Creativity as Practice

Creating a self-portrait, session 1, September 2018

Developing sustainable creative practice in primary school educators

CCI began working alongside staff from St John’s College School (Cambridge) in September 2018. Our focus is on developing the educators own creative practice through an extended programme of 6 workshops spread through the year. The process is supported with readings and guided reflections.

The development of this new programme has been informed by CCI’s current practice, as well as the evaluations and learning from Creativity as Practice, an accredited professional course we designed in conjunction with colleagues at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education in 2005.  

The original course and subsequent programme was prompted by feedback from educators who attended an exhibition and series of event in 2004 - Hundred Languages of Children, attended by over 2,000 people. The over-riding question posed by the exhibition evaluation was how could educators work with their own creativity once artists ‘have left the room’.  1

The aims of the new programme are as follows:

  • To support the development of sustainable creative practices in educators
  • To explore the inter-disciplinary strategies that contemporary artists use in their own socially-engaged practice and their relevance to the practice of educators
  • To support an inquisitive and exploratory approach to children’s learning through play and experimentation
  • To offer educators an opportunity to work with artists
  • To engage both artists and educators in a process that involves their own professional development and their own creativity
  • To develop a dialogic approach between educators and artists with children at the heart of the process
  • To develop a group of like-minded educators who can support each other.

I think it’s like a fuse being ignited because once you start with it, everything you do you think about in a different way…..It makes you rethink everything and kind of question are you really doing it in the best way you can….It’s having time, being guided. This is your time to think about these things because on an everyday basis you get caught up with your routine and your private life…..It was almost like visiting yourself - I felt like I was visiting myself every week – I just felt like I’d met myself again.

Teacher’s feedback, Creativity as Practice course2

An article from the Refocus Journal by Andrea Gray, Early Years Advisory Teacher, and Jane Stewart, Training Co-ordinator of Brent Early Years Service, on their own experiences on a similar course is here.

1Enemies of Boredom, Evaluation report of Hundred Languages of Children exhibition
2Igniting a Fuse: developing the creative practice of primary educators (an evaluation of CCI’s Creativity as Practice cpd course), 2008, published by Creative Partnerships ISBN 978-0-7287-1391-8

Exploring the unexpected


Session 4 with artists Caroline Wendling in February

List for exercise 1

Materials – paper, pencils, graphites, crayons, pastels, felt-tips, fluorescent pens, charcoal, chalk, glue sticks and tissue paper

Taking a still life of unexpected objects as a starting point and the practice of artist John Cage

Taking a still life of unexpected objects as a starting point and the practice of artist John Cage to use games to determine his work. We thought about ideas of collaboration and exchange after drawing with rules created by the group and dictated by a dice, reflecting on ideas of constraint versus freedom. We asked does it matter who makes the rules.

Taking a still life of unexpected objects as a starting point and the practice of artist John Cage

The final drawings were created with messages from other minds.

I appreciated the value of role play – it’s powerful as it doesn’t matter…you can be someone else.

Everyday something unexpected presents itself in my classroom.

I was thinking differently, exploring life from a different character.

Drawings created with messages from other minds

Drawings created with messages from other minds



Session 3 with artist Filipa Pereira Stubbs in January 2019

Materials - paper, pastels, sound, space, curious and natural objects (some wrapped),  books (some wrapped), postcards, quotes from CAP readings

Thinking about space - clearing, arriving, moving through, settling, playing, beginning, connecting, undoing and remaking. Noticing individuality and differences.

15 very individual plans to connect objects, words and images - all shared below - were created during the session.

Next time I will think about the environment and how to adapt to different learners…….and I will keep the lights off.


Teachers working

Teachers working

Teachers working

Teachers working

Children Leading


Session 2 with artist Caroline Wendling in October 2018
Materials – sand, sticks, paper, string, wool

Thinking about how children can lead; questions of control and ownership and collaboration, looking for big ideas and the challenges of creating sufficient time given time-tabling pressures.

Generous Environments


Session 1 with artist Sally Todd in September 2018
Materials – plasticene, ink, wire, paper

Thinking about what a ‘generous’ environment might include; an emptier space, the generosity of offering less, quiet, sharing with others and protecting the children’s time and interests.


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