personal journey to reflect on just how they respond to feelings of change and how they can engender a sense of resilience in ever changing environments.
The short workshops looked at unlocking creativity in both children and those working with children and the value of the creative thinking process in addressing the challenges of the modern world. For those working with children, in a world where the rate of change is astronomical, a primary question is ‘How do we equip future generations to navigate a world we can’t envisage?’. How do we prepare children for the modern world? The workshops touched on the notion that a tool for the job is creativity, and that creativity isn’t just the domain of artists. The arts and creativity in education provide a valuable mechanism to support and develop creative thinking skills, innovation, adaptability, entrepreneurialism and problem solving skills, in both children and in those working with them.
The work of Eric Booth was touched upon, with his Habits of Mind highlighted:
‘These are the key processes, actions and attitudes activated when we invest ourselves in the flow of creating. These can be focused on and developed as habits of mind.’ Eric Booth
Talking about schools based education, Booth postulates that ‘…the single most potent school reform goal would be to place the highest priority on individual creative engagement, and to shape schooling to develop the habits of mind that constitute creative engagement.’ Although Booth here is talking specifically about schools, his framework of habits of mind could equally be used in many other settings where children are learning. You can read an in depth essay by Booth on habits of mind here.
The sessions ended with some general feedback and discussion. Although necessarily short due to the conference framework, sessions generated some interesting conversations, questions and food for thought. A good start to the knowledge sharing and conversations around creativity in education that the CreativitTEA Rooms hope to be a focus for over the next academic year.