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Nurturing Creativity in Higher Education. Dr Paul Martin Creativity Centre. The purpose of Higher E ducation. Cultivating Humanity (Nussbaum 1997) - liberalis Continuity and fidelity discouraging critical reflection

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nurturing creativity in higher education

Nurturing Creativity in Higher Education

Dr Paul Martin

Creativity Centre

the purpose of higher e ducation
The purpose of Higher Education
  • Cultivating Humanity (Nussbaum 1997) - liberalis
    • Continuity and fidelity discouraging critical reflection
    • Produce free citizens not from wealth or birth but because they can call their minds their own (Seneca)
  • Feinberg's (1993) models of the social function of education
    • As mainly economic and vocational and concerned with the transmission of technically exploitable knowledge.
    • As mainly political and cultural to further social participation through the development of interpretive understanding
a brief history of creativity
A brief history of creativity
  • Act of God – act of creation
  • God inspired act of man
  • Romantic belief in the inspired self as a reaction to the rationalism of the enlightenment
  • Romantic belief in the spirituality of nature and the muse at a time of declining religious belief
  • Zarathustra ‘God is dead’ Nietzsche – man (and woman) is at the centre of their own universe and all can be creative
a brief history of creativity1
A brief history of creativity
  • Means to an end rationale for industrial capitalism
  • The sublimation of the individual as a consumer in the global economy leads to devaluation of creativity as ultimately a means to purely economic ends.
  • White western individualist male hegemony

What is Creativity?

  • Originality
  • Innovation
  • Newness
  • Novelty
  • Inspired
  • Self expression
  • Search for truth
  • Making meaning...............................

Getzel’s model of creativity(psychologist 1960’s)





Ah ha!



Ehrenzweig’s model of creativity(psychoanalytic model 1950’s)

Initial state –



Attendant anxieties must

be tolerated

Third state – re-introjection

or integration

re-differentiation conscious

awareness of new whole

Second state – initiate

unconscious scanning

Integrate new structure

through countless cross ties


Pressures on creativity in HE

  • FOR
  • Business & government see need for economy
  • To thrive in a complex changing world one needs to re-create ones self constantly to transform understanding and make new meaning.
  • New teaching methods
  • Business & govt. see potential challenge to existing power structures
  • HE managerialist and performance culture
  • Commodification of learners and learning
  • Entrenched ‘ sage on the stage’
learning teaching and creativity
Learning teaching and creativity
  • Dweck’s (1999) research on young learners found their performance goals were focussed around ‘winning positive judgement of your competence and avoiding negative ones’ while their learning goals showed a will to develop ‘new skills, master new tasks or understand new things’. These could be influenced externally.
  • Clouder et al (2008) state that the growing performance culture in HE at odds with a creative environment.
  • Commodification of learner and learning encourages transmission model of education & discourages risks inherent in creative / transformative learning.
aims of the creativity centre
Aims of the Creativity Centre
  • To enhance creativity in learning
  • To enhance creativity in the facilitation of learning
  • To enhance knowledge and practice in the creative process
research methods
Research methods
  • Interpretavist / constructivist
  • Booking information
  • Pedagogic reflection forms
  • Time-line observations
  • Interviews with facilitators
  • Student/participant feedback
  • Creativity centre staff experience
creativity centre experience
Creativity Centre experience
  • The most important factor effecting learning has been the facilitators/teachers ability to engage learners in the act of learning. (transmission – facilitation)
  • Also the attitude of learners to the offer made by the facilitator/teacher to be the passive learner or take responsibility for own learning.
  • Support for L&T in space has helped challenge and develop teaching approaches
  • Flexible space with potentials helps challenge L&T stereotypes
creativity centre experience1
Creativity Centre experience
  • The learning space
    • Flexible and easily reconfigurable space enables the use of a wide variety of learning and teaching approaches including whole group / small group and individual work in on session.
    • Write on walls encourage and enable sharing of ideas and thinking almost made visible
    • Variety of seating allows formal to very informal layouts and can help change existing power dynamics
    • Coloured lighting, smells and plants help change atmospheres.
creativity centre contacts
Creativity Centre contacts
  • Paul Martin –

  • Creativity Centre website –
  • Creativity Centre email