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Welcome to the final day of our conversation. I’d like to make this a free-for-all and invite you to add anything to the debate you would like to in any form you would like to. Maybe you could post a sketch, or a physical model, photographic or video image or make a comment that:
• Conveys a sense of what the body’s relationship with creativity means to you.
• Explores the affordances in your teaching & learning contexts for helping learners to become more aware of the ways in which their bodies are involved in their creativity and the practices linked to the subject they are studying. You can illustrate an existing teaching and learning situation or imagine an entirely new situation.


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Sorry about the late timing of this post … I've just showered, eaten and recovered from a day in the garden. A lovely day, lots of little jobs done, and time to ruminate about this discussion (for which, thanks to all who took part and/or moderated and/or organised the week). But exhausting, all the activity, snip, snip, chop, chop, rake, rake, dig, dig … by the end I was slowing down and my thinking was getting affected as well.

My little patch is a bit like a lot of classrooms or whatever lecturers call the space where their students come together to learn/be taught. I'm not a trained gardener, looking back on it I picked up what I know from my Dad who had the confidence to do it well and the odd gardening book guiltily bought to improve the lawn! And to be honest, although employed as a lecturer I wasn't trained as such, lots of picking it up from others plus a few books and papers. I do enough work in my garden to keep it tidy, I cut the grass, I keep the weeds down, I prune the bushes and trees (the ones I'm allowed to by local planning regs), and I try to encourage a few flowers, but to be honest it'll never win a medal. Much like a lot of classrooms (or whatever) one reads about; kept neat and tidy, a few learners encouraged to bloom, all pruned to satisfy the TEF regs … I'll leave the rest of the metaphorical similarities to you!

I guess that in my retirement I could decide to grow prize-winning orchids or marrows, but I'd have to devote all my time to it, maybe open up a new hot-house, and probably neglect the lawn and the trees to do it … where have I read of educational institutions like that, forcing fabulous hot-house specimens to the detriment of the rest of the system?

Gardening provides a great space and a great activity to nurture creativity. Obviously it's hugely affected by the natural order of things that are outside the gardener's control: the seasons, the weather and the soil are all factors that have to be worked with and compromised with to achieve success. A space and an activity that offers a wonderful potential learning space - tomatoes in grow bags on windowsills, cress in old Flora tubs, flowers in potholes for the guerrilla gardeners - where creativity can grow as well.

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Yes indeed. A big THANK YOU to everyone involved for so many ideas to pursue and paths to follow. I'm writing this sitting at the stern of our old narrow boat with the view as below.

It reminds me that one important that thing travelling on the UK canals forces you to do is to SLOW DOWN. Walking is actually quicker! And in that slowing down there is plenty of time/space to think. It makes me think that an interesting future topic might be creativity and time.

Till the next time!!


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In my final post I try to connect my exploration of the role of the body in a creative process or practice with the idea of a learning ecology and my experience of being a geologist.

http://www.normanjackson.co.uk/creativehe
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Many thanks to Lisa, Mar and Norman for making these discussion happen, and for sustaining the conversations through the week which have given me much to reflect on.

Teryl has reminded me of another creative walking experience (shown below) that can be found at the various experiential learning conferences on Creativity overseas. In these labyrinth walks, the route in and out run in parallel and opposite directions. One way to work with a labyrinth is to diverge a creative challenge on the route in and until you reach the centre. Then converge on the best ideas on the way back.
I was photographed carrying a pint of beer round one such labyrinth in Toronto which some may have regarded as irreverent, but it worked for me!

What about combining labyrinths with the Open-Space method whereby the meetings are held at the centre of labyrinths? If you follow the 'Law of Two Feet' you are required to leave via the labyrinthine path and join another group the same way. 
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Hi everybody...what can i say!!
This community has become part of my weekly ankor /inspiration..and as +Lisa C said quoting Woolf, it s providing me with a platform where I have felt I put on for a bit the "bodies and minds of others"...where disciplinary borders drop and through this sharing wealmost create a new discipline in itself..
it helps me feel i m part of something ,a sense of psyhologica belonging ,when it's hard to sometimes get that in an institution...I could write more but stop here.
It's brilliant to know all the discussions are captured somewhere to return to in moments of stuckness or when in need for push for ideas ...
I have loved the engagement of this week left me with so many ideas to play around...and reflect further .. I can catch myself responding "I wish I had the time I sit down and deepen in all these discussions,even write" so your suggestion +Paul about creativity and time is of interest to me!!!

