Warning: creativity can be dangerous

17th September 2004 at 01:00
Nick Owen wants to knock on the head the idea that creativity is cuddly.

For many parents and teachers, the concept is associated with a warm, cosy glow.

But Mr Owen, the new creativity in education scholar at Hull University, warns: "It's a dangerous thing. It can be destructive as well. The creative process is as much about editing and losing voices as it is about creating something. It's a process of destruction as well as construction."

A Liverpudlian arts producer who has worked with the Everyman Theatre and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, Mr Owen has taken up a three-year scholarship supported by Creative Partnerships Hull to look at creativity's role within the city's education system. And he will obviously not have a dewy-eyed view as he sets about his PhD project.

He has already begun talking to teachers, children, governors, parents and others involved in the life of schools about their ideas. With a strong background in community outreach, Mr Owen is interested in why children are being excluded from school at increasingly younger ages, and in developing safe spaces for children, in order to enable real creative thinking and processes.

Nick Owen wants something concrete and practical to emerge from his work, such as a teachers' pack, a film or a website, rather than a document.

"This is one of the clear messages I'm getting from the teachers I am talking to - they're a very pragmatic bunch", he says.

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