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making it happen
making it happen
unlocking creativity the consultation process and its outcomes - summary of responses
making it happen
definition vision the mission and aims - mission statement - aims perspectives and needs
making the connections
making the connections
- access - progression - enterprise - consultation - dissemination - creative grid a creativity framework - structure - consultation - co-ordination - implementation action agendas - action agendas grid - conclusion 38 34
In November 2000 we launched the original Unlocking Creativity document, “A Strategy for Development”. It was a recognition of the major social and economic transition Northern Ireland is facing, and illustrated a prime example of government working together with the aim of developing the creative and cultural resources of its people to the full. We have stimulated a dialogue and debate that has lauded the concept as visionary and strategic, while at the same time identifying the huge challenge to build on existing good practice and make the most of the potential creativity can bring. We have recognised the need for an overarching policy context which, without lessening the commitment to the creative imperative, builds on the wide body of knowledge and the extensive range of good practice that exists - not the least of which have been the development of the interdepartmental Creativity Action Group and the Creativity Seed Fund of £2.8m. Creativity is “imaginative activity with outcomes that are both original and of value1”, a definition that straddles the worlds of education, business and culture and recognises the centrality of creativity to work, life and leisure. Our core themes of Access, Progression, Enterprise, Consultation and Dissemination will be delivered through a creative framework and an action agenda that will enable NI to take its place with confidence in a world of rapid economic and social change. We have been making the connections within Government and increasingly with our partners in education, business and the community. We recognise, value and celebrate the creative achievement possible in all areas of human activity and are committed to realising the aspirations and actions outlined in Making it Happen by unlocking the creative potential of our people.
Mr Michael McGimpsey MLA
Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure
Professor of Education, University of Warwick
Sir Reg Empey MLA
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
Mr Martin McGuinness MP MLA
Minister for Education
Dr Sean Farren MLA
Minister for Higher and Further Education, Training and Employment
27 June 2001
The Unlocking Creativity document published in November 2000 has been praised as visionary and strategic, underpinning the recognition in the Programme for Government of the significance of creativity as a cross-cutting issue. Furthermore, it illustrated how individual creativity can be harnessed in the context of Northern Ireland’s existing educational, commercial and cultural communities by: • demonstrating how best to build on existing practice in creative and cultural education; • explaining how to promote the creative abilities and cultural understanding of all our people, especially the young, through education – formal and informal; • helping to respond to the business community’s needs for creative abilities in developing teamwork, social skills, creative and innovative thinking, powers of communication and problem-solving ability; • emphasising how the new technologies are providing unprecedented access to ideas, information, people and organisations throughout the world; • developing new modes of economic development through entrepreneurship, creativity, personal expression and cultural change and understanding; • maximising the benefits of creating a new and positive image of Northern Ireland that respects, understands and values our cultural diversity.
“This paper [Unlocking Creativity] recognises that creative education
develops the capacity for original ideas and action, and that these can be possible in all areas of human activity, including work and play.” Tourism Training Trust
“Unlocking Creativity presents some robust challenges to established
thinking and provides a timely reminder of the role that creative thinking can play in helping successful businesses to evolve into world-class companies.” Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
The adoption and launch of the document by four government departments – the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL); Department of Education (DE); Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI); and the Department of Higher and Further Education, Training and Employment (DHFETE) – clearly illustrated an active commitment to joined-up government and was a first step in the implementation of the shared vision that had emerged through the Future Search2 process undertaken by DCAL. The task set by Unlocking Creativity was to create policy based on broad consensus and identify the most effective strategies with which to develop and implement that policy. The purpose and thrust of the document and debate in Unlocking Creativity was to be inclusive and not exclusive of opinions or geography, and thereby create a unity of purpose across a range of disparate sectors and communities, all of which are vital to the fulfilment of its vision. The document was consultative, aimed at igniting rather than closing a debate, for without continuing the process of discussion – and providing it with a real context – any attempt at unlocking people’s true creative potential will not succeed. Engaging in real dialogue is fraught with difficulties. It is much easier to create and follow an agenda in isolation, to be exclusive rather than inclusive, and to expect people to function within structures that focus on ease of implementation rather than on quality of outcome. Creativity, however, must deal first and foremost with ideas, imagination, innovation and change. The process of ongoing consultation is essential and has been undertaken without apology for its fluid nature, its occasional hold-ups, its frequent frustrations and its huge complexity because without it, we cannot hope to persuade key stakeholders that their views, ideas, projects and values are the lifeblood of the vision and the processes of the unlocking creativity agenda.
This new document, Unlocking Creativity – Making it Happen takes into account the responses to the original Unlocking Creativity document and the consultation process; it presents the policy and development context and Action Agenda. The revised plan provides an initial framework that is achievable, sustainable and measurable, thus enabling discernible progress without lessening the commitment to the creative imperative, and the radical approaches that are required to support it.
