Festival of Creativity: in and out of the Classroom

Monday 15 - Tuesday 16 April 2024 content

Monday 15 - Tuesday 16 April 2024

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Creativity in and out of the Classroom is an online festival of creativity and learning jointly hosted by the UHI Learning and Teaching Academy and Centre for Living Sustainability in Spring 2024.

Event Focus

Open to the UHI Partnership and invited external partners/community groups, the focus of the event will be creativity for learning and teaching in tertiary contexts, including those outside formal education settings. The festival programme will have presentations and keynote speakers with opportunities for knowledge exchange and sharing of creative practice across the two days.

Cross-disciplinary approaches will be explored and whilst creative arts disciplines such as art and drama will be featured, colleagues working in other disciplines are encouraged to share their creative approaches to learning and teaching. The festival will end with a symposium panel of guest speakers, to which all participants are invited to attend.

Festival themes content

Festival themes

Festival themes

Thematic strands include:

  • Collaboration: through creative practice: inter/multi/trans/disciplinary.
  • Sustainability: through creative practice/impact.
  • Activism: creativity for change.
  • Into the Woods: creative learning journeys through and beyond academia.
  • Storytelling: student and practitioner creative identity and world building.
  • Wellbeing: creativity for health and confidence.
  • Live and Online: digital creative approaches and delivery.

In considering the above themes colleagues intending on submitting a proposal for the festival might consider:

  • How creative practice and thinking can be used across disciplines and across academic levels to facilitate creative learning environments.
  • How creative pedagogies and practice can enhance student engagement and knowledge through curriculum and activity design.
  • Conceptualisation and characterising the creative curricula at UHI.
  • How creative pedagogies impact on learners’ creative thinking, building skills to think and learn imaginatively, to take risks and to build confidence.
  • Using creative approaches (performance skills) for teaching delivery to encourage active student participation.
  • How creative community learning approaches can inform and enhance academic learning and teaching design and delivery.

The above themes and considerations will also be reflected in the forthcoming call for proposals for the special issue of JPAAP.

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Festival Programme

ONLINE SESSIONS

MONDAY 15 APRIL

Time Session Description

12:30 – 13:10

Keynote: Mischief Managed

Rachelle O’Brien, Durham University

Join Rachelle on her journey to creativity. You can expect to experience a few monsters on the way, plenty of failure, a good dash of triumph and some very honest reflections. Prepare to help in choosing how this story unfolds and what comes next. One thing is for sure, there will be mischief!

13:10 – 13:50

The Cromarty Firth - An Immersive Musical Journey

Peter Noble, UHI North, West and Hebrides

This performance's intention is to involve the audience in 'singing a world into existence'. The performance will feature a variety of audience participation with the intention of including the audience within the performance. Watch an insight into the performances on YouTube.

This concept breaks down the 4th wall of the screen and uses techniques and an ethos that could be repurposed in many other ways. It aims to highlight the potential of going beyond passive viewing of hybrid activity to a place where remote individuals can feel linked and included toa distanced event.

13:50 – 14:20

Design Thinking Framework to develop students’ Ethical Leadership approach

David Jack and Giulia Massera, UHI Inverness

This presentation focuses on the development of industry focused pedagogy which will be of interest to educational practitioners, scholars of management and leadership and anyone interested in sustainability and/or fashion.

This case study explores our future leaders' needs by introducing and applying the critical project management frameworks within the design thinking methodology. The aim is to direct undergraduate students in building a fashion event with an ethical approach around three different sustainable development goals:

  • Quality education
  • Reduce Inequalities
  • Climate Action

14:30 – 15:00

Writing about Place: Memory maps and capturing reflections

Lesley McKay, Creative Practice postgraduate students

This presentation will explain how to capture reflections while outside, and then turn these into simple statements/poems. The process is often revealing in what is captured.

15:00 – 15:30

Storytelling Inspired by Nature

Natalie Campbell, UHI Moray

Story telling in the outdoors is a fantastic way to develop children’s wonder of the natural world. Interactive stories set firmly in the environment in which they are being told will help to foster a connection with nature which has been shown to lead to more environmentally minded actions in the future. The presentation will introduce you to approaches to story telling outdoors, the benefits and leave you with new ideas of ways to use the outdoors to inspire stories and learning.

