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#creativeHE Monday 22nd Jan to Friday 26th Jan - But Say HELLO now:

Hello everybody,

A warm welcome to #creativeHE. It is lovely that you decided to join us for the next five days. We hope #creativeHE will be valuable for you and your practice. Together we will explore some ways to transform learning and teaching in higher education into creative practice to foster creative learning.

The plan for Monday until Friday is
Day 1 Creative induction, introductions: belonging
Day 2 Spicing up learning in the classroom (campus-based, blended and fully online)
Day 3 Extending creative learning outside the classroom
Day 4 Assessment and feedback that works (better)?
Day 5 Reflecting on the week and moving forward.

Get Ready
Could you gather some clean recyclables (plastic bottles, tin cans, string, paper, cardboard boxes…) ready for our first activity on Monday? Feel free to take a picture of your goodies and share in the #creativeHE community or Twitter using the hashtag.

Get Active
Access this Google community,, our #creativeHE hub, regularly during the week and fully participate in the activities and share your thoughts with others.

Get Reflective
Use a portfolio to capture your learning during the week. You might like to create a beautiful physical journal or sketchbook - or utilise online posts, using Padlet, Pinterest, VoiceThread, WordPress.
Share your reflective sketches, drawings or online posts back with us through the #creativeHE community and/or Twitter using the community hashtag #ceativeHE.

Get Credit
You might also be interested in submitting evidence to claim a participation badge. The #creativeHE community badge is available to you all. Can you find the page through which you can claim a badge?
Colleagues at LondonMet registered on the PGCert or MA Learning and Teaching in HE might wish to use this course to develop ideas for their Project and will be able to reflect on the experience as part of their Negotiated Study Module.
Colleagues at Manchester Met registered for one of the FLEX modules will be able to use this course to evidence CPD and reflect on the experience for up to 30 credits.

Get Going
Day 1 of #creativeHE is on Monday ;-) Until then, please use the time to familiarise yourself with the week ahead:
* have a good look around the community where this message is posted
* say hello to others in a creative way you haven’t used before:
- try a collage: Using words and/or images from just one newspaper or magazine, create a collage that says something about your creative approach to teaching - or your approach to creative pedagogy.
* Take a picture of your collage and upload it to the Google+ group.
* Feel free to ask any question you might have linked to the course.
* Readings will be suggested day by day.

And finally: We wish you all an enjoyable, stimulating and fruitful time at #creativeHE. Use this as an opportunity to reflect on your practice, experiment, play with ideas and connect with colleagues and students in this distributed community.

Let’s open our minds to new (im)possibilities!

Sandra, Chrissi and Norman

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+Norman Jackson +Chrissi Nerantzi +Sandra Sinfield Thak you for organising this event.
Hello, everyone. I hope to be able to dip into the conversation during the week. I have put together this collage to show what I have been doing recently in the field of postgraduate education (a rare privilege for me these days!) Those of you who know me will be more familiar with me in my role as founding member of Lifewide Education, and executive editor of, and regular contributor to, both Lifewide and Creative Academic Magazines. I am theoretically retired from my professional life as an educator and researcher in the field of education, but keep myself involved in teaching children in KS1-4 outside school hours.
This week, I was able to bring together my love of teaching, with my research on wellbeing - originally with Norman at the University of Surrey, and since then developed through a global survey in my capacity as International Advisor on Education and Wellbeing for a mental health charity, Centre for Applied Research and Evaluation International Foundation (careif). In 2016, we joined forces with the World Psychiatric Association and I led a qualitative on-line survey, the results of which are now housed in the libraries of the Houses of Lords and Commons. You will see that my image contains references to theories of wellbeing, the report and relevance of wellbeing to mental health.
This brings me to other elements of my image. I write as an ‘expert by experience’ of mental illness over sixty years. Together with my husband, a consultant psychiatrist, we have a website and work towards destigmatising mental illness through our respective work with careif and our independent contributions to international conferences e.g. World Cultural Psychiatry, World Federation for Mental Health. As a practising psychiatrist, he teaches his junior doctors and colleagues from other disciplines. This allows me to use my pedagogical skills when we work of his teaching materials. I am also able to use my creativity as in the image where I have redesigned Kentucky Fried Chicken as Buddhism.
This culminated in our leading the British Medication Association’s monthly CPD event this week. It is available on the webinar, as indicated in another of the images. I began by talking about wellbeing and sharing some of my research findings. I also set up a copy of the careif questionnaire on our own website and invited those participating to complete it (anonymously) before or after the event. I was nervous of speaking about a subject that is often dismissed as non-scientific to a group of medical practitioners, but I am pleased to have received 34 returns to date. My initial analysis has identified some important issues, as illustrated in the two quotations I have included.
As always, in preparing for our presentations, I was introduced to new dimensions, in this case, the work of Viktor Frankl, which I wish I had read in you youth when my study of French literature resulted in a deep existential void in me. I include this in my image to represent its impact on me.
This, then, is a brief explanation of my collage. I hope it gives you some insight into what makes me tick and how I channel my creativity. I will keep a watch on this week’s conversation and join you whenever I can.

