Archives for the month of: November, 2012

The key element across all the ‘Arts’ spectrum is ‘creativity’. By celebrating, valuing and maintaining prominent use of the Arts, as individuals, communities and societies we are allowing our cultures to develop and grow, to blossom. Sound too poetic? Why is creativity so important then?

Here are some answers from academics and business gurus acround the world:

Michael S. Brockman, University of California, Davis  and Stephen T. Russell, Ph.D., University of Arizona summarize the importance of creativity and their project Building Partnerships for Youth here:

Sir Ken Robinson

Creativity: It’s been maligned, neglected, and misunderstood… Here, creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for creativity as the crucial 21st century skill we’ll need to solve today’s pressing problems. Sir Ken led the British government’s 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements. His book, The Element (Viking Adult, 2009), looks at human creativity and education. He is also the author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative (Capstone Publishing Limited, 2001). In the UK Ken articulated what many artists and creatives had been trying to express about why the Arts was so important, he’s a regular at arts and cultural conferences because what he says makes absolute sense to so many people. I like this particular interview with Amy M. Azzam here:

Why is Creativity more important than Capitalism? by Haydn Shaughnessy

When I first came across this via twitter I laughed and expected this to be an academic paper, over alliterated with anocronyms and given a sexy title just to make sure people at least read the first paragraph but Haydn is a contributor to Forbes Magazine and started his writing career in broadcasting and then got involved in the EU’s attempt to create an ARPA-type unit, managing downstream satellite application pilots, at just the time commercial satellite services entered the market (I cant pretend to know what an ARPA unit is). He also wrote policy, pre the Web, on broadband applications, 3G (before it was invented), and Wired Cities. Haydn has written for the Wall St Journal, Times, HBR, and GigaOm, as well as producing TV for the BBC, Channel 4 and RTE. has written a paper on the Evolution of The Innovation Landscape and is a research fellow at the Center For Digital Transformation at UC Irvine.

In Asia Doug Pierce thinks the world needs to embrace creativity so the robots can get on with it:

and last but by no means least here’s a little thought from TED fellow Francisco Garcia:

The first question I am going to ask you:
What are you wearing?
Creativity is a discipline on it’s own. Like any other discipline it requires work.
To begin with “There are no rules.”
That’s the beauty of it. Creativity is Imagination, & with Imagination comes work. The true gold behind it is that it breaks down all walls, & dissolves fear. To be A Creative your first, & foremost important rule is “There is no errors. Only learning.”I am going to give you an example of the intended idea of what it means to be creative through two disciplines.
Writing & Music.
In writing we build words through the use of letters. In music we build chords through notes.

“Blocks that form a whole.”

We learn these basics in school. Now this is where Creativity kicks in. What does it mean to be Creative? Being Creative means bringing A Unique Perspective. “Individuality.” So let me transpose my creative imagination in between these two disciplines.
The word “Creative.”
Notice how I bring life, & emphasis into the word Creative by simply highlighting CREATE in Creative. Thus adding color to my wording. It’s important to know that no rules were broken simply bent. Now we transpose this CREATivE Theory to Music.
On A Guitar whether you’re playing a C chord, A Chord, or Em Chord. Notice all the single notes make up that particular chord. The Colors of each single note producing the overall Sound. Now I ask you to use your imagination of what I just showed you in my example in the word CREATivE.
Apply that to the chords, & you get what we know as Creativity.
Now do you see what I see?
Do you know realize why Art is Powerful?
& why Imagination, & Creativity will Reign.
So the next time you see Clouds.
I say “Let your Imagination Run Wild!”


An article by journalist Tom Jacobs for the Pacific Standard magazine on a new NEA-funded study by Kelly LeRoux of the University of Illinois at Chicago on the link between exposure to the arts and civic-minded behaviours and attitudes.

A reasoned article by Robert Hewison on why in an age of austerity we must neither neglect nor ignore the Arts

(click on the above link to open article in new window)

via The Art Newspaper

‘Disvalue’? An Illichian Case For A Cultural Value Discourse by Simon Ravenscroft.