Unlocking Creativity – Making it Happen is intended to build on a body of knowledge and not to repeat it. Many of the key principles and arguments that informed the drive towards a more creative society were set out in the original document. However, it is clear from the responses received during consultation, that many ideas and concepts required refinement. Some details within Action Agendas needed to be reviewed and the strategy as a whole needed to be presented within a structure that is realistic, targeted and accountable, yet accessible and inspiring when seen from a stakeholder position.
Using the feedback from the consultation process, a diverse range of views has been incorporated including the suggestions, plaudits, anecdotes, visions, good examples, criticisms, frustrations, values and philosophies of the respondents. While it is impossible to assimilate all the views, Section One – The Consultation Process and its Outcomes – summarises the key issues that have emerged and presents a rationale for the restructured development strategy that is presented in Section Two.
– The Consultation Process and its Outcomes
Summary of responses Unlocking Creativity – A Strategy for Development was welcomed overwhelmingly. The vast majority of responses were positive and validated the main thrust of the thinking, analysis and strategy behind the original document. Respondents were pleased, encouraged and often inspired by the breadth of its vision and its ambition, and by the sincerity and intensity of the views expressed. For example:
“Unlocking Creativity heralds a new emphasis on the development
of creative education and of the creative industries as fundamental to the knowledge-based economy of Northern Ireland.” Queen’s University of Belfast
“The cross-departmental emphasis of the paper is enlivening. It
demonstrates the most positive benefits promised by devolution and the very necessary basis for developments of this kind.” Workers’ Education Association
“We endorse many of the sentiments and beliefs expressed in the
document about the value of creativity in the modern world and the economic, social and educational benefits which can be reaped through creative and cultural endeavour.” Replay Productions
The underlying values of Unlocking Creativity struck a chord and encouraged people to believe that their individual creative worlds have been brought into the public domain in a powerful and unexpected way. However, the responses did more than express support for the document through words: they illustrated how the process of unlocking creativity is grounded in practice in Northern Ireland, by drawing attention to the huge amount of creative activity already occurring. The strength and depth of this activity is a clear indication that Northern Ireland is ready for this strategy. Any criticisms levelled at the document were constructive, and the length and detail of these and other responses illustrate the seriousness with which the document was treated by all.
“Although the proposed strategy and complementary agenda for
action is laudable, concern would relate to whether it is achievable in reality. The strategy will need to provide a strong framework with common objectives yet allow an appropriate degree of flexibility at operational level.” Belfast City Council
Cautious welcomes such as this came mainly from the public sector and conveyed reservations regarding the scale of the project and the complexities and cost of its co-ordination. Some felt that a sharper focus was required and that priorities needed to be streamlined and separated from a plethora of individual initiatives. Education and Library Boards as well as individual teachers expressed concern over how teachers would react to new initiatives unless there were radical changes in educational structures, particularly within the curriculum. The slight sense of unease evident in many responses appears to be borne out of a concern that an initiative of this scale needs to be aware of, and take into account, the nature of the day-to-day constraints and challenges facing the teaching profession.
Many respondents highlighted the demands associated with bringing together the different perspectives of the educationalist, the entrepreneur and the artist. The worlds of education, business and the arts are too often seen as three separate environments that overlap from time to time, but are largely dominated by distinct and diverse agendas and ways of working. Unlocking Creativity tried to draw these strands into an interdependent network, suggesting that the potential for future success in any of the three was inextricably linked with the core qualities and values of creativity. This approach and mind-set is a quantum leap in terms of how we understand the roles of education and industry and how they are related to arts and culture.
“While we appreciate the need to link creative behaviour to creative
outcomes in terms of business, industry and their economic imperatives, we believe that creativity is a life skill, and as such is worthy of pursuit for its own sake.” Southern Education and Library Board
“As regards the objectives, they may lean a little too much towards
the creative end, with little or no emphasis on the process of innovation. They also may be a little too esoteric. How do these lead to the ultimate objective – to improve the living standards of those living in Northern Ireland, which lags behind the rest of the UK?” Dr. David Neilly, Managing Director, Franklins International Ltd
A number of responders focused on the current emphasis on new technologies as a means of empowering and educating both young and old in Northern Ireland, and their rising profile as a powerful economic driver.
They were keen to emphasise that new technologies must be seen as only one of many aids to the creative process, and that care must be taken to ensure that new technologies do not inhibit, or indeed supplant, individual creativity.
“The Information Age Initiative feels that Unlocking Creativity could
have placed a greater emphasis on the particular potential which exists in the creative industries sector to harness the opportunities which new technologies offer.” Fabian Monds, IAI
“The knowledge-based economy will depend for its sustainability
on creative people who, as well as being highly skilled in their own disciplines, are trained to think across fields, but who are also equipped with wide competencies in communication, literacy, IT, business methods and strategies including entrepreneurship.” University of Ulster
A key issue raised was the need to include areas such as health and leisure, community and voluntary sector involvement, reflecting the extent to which the creativity agenda is relevant to all interests and sectors in society. Unlocking Creativity takes a comprehensive approach to promoting the importance of creativity, and must acknowledge and take advantage of its influence upon the broadest possible audience. The consultation process suggested the need for greater clarity over what are aspirations, key objectives, initiatives, projects, outcomes and methods and how these should all be co-ordinated, monitored and evaluated. The challenge is to set in place a strategy and structure that can turn into reality, the ideas and debates with actions that assist individual creative agendas, and in doing so, support the emergence and implementation of a truly shared vision. A development model is required that is inclusive, robust and complete at as early a stage as possible. A core aim of this document is to set out structures with clearly stated and agreed aims that will enable the continuing placement and refinement of individual projects, ideas and agendas within a coherent strategic policy framework.