15:30 – 16:00

Collaborative Creative Approaches to exploring the challenges and opportunities related to health and care services in Scotland's rural communities: involving students in creative community research

Mari Todd and Bonnie Forrest, UHI Inverness

This presentation will provide an overview of creative approaches taken in current project which involves UHI research team, Science Ceilidh, InvernessOpenArts, and staff and students at UHI Inverness.

16:15 – 16:45

Use of Art in a Curriculum- learning and assessment

Wendy Jessiman, UHI LTA

This presentation will explore the use of art with students. When students choose or create their own art, they can convey an understanding of sensitive and complex topics. This understanding, and their learning can also be assessed when they express their ideas and learning in assessments for example in digi-essays, presentations, and publications.

TUESDAY 16 APRIL

Time Session Description

09:30 - 10:10

Keynote: Learned Words: How poetry can be used to reflect on staff belonging in higher education

Dr Sam Illingworth, Edinburgh Napier University and Dr Marita Le Vaul-Grimwood, Advance HE

This presentation will explore the transformative power of poetry as a tool for enhancing wellbeing and identity among staff and students in higher education. By adopting Poetic Content Analysis, we uncover how poetry serves as a unique lens through which the nuances of belonging, identity, and emotional wellbeing can be expressed and understood. This session will not only present findings but also foster an interactive dialogue, encouraging participants to share their experiences and reflections on how poetry has influenced their personal and professional lives.

10:10 - 10:40

Social practice and co-creation with young people

Circus Artspace

Circus Artspace will present an overview of their artist led collective practice and will highlight recent collaboration with young people.

Circus Artspace are a collective of practicing professional artists, curators and producers committed to making contemporary art accessible to a broader Highland audience and supporting emerging artists in our area. Based in Inverness we work across many different disciplines; painting, printmaking, sculpture, film, performance and participatory and socially engaged work.

11:00-11:30

Carnivalized storytelling: A workshop method for intergenerational creativity

Sarah Wagner, UHI Inverness

This presentation explores intergenerational creativity through the lens of Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of carnivalization. Participants will be introduced to an intergenerational workshop method that supports the reinvigoration of traditional storytelling through collaborative creative practice.  Drawing on findings from recent workshops co-facilitated in the Amami Islands, Japan, the presentation will reflect on the value and place of intergenerational creativity within cultural revitalisation agendas. 

12:15 - 12:45

A Women's Issue? Access to creativity and working with trauma in participatory settings

Cat Meighan, Circus Artspace

Cat Meighan will talk about her work with the national Culture Collective project where she worked creatively with women and children impacted by domestic abuse, and talk about the issues raised in this kind of creative participatory setting.

13:30 - 14:00

Sustainability through creative and collaborative community-driven and intergenerational research

Vicky Johnson, UHI Inverness

The focus of the presentation is 'Community Assessment and Action' (CAA). This social and inclusive research and pedagogy includes training research teams that comprise of academics, professionals and broader stakeholders in local partners, and community members of different ages and identities. Teams co-construct creative research and action plans that respond to local sustainability priorities and seek to find place-based solutions. The approach includes creative visual and moving methods, such as mapping, photo narratives, rivers and roads of life, relationship and network diagrams and ranking lines and grids. It also involves agreement around objectives, ethical processes and a coding system that can facilitate decision-makers to engage more meaningfully with this participatory research.

14:00 - 14:30

Growing up with art; approaches to youth creativity over the long-term

Richard Bracken, Room 13

Sharing the ways in which young people engaging with Room 13 art studio in Caol, Fort William, are enabled to grow and develop as creative individuals.

14:30 - 15:00

Creative Practice Student Research Panel Discussion

Lesley McKay, Peter Noble, Marie Melnyczuk, Dave Sands.

Creative Practice Postgraduate students exploring creative practice and research

Session outlines and biographies content

Session outlines and biographies

Session outlines and biographies

Keynote: Mischief Managed

Rachelle O’Brien, Durham University

Join Rachelle on her journey to creativity. You can expect to experience a few monsters on the way, plenty of failure, a good dash of triumph and some very honest reflections. Prepare to help in choosing how this story unfolds and what comes next. One things for sure, there will be mischief!

