Thursday, 30 November 2006

exciting minds

just been to the Creative Partnerships conference, exciting minds, in Manchester..
The event was in two parts - the Arena and the Conference and for a while on the Monday the y competed for attendance which was a shame.
The overall event was very good, and it was brilliant to have an education expo of the calibre of the arena.. some excellent connections were made and network conversations of the highest order.

The example of creative work I observed on Tuesday left me worried and underwhelmed. If the young people from the school involved had not been there I would have voiced my concern.

Let's take a look.. we send a couple of film makers to an African nation, let's say a country that has experienced recent civil war, with bitter factional fighting. And let's film an interview with a young teenage man who has been caught up in the conflict in the most inhumane and brutalised way - that almost defies imagination and certainly horrifies. In recruiting him into an army of boy soldiers his family has been murdered, his sister raped and killed. He now fears for his life and sleeps on floors. His history and current circumstances are truly at the edges of humanity.
Now let's return to the UK and show this interview to a group of year 9s. And then let's interview them and record their responses.
You can imagine their reactions all too easily (and therein lies the problem). What else would you expect them to say? 'It's terrible what has happened to him, he has to beg for shelter and work for water and food, and we don't.'
But where is the learning? where is the self-directed learning through the arts? indeed, where is the art or creative thinking?
The project was presented as a creative learning intervention into the citizenship agenda.
Creativity in a learning context is about engaging with young people's sensibilities and then allowing them to direct the growth in their understandings; here there was no connection and nothing unexpected.

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