Pedalling Creativity: a studio-based approach to teaching creative thinking to visual art & design students
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Having been a professional designer for ten years in the UK and Australia, and subsequently teaching the subject, I realized that the most important thing I was trying to impart to my students was the means to increase their creativity. Rather than including various creative approaches into assignments as an add-on tool, I came to the conclusion that a holistic approach is essential in the teaching of creative thinking. Instead of a piecemeal approach, I decided to develop a specific course with creative thinking as its focus. This has now been taught every semester since the beginning of 2003. My initial belief that the teaching, and learning, of creative thinking is not easily compartmentalized has been strengthened through the experience of teaching this course. A reductionist approach may be essential to understanding the parts, but the creative concept can easily exceed the sum of these parts. Consequently, I adopted a generalist approach that incorporates a range of cognitive and behavioural activities which together offer an effective way to tap into individual creativity. One important ingredient is the use of 'Impro' theatre technique to lessen self-awareness, heighten spontaneity and encourage humour. Every student who completes the course takes with them some practical means of extending their creative output. Throughout the semester every student is physically and mentally engaged in workshop activities that encourage creative output. The course could well be called 'Practical Creativity' since it requires an actual product as the outcome. A limited selection of these 'creative products' will be offered as evidence of the success this process has been.
Dialogues and Differences 2006 Symposium Proceedings
Copyright 2007 University of Melbourne.This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Use hypertext link to access publisher's website.