CreativiTEA Rooms Programme: Week 2

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The Tea Rooms this week features Pete Stollery who will be “resident” on Tuesday to chat about uses of sound in creative and educational contexts, Renne Vincent-Hadley doing a practical creative drop in making good enough to eat felt macaroons on Wednesday, and artist Fiona Milligan Rennie and teacher Richard Gall talking about their collaborations at Kingsford Primary and the potential and pitfalls of partnership working on Thursday, all from 4 – 6 at Aberdeen Arts Centre. See you there!

Why Are You Here?

Last Thursday Paul Gorman and Katherine Morley had a cuppa and took time to reflect with a packed tea rooms, asking “Why are you here?”, chatting about Creative Learning’s Resonate project with the School of Education at Aberdeen University and looking at ways to share ideas around innovation and best creative practice in education. Conversation was stimulating and some of it was captured in Tea Rooms “Tweets” – you can read some of them below (click on the image/s to enlarge). Meeting new people to bounce ideas off and share ideas with, hearing new ideas and opinions, making new contacts, learning more about the arts in education, and finding out about other creative projects in the city were some of the top tweets….and of course the free cake…

Creativity in Education: Food for Thought

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Paul Gorman and Katherine Morley asked some key questions about creativity in education in their thought provoking keynote at the Aberdeen Learning Festival last week which we thought we would share here as food for thought in the run up to the CreativiTEA Rooms and the Arts Across Learning Festival:

  • “So what’s this thing called creativity and how can we best capture its power in the learning environment?”
  • “Can creativity help me see things differently?”
  • “Will creativity allow me to find new approaches to the challenges we face?”

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  • “Does creativity emerge from a shared experience or a new influence?”
  • “Can we practice and get better at being creative?”

Their presentation looked at the challenges we all face in taking risks, changing practice and using creativity in different teaching contexts, and they noted that it’s impossible to have a unified application of creativity in education, but offered suggestions of what it might look like:

  • Experimenting more
  • Adventuring into the unknown
  • Disrupting
  • Risk taking and failing
  • Placing value on the experience

They also shared some useful links from a variety of sources, more food for thought…..

People: Sugata Mitra; Susan Sontag; Richard Long; John Dewey; David Cameron (the real one)

Books: Dan Pink:  A Whole New Mind; Creative Scotland:  What is Creativity? Report (we will have some of these available in the Tea Rooms during the festival, come and pick one up!)

Web: TED talks; Shift Happens; CCE; Emporium of Dangerous Ideas

The Arts Across Learning Festival starts tomorrow and the CreativiTEA Rooms will be open Mon – Thurs 4 – 6 pm until 20 March. Come down to find out more about the festival and to chat with other artists, teachers, gallery educators and education practitioners of all stripes, about creativity in education or just about the cake. Hope to see you there!

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Integrated Children’s Services Workshop

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.

HABITS of MIND Eic Booth

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.

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