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Hello everybody,

Our very first #creativeHE meet-up will be on the 24th of October at the University of Salford. Our colleagues Neil Withnell is helping us organise this with further colleagues. The registration will be available from next week. We hope to start at 12pm and be together until around 3pm or a little bit longer ;).

We are open to your ideas and suggestions.

All welcome, staff, students and the wider public.


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For Creative Dissection!

Dear colleagues,

The EducART Project ( is sponsored by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the city of Montreal, and the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec. It is designed to help high-school teachers create learning activities based on visual arts.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the CEGEP system in Quebec, each college was invited to choose an artwork from the museum’s collection and propose a learning activity inspired by it. Representing Vanier College, I created the video Art, Science & Perception. Here is the link:

I thought you might like to see it.


Jailson Lima
Chemistry Department
Vanier College
Montreal, QC

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Dear friends,

I discovered Paul's inspirational talk Telling Tales and am sharing this with you here. He raises some important issues. Would love to hear your thoughts, for example about about the lack of discussions around "creative sciences" and that we do with creative people who don't fit in...

Thank you for sharing with us all Paul.


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Hi there everyone,
I've just joined this community as I run the MA 'Creative Education: Making Learning' at Plymouth College of Art. It's our first year, and we are exciting to start with a very diverse group of artist-educators. There are a few places left for a October start, part time programme over two years. Feel free to get in touch for more information. Looking forward to meet some of you at the #creativeHE Meetings to exchange ideas and practices!

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Insight versus Analysis!

Just had a few words published in this week's 'New Scientist' magazine. It was in 'The Last Word' section where readers send in questions, and anyone can write in with an answer.

The question was about what is going on when we get stuck in meeting a challenge (in this case solving a cryptic crossword puzzle), and then after having a break from it, we are able to make much greater progress when returning to it?

In answering the question I discussed what is known as 'Incubation' where we are allegedly still working on the problem in the background of the mind when we take a break from it. Incubation has never been proven by neuroscience, but studies have shown there are two distinct modes of thinking (and these are not at all related to the over-simplified view of brain hemispherical specialisation) when tackling a challenge. These are called 'Analytical thinking' and 'Insightful thinking' and are associated with different behaviours.
When we focus on a challenge we tend to default to analytical thinking where we break the problem up into chunks, and then with the help of mental associations (creativity-lite) and earlier experience and knowledge, we re-construct the separate parts and arrive at a solution.

Insightful thinking however is more introspective, and draws more on a deeper form of creativity over which we have no volitional control. What we can do however is learn to switch off the analytical process, and in so doing an insight may or may not appear. Time and a changing environment are ways of out-witting analytical thought. That's why it's important to physically get away from the challenge, and do something different, especially if it involves physical activity. By distracting the analytical process insightful ideas can sneak through. When we have insights it's important to record them instantly otherwise minutes later all we remember is that we had an insight!

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NEW! #creativeHE combines offline & online conversations and activities

#creativeHE is an open collaborative community for creative and innovative practitioners growing out of the Greenhouse initiative that operated from 2014-2016 at Manchester Metropolitan University (Nerantzi, 2016) and the online #creativeHE community at through which a series of online events and courses have been offered by the Centre for
Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University in partnership with Creative Academic and facilitators from a range of institutions nationally and internationally. In the coming year we will continue connecting, collaborating, experimenting and learning together online, what is new, is the addition of gatherings locally, initially in the NW of England but ultimately anywhere there is an interest and we are welcome.

This initiative aims to support pedagogical rebels and free-thinking innovators in experimenting with, developing, sharing and getting support for novel learning and teaching ideas as well as initiate and disseminate research activity around these that have the power to transform the student and staff experience within and beyond institutional boundaries.

This community is open to anyone who would like to join, academic staff, students and the wider public. All who have an interest in creative and innovative approaches to teaching and helping others learn.

We plan to meet physically on a monthly basis, each time at a different institution. During our gatherings, we will have the opportunity to get to know each other, share and grow new ideas, take risks and support each other in our creative adventures, experiment and play, as well as test and develop pedagogical ideas and identify ways to take them forward.

We will continue using the #creativeHE online community space which now supports and connects a global community of over 600 people. Furthermore, this space will offer additional opportunities for professional development through online discussions, events and courses that are organised through #creativeHE, the Creative Academic and the wider academic community. The openly licensed #101creativeideas project will help us collect and share our ideas and the pedagogic innovators project (#pin) to engage in related research activities.

Our monthly local gatherings will be half days. We welcome institutions who would like to participate in #creativeHE events by organising a local gathering. All we need is a flexible space for up to 30 individuals.

We suggest that each gathering features time for socialising. As the gatherings will all be free and open, we encourage each participant to bring a gift of food and/or non-alcoholic drinks to share with other participants. Homemade and more healthy contributions are very welcome as are foods from different cultures. In this simple way we aim to encourage sharing of the many cultures that make up our society.

The institutional contact will coordinate the monthly gathering and a booking system will be in place through CELT at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Our first local gathering will be in October at the University of Salford. More details regarding this will follow.

If you would like to become a creative champion in your institution, please get in touch with us.

We are really looking forward to seeing you again online and locally,

Chrissi and Norman on behalf of the #creativeHE team


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I hope CreativeHE members will consider an online video conference opportunity next month and I'm inviting you to sign up and join in if you can. This Collaborative Exploration allows you to work on a topic and share your project based on it. It would be great to see you and have a conversation beyond the posts and comments--I recommend it to foster your creativity. It would also be very cool to have you meet some of the creative educators in the US who are interested in new ways to learn and transform education so that we can network even more.

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This is a UK thing I'm afraid, and possibly only for England and Wales, but according to an email that I received today, the arts-excluding EBacc suffered a serious setback on Thursday 🙂.

The lack of evidence behind the EBacc and the harmful impact it is having on the uptake of GCSEs in creative, artistic and technical subjects were raised in the House of Commons and then put through a bruising two-hour debate in the House of Lords.

Almost every single member of the House of Lords speaking was opposed to the EBacc in its current form. And there are some interesting points made about creativity in our schools.

The text of the full debate is available word for word in the House of Lords Hansard: (and, from what I have read of it, a good, orderly debate with none of the noise and rancour that debases what we see of debates in the House of Commons).

More information about this EBacc issue is available at:

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Dear fellow educators! Could you please help me find a reliable description of creativity principle? A link or a name would be great!
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