7 Jun 2016
Imagine: a future without creativity
I've just got back from the launch of Imagine at the University of Reading (more info here). It is a fundraising campaign with the ambition to raise £150 million to enable the university to make a real-world impact with the research it does.
Part of the launch was a debate on this topic:
To dream and imagine: the impact of our research in the coming 90 years.
The panel contained experts in cellular and molecular neuroscience, integrative neuroscience and neuro dynamics, film, theatre and television, leadership and leadership and organisational behaviour and meteorology. At first glance they don't seem to have much in common but there was one theme that they all shared, the importance of creativity and imagination in research.
We were only discussing how important creativity was in the workplace in the Cultural Education Partnership meeting yesterday. One of the aims of the partnership is to increase the number of young people with qualifications preparing them for work in the creative industries. We started talking about what the creative industries are and I mentioned that creativity is important in many careers, not just those in the arts. This evenings panel discussion qualified my remark and all panellists agreed that creative thinking, and imagination, are vital when it come to designing experiments, theories and pushing our understanding of the world.
I mentioned in my farewell speech as mayor that I felt the arts were being pushed out of the school curriculum in favour of more academic subjects. Don't get me wrong, a good solid foundation in maths, English and science are important but we must not stifle creativity. Creative thinking should be encouraged alongside these subjects and art and heritage are great ways to encourage a creative thought process.
I hope the work of the Cultural Education Partnership helps fill the gap in our children's education because, without creativity, we are limiting the scientists, experts and academics of the future.
You van read more about the Cultural Education Partnership here.