“More insidious is the danger of technology actually inhibiting true
creativity – as Ken Robinson pointed out, the young child’s capacity for language learning is infinite and the same could be said for creative imagination. The problem with computers is, at the end of the day, that the software is limited by the creativity of the programme writers – and this can be very limited indeed, as most of them are focused ‘techies’. It is essential that technology is presented as only one of a vast range of tools available to assist the creative process – otherwise the shock of surprise and delight that comes from true originality and innovation will be lost.” Anne Tannahill, Blackstaff Press
making the connections
Making the Connections
Before and since the publication of Unlocking Creativity, there is evidence of work that has created its own synergies and a number of significant actions have been designed, begun, and in some cases completed, demonstrating effective collaboration and co-ordination, and the value of highlighting and validating the concept of creativity and making the connections. The list below is by no means exhaustive, but serves to illustrate the wealth of initiatives and projects currently under way: • The ongoing and growing commitment to the creativity agenda is evidenced in the Programme for Government, which detailed a commitment to ‘providing co-ordinated community-based programmes for maximising individual creativity’ and focused on ‘promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity’. • The establishment of an interdepartmental Creativity Action Group, with representatives from DCAL, DE, DETI, DHFETE and other bodies including the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Film Commission and practitioners. • The DCAL Corporate Strategy identifies the promotion and celebration of cultural diversity and individual creativity as a strategic goal, with the specific objectives of researching the potential of the creative industries and implementing an awareness programme to ensure that creativity is recognised as a key driver of educational policy. • The Creativity Seed Fund has been established with the aim of unlocking creativity in individuals, organisations and businesses in Northern Ireland. £2.8m of Executive Programme Funds has been secured over three years to complement the five core themes of Unlocking Creativity. • DETI officials, in advance of the new agency INI, have set up a dedicated focus group for the creative industries sector. This will draw on the experience of regional, sector and development staff within IRTU, LEDU, IDB, IAI and NITB. This group will concentrate on promoting the creative agenda throughout the organisation. • The CCEA review of the Northern Ireland Curriculum is proposing the inclusion of a creative component at all Key Stages, illustrated for example by the publication of Their Future in our Hands for Key Stage 4.
• ACNI recently launched a programme in support of the individual artist allowing greater flexibility and increased levels of funding. • W5, the first Centre of Curiosity and Imagination, opened in March 2001. • Creative Enterprise, a research and development programme on the potential of the creative industries in NI will deliver its stage two report in Autumn 2001. • Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust Millennium Awards has £1m, available over three years, to sponsor 300 individuals to make a positive voluntary contribution to their community, through personal action, with arts and communication as a core theme. • A comprehensive skills audit of new media technologies was delivered in April 2001, jointly commissioned by the Northern Ireland Film Commission, the Training & Employment Agency and the Northern Ireland Interactive Multimedia Association. • A Board of Directors and a Chief Executive have been appointed to mount the bid to have Belfast designated as European Capital of Culture 2008. • Queen’s University has established a Centre for Creative Industry, a research and development centre focusing on the organisation and management of the creative economy. The centre will work alongside the Sonic Arts Centre, the Institute for Electronics Communications and Information Technology, the Institute for Governance, Public Policy and Social Research and the NI Centre for Entrepreneurship, which includes the University of Ulster. • An action plan is being developed by ADAPT, and supported by DCAL, to improve access to venues in the culture, arts and leisure sectors, following the completion of a pilot project comprising accessibility audits, training and a small grants scheme for an initial 40 venues. • It is proposed to extend the Nesta ‘learning lab’ initiative to Northern Ireland.
• Northern Ireland Music Industry Commission (NIMIC) has been supported by LEDU to raise the profile of the local music industry. Success in promoting the industry abroad and developing new business opportunities will be the key focus of this industry-led group. • ACNI is introducing an Artist in Education Scheme, which will complement and build upon existing curriculum provision. The scheme, which will come into operation in the academic year 2001/2, is primarily designed to foster a greater knowledge and appreciation of the creative world of artists’ work. Flexible residencies of up to six months’ duration will be supported for artists working in schools and other learning environments. • Dreamlab, a business development programme for a cluster of creative companies has been developed by Dream Ireland, and will commence in September 2001. • The Information Age Initiative, established by DETI, has already provided support to a number of creative projects which demonstrate innovative use of the latest Information and Communications Technology. It intends to have a second call for projects under Peace II in September, and one strand of this will be for creative projects which meet both the Peace II and the Information Age Initiative objectives, namely Digital Creativity. • Initiatives including the showcase Northern Odyssey event and the Diversity 21 Awards have acknowledged the value and importance of celebrating our cultural diversity. • The DE and the Department of Education and Science in Dublin have each agreed to provide additional funding over the next three years to help expand the work of the Pushkin Prizes, North and South. • DHFETE has been piloting a highly successful initiative which allows Further Education lecturers to spend time in a work environment experiencing current work practices. Opportunities have progressed in software, engineering and tourism which provide models for developing skills and knowledge in the creative sector.
• The overwhelming response of the Northern Ireland public to learndirect, the delivery mechanism for University for Industry, and to Individual Learning Accounts – over 25,000 opened mainly in ICT, demonstrates a willingness to engage imaginatively with learning. • The Northern Ireland Housing Executive has identified arts as fundamental to urban regeneration and is pursuing a ‘Percentage for Arts’ programme and a Floral, Living Arts scheme as part of the initiative. • The Link Initiative will match ten organisations in the creative sector with accredited training providers, as a way of improving management skills and strategic thinking. It is funded through DETI’s Company Development Programme, supported by DCAL and DHFETE, and administered by Arts and Business Northern Ireland. • A Creative Industries web presence will provide a single point of reference for everyone involved with the creative agenda. The co-ordination of all the creative content is a key action coming out of the Unlocking Creativity consultation process. The facility will bring together all the organisations and agencies involved in the Unlocking Creativity process. • Face to Face: A Vision for Arts and Culture in Northern Ireland was launched in June 2001.
This is only a sample of the creativity actions currently evident in education, business and cultural development. The consultation process has brought to light many other examples of good practice and ideas for future projects. The quality, scope and diversity of what is already happening within the organisations, together with networks and individuals committed to the Unlocking Creativity agenda provide a clear indication of the existence of ways to implement the strategy. The vision is already grounded in good practice, which if nurtured and sustained, will deliver the aspirations. The support and enthusiasm generated by Unlocking Creativity demonstrates that the change of mindset required to translate, its agenda into practice, is already underway. The role of the new administration in this process and the willingness to embrace the change which it has brought with it, cannot be underestimated.
making it happen
Despite the variety of definitions and explanations of creativity and the creative process within the initial Unlocking Creativity document, many responses to the consultation requested further definitions. There is a danger in spending too much time debating words instead of initiating action based on a broad consensus. The term ‘creativity’ is strong enough in its own right to contain a multitude of different, and at times opposing, perspectives. However, for clarity’s sake we have selected from the many and varied definitions that exist, that offered by All Our Futures1, a seminal document published in 1999, which defined creativity as: ‘Imaginative activity with outcomes that are both original and of value.’ This overarching definition straddles the worlds of education, business and culture.
Creativity needs to be seen and accepted as a vital quality for individuals, communities and organisations, and one that produces the great leap of imagination that enables thinking and actions to become exceptional. A key issue is to define the value the various stakeholders attribute to creativity, to encourage the connections across education, business and the community. ‘Creativity is innovation through connecting things not previously connected.’3 Creativity is an essential element of the personal and social development of all people. Just as literacy, numeracy and ICT are key skills for all ages, creativity also enables the growth of self-confidence, self-expression and self-esteem. Creativity adds more value in that it encourages creative thinking, the use of imagination, the readiness and ability to ‘see round corners’ and to help with novel and innovative solutions. The publication of this document is timely in that there are opportunities for its concepts and concerns to be integrated into the School Improvement Programme, Lifelong Learning and to influence the review of the Northern Ireland Curriculum, Curriculum 2000 and the Youth Curriculum.
The concepts embodied in creativity are a crucial element in fostering economic growth both within the creative industries themselves and in the wider commercial and industrial world. The key challenge in the 21st Century is the rate of change. Creativity is central to the ability of all business disciplines, including managers, accountants and marketeers, to react to and indeed anticipate new situations with imagination, ambition and flair, and to see each new challenge as an opportunity. Unlocking Creativity must promote new approaches to business and industry and champion that which is truly innovative. Creativity can transform society and its culture in individual and collective ways. A more complete investment in creativity as an essential force will enable multiple connections to develop between teachers, artists, entrepreneurs, designers, inventors, children, government, industrialists, workers and students. Once these are made, the imagination and ambition of individual practitioners can create unique and powerful outcomes. • Creativity empowers people as new connections are made in the mind. • Creativity generates wealth and employment as new connections are made within business. • Creativity enriches society as new connections are made between people.
This revised strategy builds on the multiple connections already made to highlight and value the creative achievement possible in all areas of human activity.
