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Aberdeen: CreativiTEA Rooms

CreativiTEA Rooms

The CreativiTEA Rooms were a series of bespoke events, organised by Aberdeen’s Creative Learning Team, exploring creativity in education, providing stimulating environments that promoted and facilitated peer knowledge exchange.

Each event provided an opportunity for practitioners of all levels of experience, from a broad range of relevant fields, to explore and engage in conversation around creative learning in a tea room environment. Some sessions were facilitated; others were open discussions around a theme or conversation prompt.

The project was coordinated by Creative Learning at Aberdeen City Council and delivered by the team together with a range of creative and education practitioners.

Getting people talking over tea and cake!

The Creative Learning Team wanted to explore creativity in education in a stimulating way, in unique environments, with a focus on both local and national contexts. A vintage tea room was carefully constructed for artists from across Scotland, teachers, cultural providers and students of art, education and community learning to meet up, engage in conversation and exchange knowledge, skills and ideas.

     

    Throughout the CreativiTEA Rooms series, a relaxed aesthetic was balanced by structured conversation starters and more formally facilitated sessions with the aim of delving into questions of quality, approach and connecting to the curriculum through arts education.

    Programme elements included:

    • At Aberdeen’s Integrated Children’s Services Conference (Sep 2013) and at Aberdeen Learning Festival (Feb 2014), facilitated workshops with creative challenges and drop in CPD activities highlighted the potential of combining a teacher’s toolkit with an artist’s toolkit to achieve high quality arts education.
    • During the Arts Across Learning Festival, Feb/Mar 2014, CreativiTEA Rooms ran daily, bringing creative and education practitioners together in productive conversation.
    • CreativiTEA Rooms explored creativity across the curriculum with student teachers at the University of Aberdeen, and through the CLD PgDip offered by the University with workshops which explored the role of an artist in partnership delivery.
    • A CreativiTEA Rooms blog documented and shared some of the discussions in order to reach a wider audience.

    Learning through innovation

    The Tea Rooms project extended the reach and the profile of the Creative Learning team both locally and nationally and used a format the team had not tried before over such an extended period.

    In contrast to previous conference events delivered by the team for large audiences, the CreativiTEA Rooms allowed focused, smaller, and significant discussions of depth, engaging directly with selected groups to nourish enthusiasm, generate discussion and ultimately generate ideas to further the creativity agenda across learning contexts in Aberdeen.

    Creativity and skills development for participants

    Participants were encouraged to develop core creativity skills through both the open and the more structured workshops and discussions. Sessions stimulated constructive inquisitiveness around creativity in education, bringing practitioners from the fields of art and education into contact in productive conversation and sharing of knowledge in this area, across a broad range of relevant topics. Some sessions were focused around practical creative activity, with discussions developing from this, and some involved group work and problem solving exercises directly related to the real work of delivering creativity in education and developing thinking around creativity in education contexts.

    Impacts on participants were as follows:

    • Discussions were inspiring and practical skills were shared. As a result practitioners were motivated and ambitious for change for the better, including in their own capabilities
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    • Sessions were carefully facilitated to allow everyone's voice to be heard whatever their level of experience. Participants were confident in the validity of their own viewpoint
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    • As a result of attending, participants were supported to become more able to apply a creative process to other situations
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    • Through group work, active sessions and developing networks, practitioners were supported to lead and work well with others.

    Artists, students and teachers who attended gave feedback on impact and areas for future development:

    “An opportunity to share ideas and practice with other artists. New contacts and potential future collaborators! Interesting conversations that twice continued well into the evening. Oh, and nice cups of tea and cake.”

    “Great to speak to organisers of the Arts Across Learning festival, festival staff, artists and teachers about opportunities as well as ways of overcoming issues either with the festival or with applying new and inspiring learning experiences for pupils and teachers. Tea was good. Cake was awesome.”

    “It was a great opportunity to meet others and discuss professional issues in an informal environment. I also attended Tracey Smith’s session which was useful and good that it involved a more structured activity with an opportunity for group discussion.”

    "Great to speak about opportunities as well as ways of overcoming issues...with applying new and inspiring learning experiences for pupils and teachers."

    “The tea room was a fantastic idea, and it was realised so beautifully with such attention to detail…it was great to meet new people, to talk about their work, to have an insight into how others approach the challenges of working with young people…for once it made me feel that here was an organisation (Creative Learning) who not only cared a great deal about the work on offer to the children and its impact but also that cared about the artists involved – it gave a real sense of being valued.”