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'Title case’ The Use of 'Tools' for Nurturing and Assessing Creativity

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There are two main considerations in the design and development of activities aimed at nurturing creativity with groups of schoolchildren or students. These are what are commonly known as ‘Tools, techniques and frameworks’ on the one hand and ‘Creative behaviours’ on the other. An over-emphasis on the former can result in more adaptive rather than creative outcomes in such activities. In contrast nurturing creative behaviour in the absence of tools or a framework can produce outcomes that have little practicality or value. In the latter case this could be considered unimportant if nurturing creative thinking is the sole aim. However, there is a distinction to be made between nurturing creativity and nurturing a wild imagination. It could be argued that the tools, techniques and frameworks represent the means by which creativity is coupled in parallel with innovation (in its widest sense) in order to help produce ideas that are ‘original and useful’. Tools and techniques have another important use also in that they can be used to assess creativity.

This presentation will describe some group activities and workshops that were developed and presented at primary and secondary schools in Hertfordshire, where the emphasis was on nurturing creativity. Particular emphasis will be placed on one of the many tools that have been devised for ‘idea-finding’ that has been useful in assessing creativity irrespective of the ‘conceptual spaces’ in which the activities were placed.

Dr Kevin Bryon

Kevin Byron received his Ph.D in Applied Physics from the University of Hull and pursued a career in research in the telecommunications industry for some twenty five years. During this time he was an honorary visiting lecturer at the University of Glasgow and a visiting Fellow at the University of Salford and was elected to Fellowship of the Institute of Physics.

Throughout his time in industry he also developed a growing interest in education and training and in particular creative skills, and the award of a three year NESTA Fellowship in 2002 enabled him to set up his own training consultancy to pursue these interests. As part of the fellowship he developed and delivered a number of skills training workshops to a range of groups including school children, undergraduates and university academics.

In 2008 he joined the student development team at the University of Leicester. Working with the science faculties he developed and presented a number of research skills workshops and resources for postgraduates as part of the roll-out of the Robert’s skills agenda.

He has presented his research in creativity at several international conferences in Italy, Canada, the USA , South Africa, Qatar and the UK. He is a co-author of the book ‘The Alchemy of Innovation’ and also authored two monographs on ‘Inventing and Problem-Solving’ and ‘Counter-intuition’ published by the Institute for Cultural Research. In December 2009 he published ‘The Creative Researcher’ booklet as part of the research councils’ skills agenda for postgraduate research students.

He is currently Enterprise Education Coordinator at Queen Mary, University of London and a free-lance trainer specialising in research skills, creativity, personal effectiveness and enterprise training for higher education and business.

This talk is part of the Arts, Culture and Education series.

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