I had a surprise visit from friend and artist Bob and Roberta Smith the other day.
We were connected in our childhoods but rarely get to meet these days living in different places.
It’s a shame because we have a common quest; our desire to get people to understand the importance of creativity in education.
People often respond to that idea with the question ‘What use is painting pictures in the world of employment?’ as if that were the only interpretation of creativity. It also misses the point; creativity isn’t restricted to painting and drawing, for goodness sake!
Creativity is primarily about thinking – creative thinking. Intelligent creative thinking.
Intelligent creative thinking is what enables us to lead our lives on a day to day basis.
Intelligent creative thinking enables us to find solutions, solve problems, rise to challenges and develop as people.
We use intelligent creativity every day even in little ways like getting the dinner, what to wear, how to fix the hole, how to best parent the children, what colour to paint the bathroom, how to make a tenner last all week. And I haven’t even touched on creating artwork yet.
But on that subject, have you ever considered that every single man-made thing you own was created and designed by someone? Someone who had to apply creative intelligence.
From the sofa you sit on, the cup you drink from, to all the technology you use, not to mention the Web, it’s all been designed by someone applying creative intelligence.
And anyway, aside from the fact that everything we have has been made by a creative, our young people will have to employ their creative thinking skills in order to fit into a job market that has less jobs than the people applying for them. They will need to be creative in tackling employers, in making their mark in whatever form or industry.
Creative intelligence is required for that self development process that puts a young person in front of others.
All these skills; mental and practical, personal and social, are developed by all kinds of creative practices, whether creating artwork, fixing stuff, making decisions, gaming, designing, or feeding yourself on a tight budget.
Creative intelligence helps you think outside the norm, outside of prescriptive academic conditioning, to more useful transferable skills that take you further.
Neglect of creative experiences, subjects and practices, is neglect of a huge part of our children’s education and personal development. Those in charge of the education system should be ashamed to call what they offer ‘education’ without it.
Thank goodness for champions like this trying to put the balance right.
Read his letter to Nicky Morgan here.