The Mission and Aims
Mission Statement To develop the capacities of all our people for creativity and innovation, and so promote and sustain the social, cultural and economic well-being of Northern Ireland. Aims • To ensure full and co-ordinated provision for creative and cultural development in the curricula of formal and informal education and lifelong learning. • To ensure access to training and employment opportunities, and promote business development through creative and cultural development. • To validate the concept that creativity is central to all aspects of work, learning and leisure in Northern Ireland through ensuring effective partnerships between organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
Perspectives and Needs
The action agendas in the original Unlocking Creativity document were too open-ended and unevenly weighted. Accordingly, a number of objectives have been produced that take account of the variety of perspectives on the one hand, and the identified needs on the other. The perspectives reflect the interests of five separate stakeholder groups: • society in its broadest sense, reflecting the influence of creativity on all aspects of people’s lives; • the learning community including all ages inside and outside of formal education; • the training and teaching community for both formal and informal education • the business world including both employers and employees; and • Government.
The needs of these groups are described through five themes: • access – the need to provide adequate and equal access to creative opportunities; • progression – the need to allow creativity to influence curriculum, assessment and career paths; • enterprise – the need to link creativity with wealth generation and employment; • consultation – the need to continue to maintain a dialogue about the role and contribution of creativity; and • dissemination – the need to publicise and share the value of creativity for society. The objectives outlined below relate to the intersection of the themes and stakeholders and form a conceptual map of Unlocking Creativity – Making it Happen, illustrated in the Creative Grid on p.33.
The theme of access is fundamental: actions taken in accordance with the objectives set out below will depend upon a range of issues including equality of access, language, regional spread of facilities and services, infrastructural issues and the way in which expertise and information is made available to various stakeholders. Success will be measured by the provision of increased creative opportunities, and a sense of entitlement to them, for people of all ages, backgrounds and circumstances, wherever they live and whether they have access to: • • • • a creative education opportunities to exploit creativity throughout working life the physical resources to unlock creativity the region’s intellectual and imaginative expertise and information base
Objectives • To widen and co-ordinate access to opportunities in Northern Ireland which address the creative development needs for: - people of all ages and backgrounds; - learners of all ages and backgrounds; - teachers and trainers; and - the creative development of employers and employees. • To co-ordinate access to facilities and expertise across the broad range of stakeholders. Core values: diversity, inclusiveness, equality.
This theme is concerned with developing continuity and progression in creative and cultural education by enabling creative approaches to learning as a whole, as well as education and training in specifically creative fields. There is an imbalance in the current system, where creativity may be compromised by giving a heavy emphasis to approaches to learning and assessment that are more straightforward to measure. A balance must be found between the need to assess and measure progress and the desire to provide flexible routes to accreditation and to reward creative endeavour. Creativity must be recognised and valued as a core element in the processes of learning and assessment. The overall aim is to create opportunities for learning that match the needs of the learner, that embrace the principles of creativity and that offer maximum recognition of progress, irrespective of the context. The outworking of this aim may mean creating new opportunities that add value to existing practice. Success within the theme of progression will be: • the implementation of a more flexible and creative curriculum in education and training; • a greater variety of approaches to teaching and learning; • increased participation in creative learning activities by students of all ages; and • the development of methods and principles of assessment, examination and accreditation that recognise and value the aims and outcomes of creative and cultural education.
Objectives • To signpost clear steps towards accredited programmes of learning for people of all ages interested and inspired by creativity. • To develop career pathways and learning approaches that recognise achievement and excellence in creativity. • To provide personal and professional development opportunities for teachers and trainers linking creativity to the curriculum and to the needs of industry. • To include creative development as a significant opportunity in Government’s lifelong learning policy which seeks to create a learning society. • To encourage collaboration between various agencies and departments to ensure that creativity is fully recognised in the development of assessment methods and the curriculum. Core values: flexibility, cohesiveness, relevance, co-ordination.
This theme is about bringing a new spirit of enterprise to the creative process and building creativity into existing business practices. The challenge is not only to create a real awareness of how creativity can reshape traditional business sectors, but how creative industries can be appreciated for their economic contribution and job creation opportunities. This challenge demands new thinking, new linkages between education, arts and cultural groups, creative companies and more traditional sectors of industry, in order to foster an environment that supports the development of creative talents and new business opportunities. The broad aim is to create a seamless link between the concept of creativity and the practice of business both within the Creative Industries and the wider business community. Success within this theme will be indicated by: • growth in the awareness and application of creativity and design in a commercial context; • an increase in the number of people employed in creative fields; and • the sustainable development of the creative industries in NI. Objectives • To clarify career and training pathways and provide opportunities for people interested in moving towards employment in creative sectors, including the marginalised and unemployed. • To encourage and promote creative ambition and provide flexible career pathways for those who want to work in creative sectors. • To illustrate the connection between creative approaches to learning and business development, and the growth of the knowledge-based economy. • To promote new opportunities for commercial exploitation of creative practices within both the creative industries and the wider business community. • To promote a mainstream role for commercial creativity within existing economic development agencies and companies. Core values: innovation, entrepreneurship, talent.
