After this session, I felt exhausted but uplifted. There were many avenues I wanted to explore and, although it took some time to track down sources mentioned, I feel as if my deeper understanding of creativity and motivation is helping me to develop my own teaching and artistic practice.
Unpacking the dream
I enjoyed the free writing exercise, but when I read through Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way (1995) I was taken aback by the constant references to God and spirituality. I liked the idea of giving myself and others licence to reflect and listen to the inner self but I found it a bit too much like navel-gazing. I prefer Ken Robinson’s idea of creativity as needing an audience and needing a focus (2001, p.114), think of Jeremy Deller’s and Stephen Willats’ work which is based on collaboration and social transformation.
Judy Thomas the dreamer: articulating practice and the importance of free thinking
‘In true forms of collaborative practice it is not the art and not the people who are managed, I believe it is something that is symbiotic and evolves.’ (Thomas, 2012, slide 6)
Ever since I started teaching, my aim is has been to continue to move towards being a teacher as facilitator rather than a teacher as instructor. It is interesting to consider the necessary structures that need to exist for that to happen.
I keep returning to Marvin Bartel’s website on Creativity Killers for inspiration in my teaching and a way of positioning myself as a teacher.
Through Marvin Bartel, it was interesting to revisit Lowenfeld who I had read a bit of during my PGCE. Lowenfeld seems to be asking the teacher to have an understanding of the psychological development of his or her students in order to empathise with them and understand their viewpoint (1964, p.81).
Exploring the creation of narrative – frames and scary stories
The Frames and Scary Stories exercise made me think about the connections between stories, objects and creativity. I do not think we used a writing frame as such, but a loose collection of agreed ideas. It made me think about Pringles’ active outcomes in Contemporary Gallery Education where she discusses the fluidity of engagement with art and galleries (2006, p.39). The idea of using an emotion or a feeling to create a narrative was a really good way into creating a piece of work.
I managed to get to the First Cut exhibition at Manchester City Art Gallery, and I have been using Andersen M Studio’s animation Going West (2009) to introduce the idea of papercut to my students. I find paper fascinating as a medium but I was ambivalent about some of the pieces, which I found beautifully crafted but void of meaning. I loved the work by Kara Walker with its apparent playfulness but dark subject matter.
I’m now investigating creating a big topic based on MONEY for teaching Year 9 next year. I have discovered that photocopying banknotes is not illegal as long as I have the permission from the Bank of England. I like the idea of exploring value, inflation, images of power, reproduction. I’m thinking about using microscopes, photography, printmaking, ceramics, mark making and papermaking.
Ben Jones’ presentation on The possibility of Collective Community Action through the Creative Use of Digital Media was fascinating. I am not altogether sure if I can get excited about it as art but it does bring people together as in Jeanne van Heeswijk’s 2UP2DOWN project in Liverpool. The aesthetic product is not as important as the process.
While I understand what Nina Simon in The Participatory Museum is arguing for and agree with a lot of what she is saying, I dislike museums that lead you by the hand through the exhibits. I love the Sainsbury Collection and the Whitby Museum. Interpretation is minimal, or haphazard. There is a delight in discovering things for yourself and making connections between objects that aren’t forced or obvious. As Lahav says ‘The museum space must retain its difference, its otherness and its uniqueness.’ (2004, p.5)
Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts
I don’t think all museums and galleries should be like this but it does concern me that by adhering to a particular idea of lights, sounds and immersive experience (the wow factor), or one that requires you to respond in a particular way, does not give the viewer space or time to shape their own experience .
It was very useful for Ben to show us Lynsey’s presentation on future clothing. Technology is more exciting and moving faster than I can keep track of it. Michael Naimark’s paper has given me an overview of what countries around the world are doing to join Art and Technology together (2003).
Exploring the creation of narrative – task-based Baltic activity
I felt that there was a disjuncture between narrative and final pieces in the activity based on the Walker and Bromwich installation. Working in collaboration is hard, and I find it even more difficult to produce a transient piece of work for a small group of people. However, the most important thing I am learning from this course is how important it is to be open and receptive. I am thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to explore in greater depth pedagogic and philosophical ideas that underpin my own teaching and practice as an artist. From this awareness and understanding comes strength and also the possibility of change.
Cameron, J. (1995) The Artists’s Way. London: Pan.
Robinson, K. (2001) Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative. London: Capstone.
Deller, J. (2013) Jeremy Deller. Available at: http://www.jeremydeller.org/ (Accessed: 6 February 2013).
Willats, S. (2011) Practice in the Art Museum. Available at: http://stephenwillats.com/texts/practice-art-museum/ (Accessed 6 February 2013).
Thomas, J. (November, 2012) Articulating practice and the importance of free thinking. [powerpoint presentation]
Bartel, M. (2011) Creativity Killers. Available at: http://www.goshen.edu/art/ed/creativitykillers.html (Accessed 6 February 2013).
Lowenfeld, V. & Lambert Brittain, W. (1964) Creativity and Mental Growth. New York: MacMillan.
Pringle. E. (2006) Learning in the Gallery. [review] London: enquire. Available at:
(Accessed 6 February 2013)
Anderson M. Studio (2009) Going West. Available at: http://www.andersenm.com/ (Accessed 6 February 2013).
Lahav, S. (2005) A Special Place, A Learning Space: Museums in the 21st Century, In Engage journal, engageextra. London: engage. Available at: (Accessed 6 February 2013).
Anonymous (no date) Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts [online photograph] Available at: http://ueastudentblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/sainsburys-centre-visual-arts-pic.jpg (Accessed 6 February 2013).
Jkshutt (no date) Whitby Museum [online photograph] Available at: http://www.britainsbestbreaks.tv/whitby-museum_18163.htm (Accessed 6 February 2013).
Simon, N. (2010) The Participatory Museum. Available at: http://www.participatorymuseum.org/chapter1/ (Accessed 6 February 2013).
Naimark, M. (2003) Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Money: Technology-Based Art and the Dynamics of Sustainability. New York: Leonardo Journal. Available at: http://www.artslab.net/artslab.pdf (Accessed 6 February 2013).