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Creativity, Imagination and the Power of ‘If’

In April, the IB welcomes Dinos Aristidou as a presenter at the 2015 Peterson Academic Symposium, The Hague, Netherlands.

Dinos Aristidou

Dinos Aristidou

Dinos Aristidou is a playwright, director and education consultant who specializes in working with educators, communities and young people, both in the UK and internationally.

  1. The theme of the symposium is “Why does creativity matter?” Can you give us a taste of what you will be presenting at the symposium?

I am interested in the imagination and the relationship between the imagination and creativity. I have been working on developing a framework, ‘The Practice of If’, to help schools develop creative teaching and learning which can be used by all disciplines. This is very much the focus of my presentation.

  1. What is creativity?

There are many definitions and misunderstandings of creativity as well as much confusion. It’s alternately perceived to be a skill, an approach, an attitude, a methodology a behaviour, or as a talent. It’s no wonder that it is so confusing. Each discipline has distinct creative approaches and uses creativity for different purposes. Each creative individual will explain creativity and their approach to creative endeavor in a different way. Furthermore, in teaching it’s often mistaken for engagement and enjoyment- if it’s fun and engaging it must be creative. For me imagination with purpose is the key to understanding creativity and working creatively. It is possible to assess and, I believe, it is a key component of international mindedness.

  1. Creativity has been a hot topic of conversation in education for many years. Why do you think creativity is such an important topic in the current educational climate?

I think part of the driver for this enthusiasm was initially economic as well as recognition that systems of education were fast become irrelevant and disconnected from the ‘real world’. The market generally expects a fast turnover of ideas, products and systems. This has been driven partly by technology and its fast changing capabilities. The export of ideas is something that has currency and to have ideas you need a creative workforce. The ability to post our creations online – whether they are  ‘selfies’, music, video, blogs- and the changing face of the distribution of the arts online has also spawned a creative generation. In addition, as information has become so easily accessible, what we create with it and how we (creatively) use it has become a major preoccupation in education.

  1. In your work with young people and adults in theatre and the arts, is creativity something to be considered as age specific? Do we ‘lose it’ with age?

I think the impulse to create, to make sense of the world, to construct, structure and share our experiences and our interactions with the world and what we know of the world doesn’t change with age. But our interests, our experiences, our preoccupations do change with age. Therefore, what we imagine, and how we imagine it, is different. Age also provides us with more experiences that we can draw on and connect to construct new understandings. We never cease to be learners so our responsibility as educators is to develop life long learners with a life long curiosity. Curiosity is the very heart of creativity.

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