Consultation as a theme should ensure that the unique experiences emerging from the Unlocking Creativity process are documented and analysed and that, as an overall community, we can benefit from the experience and expertise of the participants on an ongoing basis. An inclusive process of consultation will provide both the breadth and the depth of vision required. It is vital to retain the interest and motivation of those participants who contributed with vision, passion and experience. The retention of this interest will ensure that the process remains transparent and democratic, and that ideas are grounded in sound critical thinking. The public debate created by this strand of action will be vital to the ongoing life and implementation of Unlocking Creativity. Indicators of Success within this theme will include: • a continuing consultative process with stakeholders; and • a clear understanding of how creativity is dealt with in other regions and internationally.
Objectives • To provide opportunities to contribute to and learn from ongoing analysis of creativity geared to the perspective and interests of the user. • To co-ordinate research, consultation and assimilation of information relating to the ongoing Unlocking Creativity process. Core values: accuracy, focus on priorities, practicality, accessibility, new thinking.
In essence, Unlocking Creativity has revealed many examples of the quality and scale of creative practices, projects and initiatives that already exist in NI. It is essential that this practice is valued and celebrated and creative excellence promoted; and that the use of new technologies is maximised to showcase our creativity in NI. Success within this theme is likely to be indicated by an increased awareness and recognition of the contribution that creativity makes to the health and wealth of society and the economy.
Objectives • To promote a widespread understanding of the value and benefits of creativity to society in areas such as culture, the arts, business, health and lifestyle. • To discover, showcase and promote emerging talent from the new learning programmes that will be encouraged through Unlocking Creativity. • To reward, validate and showcase teaching that implements creative practices in all aspects of education and training. • To encourage and reward innovation and excellence in industry/education partnerships and profile the growing creative ability of the workforce. • To ensure maximum public and political support for successful Unlocking Creativity projects with an international outward-looking perspective. Core values: excellence, dynamism, innovation, outward-looking. The concept of the creative grid provides a context in which the public, private and voluntary sectors can locate their concerns, activities and future agendas. This conceptual model with its broad objectives requires a refined structural framework to enable co-ordination and connection.
The Creative Grid
SOCIETY LEARNERS TEACHERS & TRAINERS
To widen and co-ordinate access to opportunities in Northern Ireland which address the creative development needs for teachers and trainers
EMPLOYERS & EMPLOYEES
To widen and co-ordinate access to opportunities in Northern Ireland which address the creative development needs of employers and employees.
To widen and co-ordinate access to opportunities in Northern Ireland which address the creative development needs for people of all ages and backgrounds
To widen and co-ordinate access to opportunities in Northern Ireland which address the creative development needs for learners of all ages and backgrounds
To co-ordinate access to facilities and expertise across the broad range of stakeholders
To signpost clear steps towards accredited programmes of learning for people of all ages interested and inspired by creativity.
To develop career pathways and learning approaches that recognise achievement and excellence in creativity
To provide personal and professional development opportunities for teachers and trainers, linking creativity to the curriculum and to the needs of industry
To include creative development as a significant opportunity in Government’s lifelong learning policy, which seeks to create a learning society
To encourage collaboration between various agencies and departments to ensure that creativity is fully recognised in the development of assessment methods and the curriculum
To clarify career and training pathways and provide opportunities for people interested in moving towards employment in creative sectors, including the marginalised and unemployed.
To encourage and promote creative ambition and provide flexible career pathways for those who want to work in creative sectors.
To illustrate the connection between creative approaches to learning and business development, and the growth of the knowledgebased economy
To promote new opportunities for commercial exploitation of creative practices within both the creative industries and the wider business community
To promote a mainstream role for commercial creativity within existing economic development agencies and companies
To provide opportunities to contribute to and learn from ongoing analysis of creativity geared to the perspectives and interests of Society
To provide opportunities to contribute to and learn from ongoing analysis of creativity geared to the perspectives and interests of Learners
To provide opportunities to contribute to and learn from ongoing analysis of creativity geared to the perspectives and interests of Teachers & Trainers
To provide opportunities to contribute to and learn from ongoing analysis of creativity geared to the perspectives and interests of Employers & Employees
To co-ordinate research, consultation and assimilation of information relating to the ongoing Unlocking Creativity process
To promote a widespread understanding of the value and benefits of creativity to society in areas such as Culture, Arts, Business, Health and Lifestyle
To discover, showcase and promote emerging talent from the new learning programmes that will be encouraged through Unlocking Creativity
To reward, validate and showcase teaching that implements creative practices in all aspects of education
To encourage and reward innovation and excellence in industry/education partnerships and profile the growing creative ability of the workforce
To ensure maximum public and political support for successful Unlocking Creativity projects with an international outwardlooking perspective
A Creativity Framework
Structure The rationale for reconfiguring Unlocking Creativity in a new format is based entirely on the needs of its constituents and the impetus by them to make things happen. Three core elements have been identified which interlock as layers of discussion and action. These are: • Consultation – a process of continuous refinement offering successive and overlapping layers of discussion and planning that contribute to and inform policy and implementation. • Co-ordination – a comprehensive and inclusive process embracing a full spectrum of needs and aspirations bringing government, business, education and the community together to deliver a creative agenda. • Implementation – building responsive systems that can easily incorporate and nurture the best and most innovative ideas as they emerge, adapting to change and opportunity without loss of inspiration, focus and cohesiveness.