Rachelle Emily O'Brien (now Rawlinson) has worked in the education sector for more than 10 years as a volunteer, independent consultant, in higher education and the commercial sector. Rachelle is passionate about transforming education through developing playful and inclusive learning opportunities which prioritise access for all. In her role as a Senior Learning Designer at Durham Centre for Academic Development at Durham University, Rachelle champions the integration of digital pedagogy, inclusivity and playfulness into curricula.

Rachelle is a curriculum transformation expert and leads educators to design and develop their learning, teaching and assessment practices to be more inclusive, enhance engagement and student experience through the incorporation of playfulness, creativity and games. Rachelle’s unique approach encourages educators to explore new practices in non-traditional ‘no-risk’ environments which advocate for learning from failure. Rachelle is an adventurer. She colours outside of the lines, breaks rules and experiments. Rachelle finds pedagogies and technologies and plays with them, exploring at their limits to understand possibilities outside of their original intention, to create inclusive and playful learning experiences for others. Resulting from this, Rachelle has gained the nickname ‘Escape Room Queen’ and is well known for her unique delivery style that prioritises personal experiences. Rachelle’s use of playfulness, creativity and games in practice empowers others to cross boundaries, explore messiness and actively change and disrupt existing practices.

The Cromarty Firth - An Immersive Musical Journey

Peter Noble, Curriculm Leader Creative Arts, UHI North, West and Hebrides

Peter Noble

This performance's intention is to involve the audience in 'singing a world into existence'. The performance will feature a variety of audience participation with the intention of including the audience within the performance. Watch an insight into the performances on YouTube.

This concept breaks down the 4th wall of the screen and uses techniques and an ethos that could be repurposed in many other ways. It aims to highlight the potential of going beyond passive viewing of hybrid activity to a place where remote individuals can feel linked and included toa distanced event.

Peter Noble is a song writer and musician interested in creating connection and immersion through performance. Peter’s creative output has focused on Geo poetics and the Cromarty Firth specifically in recent years. ‘I am trying to create performances that lead to connection and participation in a hybrid way. Experiences that feel like virtual installations and engage the audience through gentle participation.’ Throughout recent albums Peter has developed a thematic focus that makes sense of sounds within their context.

‘By applying music-based geo poetic practice to the Cromarty Firth I aim to engage audiences with the Cromarty Firth in new ways. At this time of decline in oil, rise of renewables and the recent announcement of freeport status an artistic response to this place can provide cultural preservation, deeper interactions and support engagement with the complexity of this place.’

Read Peter Noble's blog post about his performances

Design Thinking Framework to develop students’ Ethical Leadership approach

David Jack, Lecturer and Programme Leader, and Giulia Massera, Student, UHI Inverness

The United Nations (UN, 1987) outlined sustainability as the ability to meet the demand of present and future generations, and both were defined as a priority. Three measurements were added in more recent studies: economic growth, called profit; the social equity principle, called people; and respect for the environment, called planet. To succeed in achieving the goals and find the balance between the 3Ps, people, planet and profit, companies must review or redesign their internal culture, and this starts from their management style.

Embracing this vision as a leader is particularly challenging when it comes to the fashion industry. The violation of fashion workers' human rights became known only after the Rana Plaza Collapse, in 2013 (ILO, 2013) marked the beginning of the Fashion Revolution Movement (2018). Moreover, only in 2018, under the auspices of the UN, fashion stakeholders started to understand the industry's negative impact on climate and committed to change (UN, 2018). However, looking at the current report for the Fashion Revolution Transparency Index (2022) and SDG 2022 report (UN, 2022b), the industry needs to review its approach to business and foster mindful ethical oriented leaders.

This project aimed to support fashion students in starting to develop a structured and inclusive team process while embedding frameworks into practical ethical leadership skills, both essential to succeed in the current market landscape. Theoretical background and collection of primary research data have been used for each step of the process to make sure that the results are replicable to a higher level of study and in real work scenarios.

This presentation focuses on the development of industry focused pedagogy which will be of interest to educational practitioners, scholars of management and leadership and anyone interested in sustainability and/or fashion.