Someone posted recently about designing learning out-comes and curricula in Creativity, I came across this article and thought it may be useful.

Developing assessment criteria of a lesson for creativity to promote teaching for creativityThi Bich Lieu Tran; Thi Nhat Ho; Mackenzie, Sarah V.; Long Kim Le. THINKING SKILLS AND CREATIVITY; SEP 2017; 25; p10-p26 (AN 000410908500002)
In the 21st century, the development of students' creativity has become a significant teaching objective for school teachers. International research has found that teaching for creativity is challenging for a number of reasons. Teachers' limited understanding of creativity and of pedagogies of creativity is among the most common reasons hindering teaching for creativity. To promote teaching for creativity in Vietnam, Assessment Criteria of a Lesson for Creativity ( ACLC) was developed. It was used in guiding and assessing the teachers' preparation and implementation of lessons for creativity in a quasi-experimental design in one upper and one lower secondary school in Hanoi, Vietnam. This paper reports how the ACLC was developed and used in chemistry, history, language arts, and mathematics grade 10 classrooms at the upper secondary school in the 2015-2016 school year. Findings indicate that the ACLC effectively supported the teachers in their preparation and implementation of teaching for creativity at these Vietnamese secondary schools. Findings also indicate that specifically guiding the teachers in how to use the ACLC and giving them prompt feedback on their teaching for creativity is helpful in promoting teaching for creativity.

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Hello everybody, we have uploaded new photos from today's meetup at Salford Uni. Have a look at

Thank you everybody for joining us. Thank you Emma for demonstrating the use of Ketso and for hosting with Neil. The immersive room was impressive. There is so much potential there!!!

See you again in February where we will explore the creative use of open and social media ;)


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Check out @lfreid’s Tweet: able to join in? Check the time zone though.

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Hi All,

Hopefully some of you will have seen me or Mark Feltham talk about the maker community ( or Liverpool Makefest) or the LJMU Makerspace modules. As you may know I moved into Secondary and am about to launch the first Makerspace in a secondary School that builds projects into the curriculum. Very excited here is the launch party if anyone would like to come and any support would be VERY VERY welcome.

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the next facilitated iteration of #creativeHE starts soon. Please keep reading ;)

A warm invitation to join #creativeHE for 5 days this January! Open to all colleagues and students in HE and the wider public

We can never have enough creativity! We actually need more! Creativity will help us get through the bad times and create good times!

Participate this January from the 22nd to the 26th and explore together fresh, alternative and novel ways to transform learning, teaching and assessment into creative and diverse practice. Let’s make it a bit or a lot more stimulating! We can all do this! Just imagine how our ideas can grow and evolve when we share them and learn together!

#creativeHE is open and free to all. Jump into the Google plus community at and/or participate via our hashtag on Twitter. Most of the stuff is asynchronous so there is no excuse not to engage.

This time round Sandra Sinfield of London Metropolitan University, Chrissi Nerantzi of Manchester Metropolitan University and Prof Norman Jackson of Creative Academic are your facilitators and we are sure mentors will emerge from the community.

