I’ve been working on my personal project for my final year of university. At the end of last year each one of us had to set a brief for ourselves to complete over the course of the next year, and I decided I wanted to focus on something educational. I suppose the sensible part of my brain wanted to do something with a cause and the 5-year-old part wanted to play with bright colours and be noticed for once.
But I started looking at talks by the fantastic Sir Ken Robinson, a man who has talked and written extensively about education, but more importantly creativity and its, rather awkward, relationship with education. I felt inspired when he spoke at a TED conference of a need for changing how we think about children and teaching them. For example, why is maths a compulsary subject, yet most schools don’t even offer dance or drama as a subject? Some children are born dancers and actors, yet their talent may fall by the wayside because they feel their talent is, in some way, less important a cause than the dorky bespectacled kid getting a PHD in Microbionomy (not a real thing, but it sounds clever). Additionally creative thinking is an essential skill for any individual. Whether you’re a scientist or a businessman, if you lack innovation you won’t get far. It’s why it’s become such a painfully overused word nowadays.
Watching this Ken Robinson talk felt like the perfect cause to drive a project, a call to arms. Of course the pencil is mightier than the swords, and swords are heavy and dangerous, so I jumped to my sketchbook. I started to devise and online childrens channel that would nurture creativity through play and participation, and show the value of creative thinking. I want to build a confidence in children who don’t feel they are creative, and if they are it isn’t important.
In another TED talk IDEO founder and chairman David Kelley talked about creative confidence and how it can stifle confidence, as you can peruse at your leisure in the video below.
This led me to find yet another TED talk in which author Elizabeth Gilbert gave a more personal and cathartic exploration of inspiration’s fleeting nature and the damaging effect our views on creativity can have on our work. Her conclusion is to enjoy creativity whilst it posseses us in some way, and when it doesn’t continue regardless, to not allow it to torment us, something she had found when writing a novel she was in the midst of writing when the talk took place.
She also spoke of how certain cultures percieved this moment of inspiration, this magical “EUREKA!” every creative person craves but so rarely recieves. This spontaneous moment of inspiration has so often been accredited to something divine, as if the person witnessing inspiration is witnessing a greater being in the world. It’s something that’s almost considered magic by some cultures. So when did we stop worshipping it? Why don’t we celebrate it anymore? Maybe this is creativity is something that children lose. It’s something intimidating, a test of our ability to catch this impossible force, whereas it should be something that is embraced. That idea formed the mission statement of what I wanted to achieve with this project. Inspiring a generation ain’t that hard, right?