I also want to acknowledge all the other members who perhaps haven't contributed in writing but have read and reflected on what s been posted.
I d love to hear from as many voices as possible as this is aha makes it so rich.
Thank you +Chrissi Nerantzi and +Norman Jackson for making this platform happen and to +Lisa C for shifting our attention to that very part of us we often forget about.


A big thank you to all for your contributions and for joining the conversation this week. Our brief peek into the lives, thoughts and practices of others has taken the theme into all directions and, I think demonstrated, to adapt Ken Robinson's phrase, how thinking is "wonderfully interactive".

I hope you will contribute to or just enjoy the upcoming Creative Academic magazine on the theme of the body and creativity. Do advertise here any events we should know about on the theme. I'd like to mention a paper I'm given at Jackie Hatfield's event "An exploration of creative, playful and
imaginative embodied support" at Loughborough uniVerity, UK, on May 17th. I'd also like to invite you to an event I am running in tandem with Alke Wegener and Writing Pad East Midlands at Nottingham Trent university on June 21st. It is on "Regenring" (i.e., presenting academic writing in different formats) as an inclusive assessment practice. My colleague David Hindley and I will be presenting our research on academic blogging. The event is free and we are inviting you to bring your own examples of regenring for the afternoon show and tell. If you would like to come, please contact me at Lisa.clughen@ntu.ac.uk
All the very best to you and thanks for a great week. Lisa

Dear All, Alongside the online posts, I've received quite a few emails all week commenting on the theme. I'm sharing one from my good friend and former colleague, Linda Taylor, who is one of my own inspirations for my teaching. ESOL and Modern Languages' teaching is often a great example of "embodied pedagogy", as Linda indicates here:
"It's been very interesting to read all the posts. (...) I just thought I'd put a few more thoughts down after these few days. I enjoyed reading about the Open Space meetings, the geology and the water colour doodling, as well as the clothing thing. All that put me in mind of how much I like to go to conferences where there's yoga or tai chi outside in the air to start the day, where there's walking between meetings, lunches together with participants - all ways in which we can engage the body in mulling over the thinking processes in our minds. It occurs to me that as teachers we may satisfy our own needs for moving around in order to think, but do we always give permission to our students to do the same, or facilitate the possibility? I was struck how very many physically engaging TEFL methods I learned years ago that really do help people to learn. Simply walking around the room, repeating the same question to others; posting notes or texts around the walls for people to read at their own pace; cutting up texts and reorganizing them; putting gestures to words; singing songs to reinforce information transfer; dressing up and delivering lines; putting on the persona of another character or another's point of view in roleplay; sitting on the floor; groupwork - so many things I never really thought about that became instinctive".


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GREAT BIG THANK YOU

Thank you +Lisa C for organising, leading and facilitating such an interesting discussion and to +Mar Kri for your help with facilitation. I'm sure I speak for all the participants when I say you made us think with your questions.

Of course the conversation does not have to end here and we welcome further perspectives and the sharing of resources that encourage us to think about the way our bodies are involved in creative processes and practices.

Lisa will also be Guest Editor for the next issue of Creative Academic Magazine (scheduled for mid May) which will also address this subject. We welcome further contributions so if you would like to write an article please get in touch. We are particularly interested in examples of educational practices that encourage learners to use their bodies in creation.

Norman Jackson
Creative Academic Magazine
Commissioning Editor

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Thank you -- this community was a serendipitous find for me and I've really learnt a lot in a week. We've got a teaching conference on phenomenology and medicine coming up and this has really helped shaped my thinking. Great facilitators -- thanks for the interesting challenges and the encouraging comments! I'll leave you with a picture of a yoga-flamenco workshop that I went to at a Health Humanities conference in Seville. And also a picture of my daughter, who has a great sense of the body in space, against a Cape Town sunset.
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22/04/2017
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