Creative Ideas

A more useful way of defining creativity

Contributor: Norman Jackson @lifewider1

Idea: The idea that creativity is the production of something novel/original can be a real turn off for most people. Erica McWilliam proposes a new definition that is much more user friendly. Creativity is often the result of making a third ‘thing’ from two existing things or ideas, rather than making something from nothing.

When confronted with a problem in any subject simply challenging learners to connect two seemingly unconnected things to come up with a potential solution can stimulate generative thinking. This is the basis for many design thinking exercises.

For classroom examples see (opens new window)

Reference: McWilliam E (2016) Two cheers for STEM three cheers for creativity


We are all poets and don’t know it!

Contributor: Chrissi Nerantzi @chrissinerantzi

Idea: We are all poets and don’t know it! Words don’t come easy… not always and not to all. Can they come easier through creating a poem with others as a response to a theory, a concept or an event, a situation, that might create a lot of attention, for good or bad? Could poetry help us develop criticality and creativity around a topic and idea etc. while creating community at the same time? Remember, poems don’t need to be written in lines… they can become pictures.

Image Mediated Dialogue

Contributor: Sandra Sinfield @Danceswithcloud

Idea: Collect a range of ‘rich pictures’ – use to seed thinking and discussion – and to model qualitative research methods. In class: Choose one picture that for you represents [a successful educationalist] – write a description of your picture; write why for you it answers the questions, then discuss in pairs or small groups. Each person presents their picture and why it answers the question – others discuss. Plenary – key points that arose…

Practitioner comments: “It helps to unblock thinking – it scaffolds analytical and critical writing as you move from description to analysis of the picture. It unleashes thoughts – it promotes positive discussion – it models qualitative research…”

Credits: “Dave Griffiths introduced me to this idea as a way of getting people to think.”

End of project quilt

Contributor: Sandra Sinfield @Danceswithcloud

Idea: At the end of an innovative project or course – or perhaps when a ‘placement’ period ends and you want to bring a cohort back together – produce a friendship quilt. Each person in the group has to produce one panel of the quilt that represents their thoughts/learning/reflections – the pieces are put together and a stunning visual memory of the endeavour is created. Alternatives can include a quilt documentary – where each person is videoed displaying an image or object that represents their story – speaking to it for 30 seconds. The latter is more do-able – the quilt is more memorable.

Practitioner comments: “End of projects reports or reflections can be very performative – something to just do – to get out of the way and move on. It can be a regurgitative and perfunctory act. The production of one meaningful panel takes thought – creativity – time. The final piece is a communal act that stands testimony to that community.”

Credits: “As always with visual practice – I was heavily influenced by Pauline Ridley – and she was the one who made the LearnHigher quilt happen – see: