Whilst celebrating the life and substantial contribution Anna made to the field of education, attendees also took part in presentations and workshops and debated the future of arts and creative education in the UK
Education leaders gather in Exeter to celebrate the life of influential Professor
Friends and family of Professor Anna Craft were joined by leading figures in education and the arts at Exeter University on 10 October to celebrate the life of one of the region’s most influential thinkers and to ask “What next for Creativity?”
Anna Craft who passed away last year, joined the University of Exeter Graduate School of Education in January 2007 and become very influential both nationally and internationally in promoting the importance of placing creativity at the heart of the learning process.
She began writing articles and books on creativity in education in the early 1990s and was sole or co-author of around 100 publications with her most recent book (Creativity and Education Futures: Learning in a digital age) being published in 2011.
While celebrating the life and substantial contribution Anna made to the field of education, attendees also took part in presentations and workshops and debated the future of arts and creative education in the UK. Professor Craft was passionate about agency and finding ways to empower others to make positive creative educational change happen in schools.
The event was led by friend and colleague of Professor Craft, Dr Kerry Chappell, lecturer and MA Education Creative Arts Pathway Leader at Exeter and supported by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts Commerce and Manufactures (RSA). regional social enterprise the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) and Arts Council England.
Dr Kerry Chappell said "The event was a heartfelt celebration of Anna and her work from Penny Hay's stimulating and sensitive opening, to the multitude of research posters, pupils' art works and the launch of the new book. We also turned to the future through debates as diverse as how we nurture creativity in HE and for practitioners, how we assess it, and perspectives on humanising and digital creativity. By the end of the day, we all agreed that Anna would have loved to have been in the room feeding into all the activities - to my mind that is a mark of the event's inspiration and success"
Joe Hallgarten Director of Creative Learning and Development at the RSA said “The day demonstrated the strength of Anna’s legacy. As we take forward creative learning in tough times for schools, her words and actions can continue to inspire us all.”
Ed Whitelaw from RIO said “I first came across Anna many years ago when I frequently quoted from her work. She has made a significant contribution to education develop and her influence continues to grow across the world. The development of human creativity has never been as vital as it is today, as society continues to struggle with ever more complex challenges. It is crucial that we continue to find ways to unlocking the creative and enterprising potential of all people and Anna’s work will continue to guide us in this task”.
Also present were students from the University of Exeter, St Leonard’s C of E School and St Peter’s School Exeter, where Prof Craft worked, and who ran a number of creative workshops on the day.
New book “Creativity, Education and Society, writings of Anna Craft” was also launched amid a champagne toast to Prof Craft and is available from Trentham Books.
Date: 16 October 2015