The passing of a great man or woman is always cause for reflection. I never met Ken, but such was his affable personality and presence on the internet, I almost felt I knew him. I have watched many of his recorded presentations to live audiences and he had a wonderful gift of making you feel he was talking to you, often posing questions after he had shared a thought to check that you felt that way to. There is a reason that his talks are watched by millions and its because what he says resonates with what we also believe.
Through his humorous personal anecdotes and carefully crafted stories he caught our attention and imagination and conveyed his wisdom. This style of communication was as effective in his books as it was in his much loved TED talks. He was a performer, entertainer and persuasive public speaker and did, perhaps more than anyone else, explain why education needs to make the development of learners’ creativity a priority if we are to cope with the unimaginably complex, uncertain and turbulent world we will have created in decades to come.
Ken’s unique contribution was to give creativity a voice: a voice of reason that transcended cultures and systems, a voice that made sense to ordinary people, to teachers and academics working in education, to business leaders and to the politicians that Govern us, who ultimately, are responsible for the target and assessment-driven education system we have created for ourselves. He spoke in clear, forceful, truthful and compelling ways that brought about changes in the ways we understood and valued creativity in its many forms and contexts. In doing these things he gave others the confidence to do these things for themselves.
Ken’s untimely death is a great loss to all of us who care about creativity in education but through a life well lived, he has created a wonderful legacy of ideas, writings and recorded talks that will be embodied in the things we do and inspire generations of educators to come. Indeed, this magazine and its open exploration of creativity in order to gain deeper understandings that can inform educational practices, is a concrete manifestation of his values and ideas that enthuse every member of the Creative Academic and #creativeHE community.
After I wrote these words I spent several hours browsing some of his youtube recordings ofwhich there are many. It made me realise that because of these recordings and the things he said he has, in some way, become immortal.