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Hello dear friends, lovely to see some of you today and exploring the use of LEGO(R) SERIOUS PLAY(R) in HE. I hope you found the meetup useful and it gave you some ideas to explore further in your practice. Here to help if needed, ok? Our pics are now live at Enjoy!

Wishing you a wonderful festive season and all the very best for the New Year.

We will see you again in January, this time at Salford Uni where we will discuss mindmaps, low and high-tech ones and how they can transform ideas generation and collaborative learning.

Take care and keep warm,

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"Chance Favours the Prepared Mind" (Louis Pasteur)

This Exhibition is based on Ideas that happened by chance or accident:

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In the next stage of our work we want to focus on the practice environment and explore how a person’s creativity emerges from their practices in the particular environments in which they work, play or serve and care for others.

We are looking for people to share their stories and insights of their own practice experiences in any domain through which they were able to express themselves creatively. Narratives will be published in Creative Academic Magazine #9 which will be published several times in the next year.

To find out more please visit

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Stories are the powerful medium of education. We appreciate stories and learn from them quickly. Films can be used as an educational tool.Dr. Arvinder Singh became a partner of LXL Ideas and brought unique concept 'Life Skills through Cinema' in Rajasthan for teaching various important skills to people through inspirational movies.

#lifeskills #lifeskillstraining #creativity #timemanagement #stressmanagement #success #successtips #education #motivationalmovies #inspirationalmovies #schoolcinema #rajasthan #teachingmethod #positivity #selfesteem #goodhabits #kindness #honesty

To know more about School Cinema, please visit the link.

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Day 5 December 8th
Q5 What have we learnt about how creativity relates to practice and specifically our own practice?

Welcome to the final day of our creativity in practice conversation I hope that you have found the conversation interesting and useful. The idea of stumbling with purpose surfaced during the conversation and perhaps this reflects the type of conversation we have had. Thank you to everyone who has contributed. Without your experiences and sense making we would not be able to stumble onto new understanding. If you have a story to share about creativity in your own practice please share it today.

This final day of our conversation is devoted to making sense of the stories that have been shared to progress our understanding of how creativity manifests itself in our everyday practices. Please share any perspectives or insights you have gained through the conversation and any theories or research studies that you think help us understand this natural phenomenon.

You probably have more questions than answers so please share these as well.

Q In any domain/context for practice is there an experiential journey we must make that takes us from ignorance and incompetency to a level of awareness and proficiency that enables our creativity to be involved? And is the journey unique for every individual….?

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What if I tried to share what I learned about my own practice of creativity by giving a picture instead of words?

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I'd like to thank everyone who contributed to the Creativity in Practice conversation over the last few days. I think we have surfaced and explored some interesting ideas and there is much food for thought in your stories and comments. I am very happy to continue the conversation over the next few days so please continue to add your stories and reflections.

Personally I know I have benefited greatly from being forced to think about things in a different way about the questions we discussed. I have been recording my thoughts on my blog and welcome any comments on the ideas and propositions.

Thank you for joining in

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I really enjoyed reading your piece for Day 2, Teryl. I was also taken by a comment that you made, Norman — the one about Stephen’s ‘ecological way of seeing our relationship with our environment’. That made me think about my own practices and their environmental relationships, and especially how environment might relate to my creative practices.

I present a sculpture that I completed just a few days ago and I thought that I would write to this.

I made this sculpture for a research participant whom I interviewed. I was interested in learning how this person led a team to successfully enhance social inclusion for people who are older and have some sort of disability. That’s my usual way of conducting research — to interview someone who has experience or expertise related to my topic, make art in response to that interview, and then take the completed artwork back to the research participant to continue the conversation, that is, to ‘dig deeper’ than what I would otherwise be able to do. I plan to take the sculpture back to my research participant in a few days.

The sculpture complete, and having been prompted by notions of ‘ecology’, ‘practice’ and ‘creativity’, I now reflect on the making of the artwork. The initial cluster of practices — interviewing, listening, recording, analysing, and so forth — were performed within the institutional environments of a community care service and also a university. Other practices were performed at home, a small farm dominated by quite a steep hill. This hill is littered with trees, most of them thriving but a few have died. I often walk up and down the hill and on one occasion I was wondering what to make for my research participant. What emerged — possibly through the convergence of mental images of artworks seen or made myself, and the vision of dead trees — was this sculpture. It is a little hard to pick out the detail but you may notice two figures holding hands. I was thinking about partnership and caring as central themes in achieving social inclusion. Of course, I remain anxious to see what my research participant will have to say.