Prior to moving into the HE sector in May 2019, Giulia held several professional roles in Business Management. Working for global companies like Accenture, J.W. Thompson, MANGO, Pinko and Ralph & Russo, she has more than 25 years of professional experience. In 2019 Giulia became a Senior Lecturer with Coventry University and in January 2024 joined Istituto di Moda Burgo as a Senior Lecturer Fashion Marketing and Management.

David Jack is a Programme Leader with UHI Inverness whom he joined in 2017. Prior to this he worked in industry in the field of Human Resources as an HR Manager and Consultant including a spell working overseas. Alongside his teaching practice he continues to run a consultancy specialising in Human Resource Management and Management Development.

Writing about Place: Memory maps and capturing reflections

Lesley McKay, Creative Practice postgraduate student

Writing about place | Memory maps and capturing reflections | A writing workshop by Lesley McKay PhD Creative Practice

The workshop will aim to produce writing about Place using different prompts and approaches. Participants will be gently led to produce some personal writing. 

Lesley writes under the name Lesley Traynor and is Co-chair of the Federation of Writers (Scotland) and a former Director of the Scottish Writers Centre. Lesley is published internationally and runs workshops at numerous events and Literary Festivals. Lesley is currently in 2nd year of a PhD Creative Practice.

Storytelling Inspired by Nature

Natalie Campbell, Vocational Training Assessor Childcare, UHI Moray

Natalie Campbell

The workshop will focus on a creative, nature-based pedagogical approach to telling and inspiring stories for the early years.

During hands on activities in the outdoors we will explore interactive ways to encourage curiosity and imagination. Some of these will include story props, simple crafts and activities to stimulate exploration.

Story telling in the outdoors is a fantastic way to develop children’s wonder of the natural world. Interactive stories set firmly in the environment in which they are being told will help to foster a connection with nature which has been shown to lead to more environmentally minded actions in the future.

As well as providing practical guidance on low cost, accessible resources, materials and props we will consider how to tell a story for maximum impact and engagement. 
Following the workshop, you should:

  • Have new ideas of ways to use the outdoors to inspire stories and learning.
  • Be more confident in being creative in the outdoors.
  • Know where to access further resources.
  • Be inspired to create wonder in the natural world. 

Primarily this workshop would benefit early years practitioners and outdoor practitioners as well as those teaching and training them. All the ideas will be taught through hands on activities which can then be passed on to the relevant students for them to use in practice. Additionally, ideas from this workshop could be adapted to inspire learning in the outdoors for other disciplines.

Natalie Campbell is a trained Forest School and Forest Kindergarten leader with 10 years’ experience in outdoor learning. Natalie has delivered outdoor sessions in many different nurseries, schools and for public events throughout Moray. Natalie has recently been working as a SVQ assessor in childcare and support the candidates in outdoor learning where they can through this. Natalie has created and delivered many training courses in various aspects of outdoor learning and thoroughly enjoys sharing ideas and experiences with the participants in an informal and interactive way.

Collaborative Creative Approaches to exploring the challenges and opportunities related to health and care services in Scotland's rural communities: involving students in creative community research

Mari Todd, Lecturer, Arts Facilitator, Lecturer, Researcher, and Bonnie Forrest, Inverness Open Arts Co-ordinator and Facilitator, UHI Inverness

Mari Todd

Overview of creative approaches taken in current project which involves UHI research team, Science Ceilidh, InvernessOpenArts, and staff and students at UHI Inverness.

Mari Todd is part of the Psychology Team at UHI Inverness. Mari’s background includes working in community settings delivering health, wellbeing and environment initiatives. In a previous role within NHS Shetland wellbeing initiatives included delivery of community mental health and suicide prevention programmes which were then rolled out to the whole of Scotland (Mental Health First Aid and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Programmes.  Other community health initiatives included walking for health initiatives and GP referral to exercise schemes. Mari has completed an MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology where the research project explored the links between social identity, the coastal environment and health and wellbeing through the prism of coastal rowing.

More recent research includes taking a social identity approach to improving wellbeing and team functioning with NHS staff (Poster Presentation UHI Inverness 2023) and investigating the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on rural communities and sustainable behaviours. Mari is currently exploring the links between the environment, wellbeing and sustainable behaviours in a number of research projects, as well as working with the skatepark community to explore the links between skatepark use and wellbeing. Mari is also involved in the Green Champions Network at the UHI which is working to embed sustainability and climate adaptation into the UHI community of staff and students.

