Our role is not to “teach” Creativity, but rather to create a fertile environment in which Creativity can be engaged with across the layers of capacity, ability and practice. Through this we can reconnect with Creativity, enabling it to grow, to flourish and to shape the sustainable practices of our everyday lives.
Creativity is one of those crucial C's that countless individuals and organisations recognise to be a vital component of the Human tool kit moving forward. To tackle some of the seemingly insurmountable 'challenges' present in the now and not to distant future does require creative approaches and a creative (optimistic) outlook. So naturally we at Cymbrogi Learn recognise Creativity as one of our Core Four areas of Knowledge and Skills (Find Out More).
‘This fluidity of chaos of choice is sourced and played out in many if not all arenas of life (for example, the political, the economic, the social, the spiritual, the technological). The implications are far-reaching. There is an increasing need for school and teachers to support learners in making sense of and surviving in unstable and unpredictable surroundings, and for learning institutions to provide opportunities for adults to relearn appropriate knowledge, skill or competence throughout life…’
(Craft, 2015: 83)
The fact we have to draw attention to Creativity and our need to explicitly teach it, develop it and apply it ("look at me i'm applying the skill of creativity") is worrying. I'm not saying anything new here. Many before me have talked about the absence of Creativity within our schools and Curriculum and the lack of Creativity present in the practices of a huge swathe of the global population as if it is a lost art; perhaps it is. The need to 'locate' this lost Creativity has many advocates and chimes with our belief that a shift in societal focus is needed; from 'Competition to Collaboration, Consumerism to Compassion and Conformity to Creativity. '
Alongside this debate around our lost Creativity has been how to get it back, from explicitly planning for it, teaching it, assessing it (even the OECD and PISA are at it) to the opposing side, 'teacher, leave those kids alone' to develop creativity naturally. As with most things the best approach would be somewhere in the middle, but before we can start designing the method or methodology we need to be sure of what we understand as the 'Creativity Paradigm'.
‘like many human capacities, our creative powers can be cultivated and refined.’
(Robinson & Aronica, 2015: 119)
At Cymbrogi Learn we recognise that how we facilitate the development of Creativity in any learner, no matter the age, requires us to first get to grips with what Creativity is; a skill or mindset, disposition or attitude, approach or capacity. Creativity is a multi-dimensional and a rather complex human phenomenon. Over the centuries attempts have been made through theological and scientific traditions to quantify and qualify the origins of and features of creativity.
As a species we are born with an inherent Creativity (where this lies within us - Head, Hand, Heart - who knows), yet we have an innate capacity for creativity which can be as easily activated as it can be deactivated. So the fist challenge is how do we ensure that the conditions exist that enable this innate capacity to be activated. Once activated the second consideration is ability. We have an ability to be creative, one that can be developed over time through instruction and experimentation. We need to create the conditions to hone these skills. Finally we need to have the opportunity to put this capacity and ability into action, to practice Creativity within multiple context to truly harness the potential of this unique Human superpower.
So our starting point is with our capacity for Creativity. To recognise it's features and consider how our capacity can be activated. By reflecting upon the influences upon our capacity, our past experiences, current circumstances and future goals we can think more about the internal and external, the incentives, emotions and volition at play. We take pause, create space and deeply reflect upon this in order to better understand our intrapersonal and interpersonal relationship with this capacity.
Our role is not to “teach” Creativity, but rather to create a fertile environment in which Creativity can be recognised and engaged with across the layers of capacity, ability and practice. Through this we seek to reconnect with our Creativity, enabling it to grow, to flourish and to shape the sustainable practices of our everyday lives.
So why not join us at Cymbrogi Learn, online or onsite at our inspirational Cymbrogi HQ in Pembrokeshire, and become a member of a growing community of thinkers and doers in the field of 'Sustainable learning for a sustainable future.'
Rob Gratton is Director of Cymbrogi Learn and lecturer at both the University of Portsmouth and University College London specialising in systems of Collaborative Activity.