A more academic perspective (click on the title above to see the original post) via @culturalvalue1 and

Learning through the arts and culture

We’ve been here before. In the eighties we saw the demise of Theatre-in-education companies and drama, art and music departments in state run schools as the Tory-led government tried to focus education on the 3 ‘R’s (Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic – hmmm). Needless to say the result was a generation of young people who came out of school in the nineties with poor literacy skills, low self-esteem and feeling generally disengaged from their local communities. The terms ‘At-Risk’ and ‘vulnerable’ became buzz-words. There followed a rise of young people entering the youth justice system, and a raft of both sports and ‘arts-based’ projects being rolled out nationwide in an attempt to stem the tide.

There is a lot of talk and research into the terms and meaning of the phrase *cultural value* and now there exists a growing body of international evidence into both the impact and value of the arts, most notably in well-being, mental health, learning and education. And yet, number crunchers and policy makers in today’s education system still don’t understand (or perhaps care, maybe their children are no longer in the education system and their grandchildren will be going into private school education?) that the presence of the arts in education is vital to a childs ability to access, process and make the most of their learning experience. By marginalising the arts, teachers and head-teachers are then forced to compete for budget to deliver and employ the arts within the curriculum. If forced to argue and justify their use of the arts within their schools and classrooms, the inference becomes that the arts are therefore of less value than other subjects that are classed as ‘core’ and need little or no such justification.

It shocks me both as a parent and someone who has worked for over twenty years with young people, in the youth sectors of both the arts and education . I have both formal and informal teaching experience, I was educated in a highly academic orientated grammar school, I understand that learning has to have structure and I also know that in order for learning to be possible the most vital aspects of education aren’t just the curriculum; they are also food, safety, and tolerance. Education in terms of challenging young people to achieve and strive is not about discipline alone, just as it can never be simplified to a curriculum that deals with only academic goals. The world is changing and we must indeed change with it. It’s been hard to be in the schools sector for over thirty years now and there is no doubt, particularly in light of economic fiscal belt-tightening that changes are still needed. I quote, (just in case Tory readers think I’m just blaming Tories!) the Chair of my daughter’s Primary School Board of Governors when I commented on the amount of emails detailing changes to policy and law being sent out from the Local Authority “As you can see, a minefield of ever-changing policies that tie up time and resources! (Labour introduced or revised over 900 education policies in their 10-year tenure – yes, nearly 2 per week)”. 

However, at the heart of all the politics and the rights and wrongs are ‘children and young people’. There is no doubt in my mind, the presence of the arts is vital at the heart of all curriculum topics, ‘creativity’ is the glue that takes the mundane and transfoms it. ‘Creativity’ is when learning times tables, for instance,  becomes possible because someone who understands about learning has turned ‘times tables’ from repetitive rote that slips out of the mind minutes after it went in, into objects, a visual feast a ‘lightbulb’ moment where a connection is made and the learning ‘sticks’. Across the board in education, learning is not just repetition or remembering the written word it is exploration, touch, connection, it is very different things to different people and cannot be achieved in any one way but a combination of ways, (ask an actor how they learn their lines and you will get ten different answers). Read here the London School of Economics and Political Sciences blog post by Greg Tate on the impact of culture on science and social science in the mid-ninteenth century It nicely encapsulates for me how the arts impacts on all other topics when valued and placed centrally within the curriculum. Learning through the arts and culture improves attainment in all subjects,  take it away, as was attempted in the 80s and you have no glue.

Further reading:

The Cultural Learning Alliance:

The Independent:

The guardian:

Archaeology National Trust SW

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Love Learning....

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Trade News in Brief

International Economic Affairs & Relations / Regional & International Organizations / Global Commerce & Business

Marcus Romer's Blog

Creative Director of ArtsBeacon UK


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The Geek Manifesto

Why Science Matters


Photographer who loves photographing people, life, quirky things, creatures great and small.

Not Banjaxed...Yet

give it time

The #culturalvalue Initiative

Reclaiming 'value' from the Econocrats


Active in promoting arts and culture

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