Use of Art in a Curriculum- learning and assessment

Wendy Jessiman, Senior Lecturer, UHI LTA

photo of Wendy Jessiman

Focus: The use of art can help students learn. When students choose or create their own art, they can convey an understanding of sensitive and complex topics. This understanding, and their learning can also be assessed when they express their ideas and learning in assessments for example in digi-essays, presentations and publications.

Intended audience: Those involved with tertiary education

Following the sessions participants will be able to:

  • Explore how art can be used in a curriculum
  • Examine how art could be used to support student’s learning
  • Examine the potential for the use of art in assessments

Prior to 1997 Wendy worked clinically as a midwife and a nurse. She is an academic with expertise in midwifery and nurse education and research since 1997. Over 4 decades she has published and presented, sharing her experience and supporting others to develop their careers in healthcare or in academia in the Highlands of Scotland and beyond. As a highly experienced professional registrant and academic she has held a number of statutory roles and senior academic positions. Wendy is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her interests in pedagogy include delivery modes for learning, how to measure and support engagement of students when using blended learning approaches, and authentic assessment.

Keynote - Learned Words: how poetry can be used to reflect on staff belonging in higher education

Dr Sam Illingworth, Edinburgh Napier University, and Dr Marita Le Vaul-Grimwood, Advance HE

In this presentation, we explore the transformative power of poetry as a tool for enhancing wellbeing and identity among staff and students in higher education. By adopting Poetic Content Analysis, we uncover how poetry serves as a unique lens through which the nuances of belonging, identity, and emotional wellbeing can be expressed and understood. This session will not only present our findings but also foster an interactive dialogue, encouraging participants to share their experiences and reflections on how poetry has influenced their personal and professional lives. We aim to illustrate the broader potential of poetry in supporting wellbeing and shaping identities, offering actionable recommendations for institutions to integrate poetic expression as a vital component of their inclusivity and mental health strategies. Concluding with an open Q&A, this presentation seeks to inspire a deeper appreciation for the role of poetry in the academic community, advocating for its use as a powerful tool for personal growth and community building in higher education.

Dr Sam Illingworth is an Associate Professor in the Department of Learning and teaching Enhancement at Edinburgh Napier University. His work and research are concerned with using creative pedagogies (poetry and games) to help explore staff and student belonging in higher education. You can find out more about Sam and his work via his website.

Dr Marita Grimwood is an Educational Developer and researcher with expertise in professional and curriculum development in HE. Formerly Associate Professor at Edinburgh Napier University, she is now Senior Adviser for Teaching Fellowships at Advance HE, where she leads on Principal Fellowships. Her academic background is in literature and she is interested in the intersection of professional development, narrative, and identity.

Circus Artspace - Social practice and co-creation with young people

Circus Artspace Team

Circus Artspace will present an overview of their artist led collective practice and will highlight recent collaboration with young people.

Circus Artspace are a collective of practicing professional artists, curators and producers committed to making contemporary art accessible to a broader Highland audience and supporting emerging artists in our area. Based in Inverness we work across many different disciplines; painting, printmaking, sculpture, film, performance and participatory and socially engaged work.

Carnivalized storytelling: A workshop method for intergenerational creativity

Sarah Wagner, Senior Researcher, UHI Inverness

This presentation explores intergenerational creativity through the lens of Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of carnivalization. Participants will be introduced to an intergenerational workshop method that supports the reinvigoration of traditional storytelling through collaborative creative practice.  Drawing on findings from recent workshops co-facilitated in the Amami Islands, Japan, the presentation will reflect on the value and place of intergenerational creativity within cultural revitalisation agendas. (co-author: Tomoko Kanayama, Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences, Japan)

Sarah Wagner is Senior Researcher at the Centre for Living Sustainability, UHI Inverness. Sarah employs creative, critical and collaborative methods to examine the factors that shape individuals’ civic positioning in digitalisation. Her research has brought attention to the power differentials embedded in communication technology service systems and has been published in journals such as New Media & Society, Mobile Media & Communication and International Journal of Cultural Studies.

