Image credit: Eric Aydin-Barberini for A New Direction
It goes without saying that the last 13 months have been hugely challenging for all of us in so many ways. However, a key driver for how we have adapted and survived has been the innate creativity within all of us. It’s creativity which has enabled us to be solution focussed, get on with the task at hand, and, ultimately, ensure that young people can access creative and cultural opportunities during a global pandemic.
In 2017, the 21st of April was officially recognised by the UN as being the World Creativity and Innovation Day. For me, this year it feels particularly well timed for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, A New Direction has just launched our new Teaching for Creativity programme. This work has been designed to help broaden and diversify the curriculum in response to the combined crises facing young people, including the climate crisis, the call for a more equitable society – prompted most recently by the Black Lives Matter movement – the COVID-19 pandemic, and its associated impact on the economy and wellbeing.
Teaching for Creativity draws on the expertise of London’s cultural sector to provide rich learning materials that help develop young people’s creativity and their ability to navigate these times, which can be used by teachers across the curriculum. The programme includes seven resources, each of which is accompanied by short video CPD modules which can be completed by teachers in their own time. The first two resources in the series focus on the Relationships and Sex Education curriculum for Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 and can be download on for free on our website.
Arts Council England has also today launched an Interim Report on the Durham Commission on Creativity and Education, with recommendations that consider how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of education. You can read the report here.
The Durham Commission on Creativity and Education was launched in March 2018 with a remit to work with business, education and arts and cultural sectors to understand the value of creativity and the ways in which creativity can play a larger part in the lives of young people from birth, up to the age of 25, both within and beyond the current education system. The Commission and its Advisory Board have decided to focus in the immediate future on six of its initial ten recommendations that target: system leadership and collaboration; digital technologies, creativity and education; creativity and the arts in schools; pre-school and the early years curriculum; creative opportunities out of school; and creative opportunities in the world of work.
In May, the Arts Council will invite applications to the Creativity Collaboratives programme, a key recommendation of the Durham Commission. The programme aims to build networks of schools that will test a range of innovative practices in teaching for creativity, with the explicit intention that learning is shared to facilitate system-wide change. Working alongside existing school structures, teachers and educators will co-develop creative strategy and pedagogy, test out approaches to teaching and learning, and evaluate their impact on pupils, schools and communities. Arts Council England will offer a total of eight school clusters the opportunity to become a Creativity Collaborative, and the pilot is expected to run from September 2021 until end 2024.
In the meantime, if you’re celebrating World Creativity and Innovation Day today, why not submit an idea to the Creativity Exchange website here. The Creativity Exchange has been developed in partnership by Arts Council England and Durham University to explore in practice the Durham Commission's recommendations about the importance of teaching for creativity in schools. And don’t forget to join in the conversation on social media via the hashtag #WCID.