Everybody's back in on Monday and so I've spent the day tidying up the lectures I'm going to be delivering. I've done a bit of work on revamping Level 1's Ways of Seeing course which we ran for the first time last year as an introduction to aesthetics and argument and I'm now developing the follow up Level 2 Creative Thinking course which hopefully will feed some of our discoveries back into the students own work.
It's hard to find a satisfying way to teach creativity. Is it about sensory engagement with the world, learning to see more? Or is it about re organising conventional ideas so that they take on a new look? Is it a diplomatic, pragmatic or inclusive concept, a way of problem solving? Or is it about finding an individual position or niche and holding out for the unique?
My instinct is that creativity carries risk and is feral, ungoverned by rules or tight definition. It's also probably relative - a pin striped suit might be the creative choice in a bohemian community. Above all it seems just to be a momentum, a strategy to avoid getting stuck in a rut. A restless tiger?
Whatever creativity is - it's clearly in demand as much now in education and business as in its traditional realms of science and the arts.
As the definition of creativity broadens its shape begins to shift away from the responsive and poetic towards something more vital, dynamic and necessary. The only places where creative thought is not welcome is where fixed orthodoxy has dominion and those places and people, dangerous as they are, seem to be increasingly isolated. Maybe there's hope in that. .
Mark is the Academic Director of the Drama Programmes at St Mary's University in Twickenham. He has worked internationally as a theatre director and educator for the past 15 years, focused mostly on youth, community, and conflict resolution work.
As a lecturer Mark taught at Goldsmiths College, Coventry University and was Head of Performing Arts at Canterbury College prior to joining St Mary’s in 2006.
His Professional directing credits include Henry V (One of US?) and Valhalla for RSC Education; The Wind in the Willows, Jack Cade, The Red, Red Robin for Sevenoaks Playhouse; Tender Souls, The Quality of Mercy and Playhouse Creatures for the Ambassadors Theatre group.
Mark is a director of subVERSE Theatre company for whom has directed fringe premieres of Chief, Dinnertime and OxfamC**t at Theatre 503.
Site specific work includes Purka and Shadow on Icelandic volcanoes and Novocento with students from the University of Genoa.