The plan for Monday until Friday, 22-26 Jan is:
Day 1 Creative induction, introductions: belonging
Day 2 Spicing up learning in the classroom (campus-based, blended and fully online)
Day 3 Extending creative learning outside the classroom
Day 4 Assessment and feedback that works (better)
Day 5 Reflecting on the week and moving forward.

We are of course, as always, very open to your suggestions as well and you will have the opportunity during the 5 days to really engage in what matters to you most.

Check out the Google+ community from Friday 19th January for suggestions on how to get involved and we will make further announcements via Twitter using #creativeHE.

Get Reflective
Why not use a portfolio to capture your learning during the week? You might like to create a beautiful physical journal or sketchbook – or utilise online posts, using Padlet, Pinterest, VoiceThread, WordPress – and share your reflective sketches, drawings or online posts back with us through the #creativeHE G+ community and/or Twitter using the community hashtag #creativeHE.

Each #creativeHE is freshly put together! So if you have been with us before, join us again and share your ideas, practices and dilemmas. Bring your wild imagination along! Surprise us and surprise others. Let’s make magic happen in our classroom!

See you very soon 😉

+Sandra Sinfield, Chrissi and +Norman Jackson

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Creativity and Spirituality?

I’ve seen little, if any, reference in these discussions to the relationship between creativity and spirituality*, and I thought I’d share what prompted me to think about it.

In 2004-6 as part of my research, I attended four international conferences on creativity in the hope of trying to better understand what it is, how it can be nurtured, and perhaps even where ideas come from. History is littered with theories on the origins of creative and insightful impulses. Even today, in spite of the advances in neuro-science, some people believe that inspiration is a gift facilitated by an external force or agency. This may be a muse (real or imagined), a god, and perhaps on the basis of ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ (referring to the lost battles of religion to science) - in New-Age parlance - ‘The Universe’.

The conferences, took place in the USA, Canada, Italy and South Africa and their content was a mixture of contributions from academia, business, the training community, free-lancers and people from the school of ‘make-it-up-as-you-go-along’. All of these events I was pleased to discover, were - apart from a few keynotes by ‘experts’ - entirely workshop based, and were occasionally lightly dusted with a measure of underpinning theory or evidence. That is to say the main emphasis was ‘learning by doing’, and this suited me because although it’s of value to study creativity, it’s more important to work with it, in order to see how it operates in ourselves.

The first event I attended was CPSI Conference which took place at Buffalo State University, USA and this was where Sid Parnes was still active in his late 80’s. Along with Alex Osborn (who coined the word ‘Brainstorming’ back in the early 1950s) they established the Creative Education Foundation (CEF) and CPSI conference is one of the main activities of this foundation.

The year I attended the CPSI Conference in 2004 was its 50th anniversary, and it was attended by several hundred people from different parts of the world. I talked with a lot of people there, including veterans who had been attending for several decades. I also learnt a lot, in spite of experiencing benign culture clashes with the humour of the mainly stateside workshop facilitators. I initially adapted some of the things I learnt at these conferences to my own work with UK and European universities and businesses. However after doing my own research on for example, idea generation in groups, and reading a lot more academic studies, I quickly changed my mind about what does, and does not work well in nurturing creativity in groups. This is at odds with some of the practices that were in use at CPSI and elsewhere, though things may have moved on since then. I also contributed to three of these conferences by presenting my own work, and in spite of deliberately avoiding humour, managed to get a few laughs!

One of the things that I hadn’t expected to find at these conferences - simply because I’d gone to research creativity - was the number of workshops on various forms of spirituality, and this included different kinds of self-help, therapy, personal development and New-Ageism. I suppose they could have all been bundled up under the term ‘personal development’ or even ‘human growth and potential’, but ‘spirituality’ seemed to be the common buzz-word for a lot of people making reference to these things. I was curious to find out how the creativity movement had been sustained over all this time, and why and when the spiritual bi-furcation had appeared. With regard to the latter, one of the milestones in the published history of CEF provided a clue. To quote from that history:

1978 – CEF publishes The Magic of Your Mind (Parnes), The Search for Satori and Creativity (Torrance), Way Beyond the IQ (Guilford), In Search of Human Effectiveness (MacKinnon), and Creativity and Psychological Health (Barron).

