The importance of Creativity for Change – and how to get involved

Jessica Carson, Co-ordinator of Creativity & Change, explores the importance of using creativity for change through sharing her journey and understanding of the relationship between creativity, learning and global citizenship.

At Creativity & Change why do we think creativity is important?

For the last 18 years my work has had creativity and learning at its core. Early in my career I was involved in arts exchanges between young people in Cork and in Nicaragua that raised lots of issues and questions about development themes and topics. I came to know the field of Development Education and was always struggling with implementing a what I saw as a ‘topic based approach’ which seemed to be at the time the approach that was needed to access funds and tick the required boxes. I struggled with the ethics of working in marginalised communities and the idea of ‘burdening’ the community with serious topics and issues in ready-made programmes when there were serious local concerns around poverty, suicide and inequalities. I believe we all have the potential to contribute to change in our communities and in the world but believe it’s important to engage with people from their own experience.

Over the years my concept of what makes learning meaningful and transformative has developed. I became familiar with models of learning from around the world that challenged the idea that learners are empty vessels to be filled with knowledge but based on understanding that that everyone has inherent curiously and creativity.  I shifted my thinking that its more important to strengthen in myself and to support others to strengthen capacities that help us grow as global citizens, capacities such as:

  • empathy
  • curiosity
  • resilience
  • critical thinking
  • problem solving
  • ability to take action
  • compassion

These and many other capacities help us to explore, view and live in the world as active global citizens and to engage with topics form a head, hand and heart perspective, not just a head perspective.

‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

‘Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.’

– Albert Einstein

About Creativity & Change

Creativity & Change is a unique and innovative programme of CIT Crawford College of Art and Design. It seeks to make a difference in the world by bringing creative thinking and creative action to how we engage with the world as global Citizens. Our programme aims to bring creative thinking, methodologies and energy to Global Citizenship/ Development Education. We engage with hundreds of practitioners each year who go on to apply their learning with thousands of people in a range of settings such as youth centres, gallery education programmes, women’s groups, community centres, men’s sheds, adult education programmes, pre-schools, youth reach programmes, primary, secondary and third level education as well as alternative education programmes and many other settings where learning takes place.

People involved in community and education programmes are often passionate about what they do. They also often have a lot of demands and busy schedules. Creativity & Change applies creativity in how we design the range of programmes in a way to offer practitioners different ways of engagement. Our longer term accredited programme runs one week-end per month for an academic year. Our Youth engagement lab runs for one week, Masterclasses are standalone weekend programmes that practitioners can sign up to without further commitment required. The concept of our Creative Fairs has developed over the years to bring the programme outside of Cork and around the country. To date fairs have taken place in Dublin, Waterford, Wexford, Tralee, Limerick, Ennis, Carlow, Galway and many other parts of the country.

About Creative Fairs

The fairs are designed to offer a quick injection of inspiration and motivation for those who want to consider how they can support groups and learners to engage as active global citizens and change-makers. The fairs recognise that practitioners are creative, have ideas and are motivated.

The concept of the fair allows participants to browse and dive into hands on experiences at different stands. They move around the fair at their own pace and according to interest and are encouraged to consider what ideas would be useful to their practice and projects in view of bringing Global Citizenship alive for the people they engage with.

The sessions present a wide range of topics such as the sustainable development goals, active citizenship, resilience and well-being etc and also present a wider range of creative tools such as stencil making, stop motion, chalkboard posters, creative writing, badge-making etc. The Creative Fair is a space to explore possibilities and for practitioners.

How do I know if getting involved in a Creativity & Change programme is for me?

Are you passionate about change?

Do you believe that you can make a difference in the world?

Do you believe that creativity can help us think in new ways about the challenges that face the world?

Are you curious about how creative processes and learning environments can transform learning experiences, connecting the head, hand and heart?

Do you want to gain ideas, skills and tools to support people to engage as active global citizens with the world around them?

If you answer ‘yes’ to these questions…Creativity & Change is for you!

How do I get involved?

The deadline for applying for the Accredited training programme is August 31st but it may be extended if there are remaining spaces so contact us if you are interested. The programme begins September 3oth. Follow this link to find out more.

Creative fairs are taking place in Cork in and Limerick in September. The Cork event is in cooperation with the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities Conference and Cork Life Long Learning Festival on September 20th. It will be the first event in our CIT CCAD’s new premises on Grand parade, and the Limerick event is hosted by Mary Immaculate College on September the 16th. You can register for the event here.

Our Masterclass programme for 2018 is up on our website. Registration will be open shortly.

Our 2018 international Youth engagement Lab for those who work directly with young people will take place in July 2018.

What have people said about the programme?

‘It has strengthened my sense of personal, local and global responsibility and impact and helped me understand better how all are connected and how as an individual we can help impact society positively. I feel far better equipped to use methods (some of which I had never even heard of before the course) in projects to effect positive change. I also feel I have a support network I can draw on now which helps with confidence approaching new projects also.’

– Artist and facilitator working with asylum seekers.

‘I loved the exchange of stories and the possibilities of collaboration. It encouraged me to look at how I bring this creative practice into my own work – which I have been doing. The processes I have been applying allow students to really engage in active learning. They become much more articulate and able to discuss important topics and themes.’

– Lecturer GMIT/ Free-lance Development education facilitator

‘Keep up the good work, our country needs learning like this going on, somewhere, always. Long may the course last.

It’s a privilege to meet wonderful people from around the country doing wonderful work and with a vision about how they can engage with others towards making the world a better place for everyone!’

– Mens Shed programme facilitator

  • Photos: with permission, all photos copyright © Creativity & Change 2016/2017