Manifesto Creativity in HE – 1. Take a Deep Breath

Although creativity is one of the 20 skills for the 21st century economies, according to the World Economic Forum, engaging with creativity in higher education can be a break with traditional ways of learning and teaching. For the first point of my contribution to the Manifesto I would say Take a Deep Breath, this means, do not jump to conclusions or adopt any of the “novelties” that seem to appear in the field. Because if you decide to engage with creativity you will question the very roots of our educational system, the way in which primary and secondary schools squash creativity in students by rewarding compliance and repetition. In fact, if you think about this, “art” seems to be a fall out options for those whose numeracy and grammar skills are a challenge. It is not surprising that when we try to introduce creativity in our classes we face reticence and opposition from students who have lost the ability to think outside the box and are afraid of being judged for the “artistic quality” rather than for the process itself and the reflective practice. Your colleagues also may  think you have lost your marbles, as you go around with pencils and colour instead of computers and models, and indeed few journals would consider creative-based methodologies as a serious form of research.  But don’t despair! Even those starry journals like Academy of Management Learning and Teaching are starting to appreciate the role of arts in management education, and more scholars, artists and academics (1) have been ploughing their ways to open the possibility of using art-based as forms of research and learning and teaching. One of my favourite journals is Organizational Aesthetics where original work in the area has been published, alongside culture and organisation. So although we are not alone, still we are few…

It is an adventure… take a deep breath and prepare to be amazed.

(1) See Standing Conference on Organisational Symbolism and Art of Management in Organisations

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