A Creativity Framework
Creative Think Tank Creative Research Group Web Sites
Inter-Departmental Action Group
Fund Management Research/Evaluation Networking Mentoring & Support
Projects & Initiatives Partnerships Profile New Types of Learning
There are three strands to the consultation process. • The Creativity Think Tank is a constantly changing and developing group of practitioners and stakeholders who are willing to contribute to the ongoing development of policy and practice, to ensure it is relevant and grounded. The members of this group share their expertise of local, national and international issues ensuring that Northern Ireland is playing its full role in the development of creativity globally. This group will meet at least three times a year. • The Creativity Research Group advises on trends in creative development with specific reference to commercial environments, both within Northern Ireland and more widely afield. It researches, examines and reports on the potential for practitioners from Northern Ireland to exploit creative markets and highlight the conditions that are necessary locally for them to be successful and ensure economic growth. • The Unlocking Creativity Web Site will present opportunities for discussion and debate and provide access to international best practice and creativity forums.
• Responsibility for co-ordination lies with the Creativity Action Group, an interdepartmental body with representation from DCAL, DE, DETI, DHFETE, as well as agencies such as ACNI, NIFC and a variety of practitioners. This group meets monthly to co-ordinate operational priorities and interdepartmental co-operation, by managing existing strategic initiatives and developing new joint proposals. It provides the strategic steer to the Unlocking Creativity process. • Full implementation of the Unlocking Creativity strategy requires an arm’slength, independent approach that makes the best use of the expertise that currently exists, complemented by new modes of delivery. An independent organisation or a consortium of existing bodies, reporting directly to the interdepartmental Creativity Action Group, should operate as fluently and efficiently as any private sector business. It will negotiate a variety of contracts with government departments and private sector partners, and have the capacity to lever funding from a number of sources to match the contribution of government.
• The initial phase will involve key contracts secured through the Creativity Seed Fund and the Information Age Initiative (Leapfrog Programme) to deliver a variety of services necessary to sustain, promote and exploit the action agenda outlined in this document. The organisation or consortium will provide expertise and commission specialist work to ensure that activities undertaken within the Unlocking Creativity agenda are implemented within a coherent strategic framework and will aspire to the following aims: (1) To affect change The organisation will lock mainstream thinking into the evaluation and promotion of Unlocking Creativity projects to ensure that the end result of the strategy is real co-ordinated change and not a series of isolated activities. (2) To increase levels of investment The organisation will attract investment from the public and private sector and explore opportunities for new sources of investment. (3) To create new opportunities and promote sustainability The organisation will offer advice to project promoters and thereby connect individual projects with new opportunities for development. It must retain the confidence of the creative community whilst bringing new perspectives for development to the business sector. (4) To identify, evaluate and disseminate good practice The organisation will develop performance indicators and descriptors that allow examples of best practice to be presented and promoted with confidence. This will be based on the work of the Creativity Think Tank and the Creativity Research Group, who can identify emerging issues for Unlocking Creativity and through their research findings, communicate the views and opinions of the sectors.
A major challenge for the Unlocking Creativity – Making it Happen initiative is to combine diverse approaches and agendas linked with complex delivery and funding mechanisms, with a coherent mission and ease of access, whilst sustaining the continuing confidence and support of multiple stakeholders. The Creativity Framework meets this challenge by promoting joined-up government where policies are designed and delivered in partnership to meet a wide variety of needs. The requirements that need to be satisfied within the Unlocking Creativity Action Agendas include: ACTION AGENDA 1 Policies and projects being developed should reflect interdepartmental collaboration and identification of needs and opportunities. DCAL, DE, DETI, including its new agency Invest Northern Ireland (INI), and DHFETE will work together on policy priorities and actions and establish collaborative agendas. Milestones * By the end of 2004, we will have demonstrated that Unlocking Creativity has contributed positively to the development of teaching and learning processes, economic growth and cultural enrichment.
ACTION AGENDA 2 To identify and support existing projects and programmes of activity that are already meeting Unlocking Creativity objectives. The Unlocking Creativity process has highlighted numerous examples of initiatives and projects currently underway, whose potential could be maximised with strategic support and intervention. Milestones: • By the end of 2001 to have identified activity that is contributing to each objective. • By December 2002 to have completed an initial analysis of the quality, impact and future potential of that activity, and to have assisted in the formulation of future plans.
ACTION AGENDA 3 New opportunities for action must be identified and supported which are not served by existing programmes. The Action Agendas in the original Unlocking Creativity document illustrated a range of activities and ideas; a number were strongly supported in the consultation process including: • Curriculum Development • Personal Mentoring Partnerships • Centres of Excellence • Showcasing • Audience development • Clustering • Creative Champions in schools • Programmes of Training and Professional Development • The ‘C’ mark and Creativity Innovation Awards These and other emerging opportunities will be prioritised, costed and where possible actioned over the next 3-5 years. Milestones • By the end of 2001 to have developed a comprehensive plan for innovative actions supporting Unlocking Creativity and to have begun implementation of high priority issues. • By the end of 2002 to be overseeing a rolling programme through a continuous process of strategic analysis, prioritisation, resourcing, implementation and evaluation.