Here we see the convergence of two other areas of thought – spirituality and psychology – conjoined with the main theme of creativity.

Interestingly there is no other allusion in these historical milestones before or after, to terms like ‘Satori’, ‘Human Effectiveness’ and ‘Psychological Health’ (I’m not sure what ‘Way Beyond the IQ’ meant, but it may have signaled the development of ‘Emotional Intelligence’ and its equivalent EQ which became much popular after 1990 when the idea was introduced by John. D.Mayer. Nevertheless these two other strands of knowledge and experience continued to be part of future conferences, and given the conference attendees’ opportunities for cross-over, this was a fertile ground for the generation of new combinations in all three areas of interest. This process of combining - which is at the heart of creativity - is of course taking place everywhere given the ease of access to information globally, and we are living at a time of combinatorial explosions in most areas of life.

To find out why these two field of interest appeared at the conference we need only go back a few years earlier. In the 1970’s the earlier hippie movement of a decade earlier included a lot of imported spiritual teachings and practices from Eastern cultures, and some of these practices had been integrated much more widely into the social lives of many people in the West. These imports include Hatha Yoga and other body conditioning methods, meditation (as opposed to prayer), different schools of Buddhism and Hinduism, and a range of complementary health practices. When we examine some of the alleged attributes of the creative person, for example an ability to take risks, independent thinking, openness to new experiences, not inhibited by the pressure to conform, and mental flexibility, it’s no surprise that a conference on creativity was going to be receptive to the inclusion of spirituality, on the assumption that it might help one become more creative.

The popularization of spirituality can account for some of the new workshop themes appearing at the CPSI conference, and the others came from another source that was also converging with spirituality. The academic discipline of applied psychology that began in the late 19th century experienced a rapid growth of public interest when its various specializations reached out to education, health, business, industry and advertising. Testimony of the value of applied psychology to the general public was given in 1969 by the president of American Psychological Association, George Armitage Miller when he said: "the real impact of psychology will be felt, ... through its effects on the public at large, through a new and different public conception of what is humanly possible and what is humanly desirable." These words also chime somewhat with the aspirations of the spiritual community.

The growth of interest by the public in psychology resulted in the appearance of another generic branch in the field known as ‘Popular Psychology’ in the mid 1960’s. This term is often used disparagingly thanks to the work of amateurs who misunderstand and misinterpret serious research. This however is not to suggest that all of the psychology content at the CPSI conferences was from that stable, because some of the people who contributed were distinguished academic researchers working in various branches of psychology. However that doesn’t prevent the creative magpies from collecting the glitter and combining it with their own material.

Conferences apart, the aforementioned trend for integrating spiritual practices and popular psychological ideas and their combinatorial derivatives into the social life of Westerners continues today, but with a longer reach now into the modern workplace. Examples of this are the practice of mindfulness, training in neuro-linguistic-programming (NLP), and there is now even a movement in business known as spiritual leadership!

I attended a couple of the spiritually based sessions at CPSI, and - warm and friendly as they were - they only confirmed what I’d read elsewhere, about the perennial confusion between emotionality and spirituality. Suffice it to say there was a lot of hugging going on here.

The conferences I attended were a good place to continue with my research on creativity, and the spiritual content at these events also provided evidence in support of my growing understanding of what it is not. The conferences continue to run annually, but I haven’t returned because most of my thinking about what I had learnt about creativity underwent the same reversal I was experiencing earlier with regard to spirituality. None of this is to say there is an ultimate destination with understanding these things because times change, and new knowledge is constantly being created. I think that one of the benefits of a focussed study in these areas complemented by practice, is that it equips one with an improved sensitivity for filtering out what isn’t relevant, and for navigating more efficiently towards what can provide a better understanding.
* In a sense, spirituality is in part concerned with applying creative thinking to oneself. That is to say in observing how we think, and what limits us, and in seeking ways of overcoming our limitations. However whilst this is often placed in a therapeutic framework, I refer here to something different that refers to creative relationships with another person, a group of people, nature, places, etc and of course a Creator (if and how that may be conceived).
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