In making the artwork, I had to fell a tree. I did this in a landscape not unfamiliar to the sound of a chainsaw, or the thud of a tree hitting the ground. The noise that the engraving tool made is not uncommon in my work shed either, nor is the scent of the varnish I applied to the shapes that materialised from the sawn tree trunk, trying as I did, to give the emergent shapes prominence or ‘zing’. One may say, then, that I made this artwork through what Stephen Kemmis, Christine Edwards-Groves, Jane Wilkinson and Ian Hardy refer to as an ‘ecology of practices’. This ecology comprised the practices of making, sawing, transporting, communicating, engraving, painting, and no doubt more. The practices are living and connected things (Kemmis, Edwards-Groves, Wilkinson, & Hardy, 2012, p. 36) that were harnessed together (Kemmis et al., 2012, p. 37) and enacted across and influenced by different environments.

Dewitt Jones’ ecology for learning, achieving and creating can be applied to this story too. In fact, it seems to add direction or flow to the ecology of practices that I have just described. That is, I came to the situation prepared (methodologically and practically) for an imagined future — new knowledge or wisdom. Entering the interview space armed with a recording machine and notes, and then the making place with various tools and skills, and reflecting on my interactions with my research participant, I engaged with the materiality of timber and paint. I responded to uneven surfaces, the marks made naturally as well as those that I made. I watched lines, shapes and patterns emerge, and this will no-doubt continue as I renew my relationship with the research participant and as others experience the sculpture.

Kemmis, S., Edwards-Groves, C., Wilkinson, J., & Hardy, I. (2012). Ecologies of practices. In P. Hager, A. Lee & A Reich (Ed.), Practice, Learning and Change (pp. 33-49). NY: Springer.


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Dear friends,

Our next #creativeHE meet up on the 15th of December. it will be a festive one ;) We will focus on learning through making. Please register at if you would like to join us and bring your ideas and practices with you to share with us all. And yes, we will do some LEGO(R) SERIOUS PLAY(R) as well.

See you all very soon.

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"Patience is about being patient with patience!" (Reflections by Idries Shah)

I don’t know of any project or work task performed by anyone that doesn’t involve creativity at some level for its completion. If the project is purely routine, and not requiring any new thinking - as many of our daily tasks are - the creativity is still there idling in the background, but disengaged from its role in providing something novel for the completion of the task, simply because it’s not needed. At those times creativity is manifested as day-dreaming. The engine of creativity is always running, but waiting for the critical thinking gears to mesh with its own, and during the development of a project - as has been suggested in the other contributions - creativity is constantly engaged and then disengaged. During the latter we are applying critical thinking to assess the relevance and usefulness of the creative idea that appeared earlier.
We can readily draw on our critical thinking skills on demand because unlike creativity they can be taught, they are based on reason, and the outcomes can be tested against logical fallacies. Creativity however can’t be taught, has no fixed form, and can’t be summoned at will. I’m reminded of the quote by Shakespeare from Henry IV: “I can call spirits from the vasty deep." ……”Why so can I, or so can any man. But will they come when you do call for them?”
There are tools and techniques to help in stimulating our creativity, and whilst they may be useful in group work for low level creativity, I rarely resort to them when working alone. Generating ideas that are both original and useful (ie relevant) requires patience. This requirement of patience is now an accepted part of my creative practice which often has exhausting consequences. For example if I’m invited to give a presentation, or design a new workshop for one of my university clients, the first thing I do is put the date in the Google diary, and then push any thoughts about it to the background of my mind and focus on something else. I do this because I know from previous experience over many years that I need to feel ready to do the work. That readiness is signalled by the emergence of an idea that will enable me to progress the work. Often this starts when the deadline is very close, and there follows an intense period of work where the ideas begin to flow, and each idea is punctuated by a lot of critical thinking to tame, shape, and give expression to them. If I start such a project straight away I’m doing things the other way round. That is to say, starting with critical thinking and hoping that creative ideas will appear. That never works for me, and I’ve spent many hours working in hotel bedrooms into the early morning sometimes as late as 3am, and then presenting later that same morning. I don’t know where I find the energy to sustain living on the edge like this, and I pay the price afterwards when the tiredness kicks in.
The other observation from this work is that I never start at the beginning – that usually comes last. I develop and present my work using PowerPoint, and regard this as a very creative medium provided all the so-called creative bells and whistles provided my Microsoft are avoided and that the design is rich in visual literacy. I initially use PowerPoint as a storyboard, and if I do anything at all before the time is right to focus on the presentation, I create a number of blank slides, and maybe on the odd occasion type in one or two key words on each blank slide. This represents the slow burn going on in the background awaiting the explosion of work that will follow. When I’ve mentioned to colleagues that I’m working on a presentation, what I really mean is that I’m waiting for the story to appear, and I never know when that will be. Maybe the pressure of a looming deadline has a catalytic effect which is why I work down to the wire!

When I’m not designing workshops I fill the space with other projects, some of which involve creative play with words. This includes cryptic crossword compilation, visual metaphors and the occasional video. These all evolve in exactly the same way as my professional work. Furthermore because there is no deadline there is a sense that they are never finished. An example is posted here, and as soon as I’d posted this video more ideas started to appear……..
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