We chatted for over an hour and around five themes.
1) The first was the idea that we are often at are most creative when we work closely with another person - which we visualised as a travelling companion.. Extending this idea to the group context perhaps if we travel together through the course we can be more creative than if we travelled alone.
2) Next we moved into the idea that physical spaces constrain or inhibit our creativity. In the context of HE environments there is a need to create spaces that are flexible enough to accommodate a range of pedagogies rather than constraining teachers to a particular pedagogy.. like a lecture room with fixed furniture.. There is a need for estates, technology people and teachers to work together to create the sorts of spaces that can be used in many different ways and therefore have greatest affordance for creativity.
3) The third theme came out of a question by N - what is the difference between creativity and innovation?.. we talked about this in terms of innovation being at the end of a developmental process which begins with an imaginative idea, progresses through a lot of activity to bring the idea into existence - eg research, design, experimenting, prototyping, refining... perhaps over and over again until the result of development, if accepted by others is viewed as innovation. Creativity doesn't just involve an imaginative and novel idea - ideas and their implementation occur throughout the development process. I explained that I had created a narrative picture to explain the idea of creativity in development (right) [I include the narrative below this blog as part of the introduction to the next issue of Creative Academic Magazine which will be on this theme.]
4) This led on to the fourth theme around the power of visualising words in pictures. We all had a story to tell that converged on the way in which pictures can give expression to people's voices and involve people in the creation of an image they can own. One of the reasons pictures are so powerful is the way they engage us emotionally as well as cognitively.
5) From this grew the idea that emotional as well as intellectual engagement is necessary for people to get the most out of working together. People have to feel heard. They needs to know that their perspectives and contributions are respected and valued. We talked about occasions where with our groups or our communities, emotion had been a really good fuel for group work. We also talked about the power of telling stories as a means of engaging people emotionally and the value of images and pictures in the process of creating narratives.
Out of this came the proposition that our group might be proactive in encouraging greater involvement through a weekly intervention aimed at creating greater emotional engagement perhaps around a picture with a story illustrating a principle or some perspective about creativity and inviting members of the community to offer their stories.. We could monitor the success of our intervention through the number and quality of posts and see whether new people were drawn into the conversation. Each week we could have a short discussion about the success of our intervention as part of a regular (Sunday evening?) conversation..
It was agreed that Roger would make a post to invite other members of the group to consider and comment on the proposal and Nikos would offer the first picture and story if the group agreed that this was a useful thing to do.
Next group discussion on skype Sunday 18th October.. 7.30pm???
Nikos and Roger please add any points you want to make in comments box
Explanation of the Creativity in Development picture