A Women's Issue? Access to creativity and working with trauma in participatory settings.

Cat Meighan, Circus Artspace

Cat Meigan

Cat Meighan will talk about her work with the national Culture Collective project where she worked creatively with women and children impacted by domestic abuse, and talk about the issues raised in this kind of creative participatory setting.

Cat Meighan is a socially engaged contemporary visual art practitioner and producer who works on peer-led projects, workshop facilitation, research, teaching, coaching and mentoring. She is a founding member of Circus Artspace, based in Inverness; a collective that is committed to making contemporary art accessible to a broader Highland audience as well as supporting recent art graduates from our area. Cat’s work within communities brings about opportunities for discourse, action, and autonomy in creative projects for communities’ continued benefit and development. From 2021 - 2023, she worked on the national Culture Collective project, collaborating with women impacted by domestic abuse, sexual abuse and assault, and continues this work in collaboration with RASASH (Rape and Sexual Abuse Service Highland). She is currently working as one of the lead artists on the Remembering Together Covid memorial project in Highland.

Sustainability through creative and collaborative community-driven and intergenerational research

Vicky Johnson, Research Director - Centre for Living Sustainability, UHI Inverness

The focus of the presentation is 'Community Assessment and Action' (CAA). This social and inclusive research and pedagogy includes training research teams that comprise of academics, professionals and broader stakeholders in local partners, and community members of different ages and identities. Teams co-construct creative research and action plans that respond to local sustainability priorities and seek to find place-based solutions. The approach includes creative visual and moving methods, such as mapping, photo narratives, rivers and roads of life, relationship and network diagrams and ranking lines and grids. It also involves agreement around objectives, ethical processes and a coding system that can facilitate decision-makers to engage more meaningfully with this participatory research. Examples will be given where CAA has been applied across the UK and internationally addressing, for example, youth rights, covid recovery across highland communities, and the socio-cultural perceptions of beavers.... The session will raise ethical dilemmas, challenges including power dynamics, pathways to impact and informing policy and practice.

The intended audience is anyone who feels passionate about sustainability issues across disciplines and within their local communities. Participants in the session may be interested in creative approaches in community research, inclusion and intersecting inequalities and local processes that forefront different community and intergenerational voices in decision-making. It combines academia with activism and can be applied to community partner, staff and/or youth and student-centred and led projects.

The learning outcomes include gaining an improved understanding of one capacity building approach to participatory action research. Critical analysis of some of the challenges and benefits of community-driven research and engagement. Assessment of the extent to which creativity and social pedagogies can be applied in different contexts and to address sustainability issues. Consideration of different roles in applied research processes.

The presentation could also be run to include some workshop activities after a presentation.

Vicky Johnson worked for national and international charities for over 20 years before becoming a lecturer and researcher at the University of Brighton and the University of London. She joined UHI Inverness in early 2020 to lead the Centre for Living Sustainability, which focusses on sustainability, culture, equity and social justice. In particular, the Centre aims to give a voice to the most marginalised and encourages dialogue between communities and decision markers. Professor Johnson’s books include: ‘Listening to Small Voices’, research on children’s contribution to fragile environments; ‘Stepping Forward’, a synthesis of how to include children and young people in international development; ‘Going Beyond Voice’, examining support for young people’s participation across global contexts; ‘Youth and Positive Uncertainty’, about negotiating life pathways in post conflict and fragile environments in Ethiopia and Nepal; and ‘Voices of Academics and Activists’ that compiles stories and experiences about working with children in communities.

Growing up with art; approaches to youth creativity over the long-term

Richard Bracken, Room 13

Sharing the ways in which young people engaging with Room 13 art studio in Caol, Fort William, are enabled to grow and develop as creative individuals.

Bio: Richard Bracken is Lead Artist for Room 13 in Caol, Fort William. With a background in sculpture, Richard has 14 years experience working creatively with young people and communities.

Creative Practice Student Research Panel Discussion

Creative Practice Postgraduate students exploring creative practice and research.

Lesley McKay, Peter Noble, Marie Melnyczuk, Dave Sands.

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Registration

Please email lta@uhi.ac.uk stating which sessions you wish to attend online.