Internationally renowned speaker and Chief Executive of Creativity Culture and Education, the International Foundation for Creative Learning, Paul Collard visited Aberdeen in February 2018.
He led a series of interventions at a variety of strategic levels to gain maximum impact. This included a keynote speech at a development day for all Aberdeen headteachers, mini symposium at the University of Aberdeen, workshops, and a high level strategic creative conversation with city councillors and other influencers from across the business, cultural and education sectors.
Paul Collard travels extensively, developing and supporting educational programmes in many countries, advising governments, regional authorities and cities on their work with children and young people. He also has a particular interest in the role of arts and culture in urban regeneration.
While he was in the city, working with Aberdeen City Council Creative Learning Team, he led three diverse events during a single intensive day looking at the subject of Enterprise, Creativity and Employability from a number of different angles.
The day began with a keynote address to headteachers and school management. Areas discussed included how the world is changing and why creativity is important in education and how this might relate to employment prospects. This is at a time when many young people feel that they have not been prepared for employment and creativity has moved up from 10 to 3 in the top 10 job skills according to the World Economic Forum.
Paul collard said “Governments everywhere are keen that schools develop the skills in children and young people that will prepare them to succeed in the workplaces of the future. But schools still have an extensive curriculum to deliver with priority subjects such as literacy, mathematics, science and technology requiring dedicated time attention. CCE believes that nurturing future skills should not require a separate curriculum or additional timetable space. These skills can be developed while delivering any subject.”
This was supported by an examination of how creativity skills might be defined and what learning activities might include in order to define these skills. Of course much of this was familiar to the audience following recent input from Education Scotland, but the challenge was how much of it had been put into action?
Following the keynote speech, Paul Collard led two workshop sessions examining ideas raised by his keynote address more closely including ideas of a high functioning classroom. The workshops revealed that headteachers are highly creative people with lots of ideas – of course!
After a very quick lunch and a chance to network, events moved to the Beach Ballroom and a high level creative conversation with Aberdeen influencers. The conversation looked at creativity, enterprise and employability through the lens of education, regeneration and culture. The aim of the conversation was to open the dialogue between key influencers that share an interest in developing the young workforce about how they might work together to achieve this common goal.
This was set against the background of the downturn in oil and the need for Aberdeen to reinvent and regenerate itself and develop the skills and opportunities for the next generation in response to a growing and urgent need to diversify the economy to ensure economic sustainability.
The conversation raised deep questions such as whether there was a single organisation set up to reinvent Aberdeen and who would be the right voices to be heard at any discussion and how would they be facilitated? (Young people, for instance)
Moving to the evening and the last engagement of the day, Aberdeen City Council’s Creative Learning Team is worked in partnership with the University of Aberdeen to host a mini symposium focusing on creativity and employability. The event brought together students, teachers and creatives alongside lecturers, established teachers and professionals from across learning with an interest in workforce.
The event linked themes of developing the young workforce with creativity and interdisciplinary learning. This was set against the background of the downturn in oil and the need for Aberdeen to reinvent and regenerate itself and develop the skills and opportunities for the next generation in response to a growing and urgent need to diversify the economy to ensure economic sustainability.
The Symposium was led by Paul Collard and took place in one of the historic lecture theatres at New King’s College, University of Aberdeen. It was an opportunity to hear about how and why creativity is important for employability and teaching practice in the 21st century. The audience comprised of primary and secondary teachers, probationary teachers and students as well as industry professionals with an interest in creative learning and workforce development.
As part of the mini symposium, there was a workshop element during which attendees will be able to share their own ideas and make connections for future work. In keeping with the spirit of the event, this was a creative workshop involving fortune cookies and postcards to a future self led by Fiona MacLennan and supported by the Creative Learning Manager , Fergus Connor. Fiona MacLellan is PhD Candidate, Glasgow School of Art’s Highlands and Island Campus.
This structured workshop element including provocations designed to encourage attendees to make connections, reflect on the presentations and begin to formulate plans for future actions and activities.
As well as a plenary lecture from Paul Collard, there will be several short vignettes including examples of innovative pedagogical practice and practical ideas from across Aberdeen. The event sought to address questions of what creativity looks like in a variety of contexts and how is it relevant to developing the young workforce.
This event was jointly hosted by Aberdeen City Council Creative Learning Team, UoA School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture and the School of Education. Aberdeen City Council’s Creative Learning team was formed after an amalgamation of its Arts Education and Arts Development (Whitespace) teams and claims over 150 years collective experience of devising and delivering creative programmes across communities and education.
Dr Elizabeth Curtis, Lecturer University of Aberdeen School of Education said “I am very pleased we are partnering with Aberdeen City Council Creative Learning team on this project. I believe it will help develop my students as we prepare them to enter the workforce as educators. I also feel that the potential links with trainee and professional creatives as well as more established teachers will be invaluable.”
“The mini Symposium will be an opportunity for new links to be made, ideas shared and partnerships formed to develop structures and help equip the workforce for the 2020s and beyond.”
Funded by the National Creative Learning Network, Aberdeen City Council, University of Aberdeen and part of a series of Aberdeen Creative Schools Network events.
All photos taken by Grant Anderson assisted by intern for the day Kelsie