30 years ago

28th May 2004 at 01:00
Not everyone worried about neds, graffiti or even the burning down of a school. Back in 1974, one headteacher of a List D School thought "vandalism is a form of creativity" (TESS, May 25).

A child's experience of knocking something down is equivalent to his experience of building something up, in the sense that both illustrate his capacity to have some kind of control of his environment.

This was suggested by Mr Max Paterson, principal of Wellington List D School, in a talk "Havoc and creativity" at a conference and exhibition held by the Scottish Society of Art and Psychopathology in Perth last weekend.

Dealing with havoc, Mr Paterson said the creative insufficiency of the environment became changed in adolescents into what they thought of as vandalism, but which was an expression of "my capacity to change my environment".

"It is a creative act, even if it is burning a school down - 'I have done this. It is my creation'. . .

"You do not understand people unless you understand the environment they grow up in, and you do not help people to grow into the kind of people you want them to be if you leave the environment to look after itself."

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