ACTION AGENDA 4 Potential funding streams must be identified and accessed that can provide resources for the implementation of strategy. For Unlocking Creativity to achieve its objectives, additional streams of funding must be identified that add value to programmes already being carried out by different departments, as well as supporting new actions. These funding streams will enable fresh approaches to developing alternative funding instruments, such as extended Loan Finance, Venture Capital, Gap Funding and other models of social investment that will demand some level of risk-taking.
Milestones • By the end of 2001 to have launched the Creativity Seed Fund and identified other potential funds, both private and public. • By the end of 2002 to have accessed over £3.5m towards implementing Unlocking Creativity. • By the end of 2004, to have built upon the Banking on Culture research project; to have mapped new sources of financial investment and developed an action research programme to test alternative financial instruments.
ACTION AGENDA 5 Procedures must be agreed for the branding, implementation and evaluation of activities. It is imperative that the outcomes of Unlocking Creativity are of the highest quality and that they provide unequivocal examples of the benefits that creativity brings to society. Milestones • By the end of 2001 to have produced performance indicators for activities that are established under Unlocking Creativity. • By the end of 2002 to have monitored and evaluated key projects, disseminated the results as examples of good practice and illustrated the potential of the projects to affect long-term change. • By the end of 2002 to have commenced a programme of showcasing aspects of creativity, through an annual conference and other recognition programmes.
Unlocking Creativity – Making it Happen aims to do just that. The original consultation document and process elicited widespread support for this joined-up approach by government to recognise the value of creativity and positively maximise its impact. This document has supplemented the original by confirming the aspirations and opportunities, while tackling the weaknesses and the realities. It presents a creative grid that addresses the perspectives and needs of multiple stakeholders. It translates the objectives into actions and creates a structured creativity framework that will ensure the delivery of these actions. In other words it will in itself be creative by
“connecting things not previously connected”
footnotes 1 All Our Futures is the report of the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCCE), chaired by Ken Robinson. It argues that no education can be world-class without valuing and integrating creativity in teaching and learning, in the curriculum, in management and leadership, and without linking this to promoting knowledge and understanding of cultural change and diversity. 2 Future Search was a process initiated in May 2000 through which views on the future of creativity in Northern Ireland were elicited from representatives across a wide variety of fields including Education, the Arts, Business and the Public Sector.
The Unlocking Creativity process has sparked the enthusiasm of many. Our thanks are due to all who contributed their time and expertise and made the connections work.
ACNI ADAPT (NI)CCEA DCAL DE DETI DHFETE IAI ICT IDB INI IRTU IT LEDU MLA MP NACCCE NIFC NIMIC NITB Arts Council of Northern Ireland Access for Disabled People to Arts Premises Today (Northern Ireland) Council for the Curriculum Examinations and Assessment Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Department of Education Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Department of Higher and Further Education, Training and Employment Information Age Initiative Information and Communications Technology Industrial Development Board Invest Northern Ireland Industrial Research and Technology Unit Information Technology Local Enterprise Development Unit Member of the Legislative Assembly Member of Parliament National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education Northern Ireland Film Commission Northern Ireland Music Industry Commission Northern Ireland Tourist Board
“All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education” - the report of the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (DFEE, 1999) “At the Creative Edge: Developing the Creative Industries” (The Nerve Centre, 1999) Blueprint, “Creative Industries Scoping Study” (LEDU, 2000) “Corporate Strategy 2001 - 2004” (DCAL, 2000) “Face to Face” - A Vision for Arts and Culture in Northern Ireland (DCAL, 2001) “Multimedia Ireland: Realising the Potential” (Forbairt, 1998) “New Media in Northern Ireland: A Benchmarking Analysis” (Northern Ireland Interactive Multimedia Association, 2000) “Opening Up the Arts: A Strategy Review of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland” (Anthony Everitt and Annabel Jackson, 2000) “Out of Our Minds - Learning to be Creative” (Ken Robinson, 2001) “Strategy 2010” - the Report by the Economic Development Strategic Review Steering Group (DED, 1999) “The Arts and the Northern Ireland Economy” (John Myerscough, Northern Ireland Economic Council Research Monograph 2: 1996) “Their Future in Our Hands - Proposals for Key Stage 4” (CCEA, 2001) “Unlocking Creativity: A Strategy for Development” (DCAL, DE, DETI, DHFETE, 2000) “Vision of the Way Ahead” (UFI, 2000)
Department of Education Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment Department of Higher & Further Education, Training & Employment Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure
For copies of this publication or further information contact: Rhonda Farmer Creative Industries Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure 3rd Floor, Interpoint 20 - 24 York Street Belfast BT15 1AQ Tel. + 44 028 90 258949 Fax. + 44 028 90 258876 email: firstname.lastname@example.org