Scaling Up Applied Creativity Labs for Europe

 

The key focus of this project is to address current local and regional environmental and climate change issues faced by communities across Europe, through an innovative methodology known as ‘Applied Creativity Labs’.

 

Investing in people and young people in particular, is a top priority for Europe. The 2016 Commission Communication on Investing in Europe’s Youth emphasised the importance of opening up new opportunities for young people, with high-quality education playing a key role in their successful development and life chances. High-quality education underpins inclusive and resilient societies, fosters personal development, and lays a foundation for active citizenship. However, if European societies are to reap these benefits, high-quality education needs to become a reality for all learners. The Commission’s reflection papers on Harnessing Globalisation (2017) and on the Social Dimension of Europe (2017) highlight that many school education systems struggle to provide high-quality education for all and to respond to the profound and complex changes our societies and economies are undergoing. The OECD’s recent PISA results show that there are significant disparities in how children perform within and between countries. On average, one in five students in the EU has difficulties in developing sufficient basic skills (reading, mathematics and science). Furthermore, there is a need for schools to adapt to the changing context in which they operate, including the increasing diversity among pupils. Addressing these challenges requires not only the re-thinking of school curricula, but the introduction of more diverse teaching and learning to address the needs of all learners.

 

Applied Creativity Labs are a unique teaching and learning methodology focusing on critical thinking and solution-focused learning, through which inspiration meets organisation; which were developed by IVE in the UK. The focus is on harnessing artistic imagination and vision to effectively implement innovative ideas. The Applied Creativity Labs (ACLs) are designed to give young people the creative behaviours and critical thinking skills that when applied to real world challenges help them develop innovative solutions to pan-European issues. As well as informing the participants about how they can take their ideas forward to develop them further, the ACLs also aim to inspire the participants to educate them about potentially pursuing future careers and jobs in the relevant fields through the interactive involvement of sector experts, known as Role Models. The process begins by presenting young people with an overview of what the ‘challenge’ is, for example, air pollution, sustainable farming practices, climate change, etc. Then bespoke creativity training is delivered, as well as giving the participants access to a resource-bank, including from role models from specific and relevant industries, business and universities. The participants explore, develop, refine and prepare to pitch their best original, applicable solutions to the challenge. The best ideas are considered for further development.

 

The SCALE project objectives are:

– To replicate the ACL methodology on a wider, pan-European scale

– To lay the foundations for the implementation and uptake of the ACL methodology at a higher/systemic level

– To enhance critical thinking among learners (directly), as well as parents, educational staff and other stakeholders (indirectly) through ACLs

– To raise awareness of the huge potential of harnessing young peoples’ natural creativity in producing innovative solutions to European environmental issues

– To cultivate an ACL network through which teachers and trainers can exchange resources, knowledge and good practices

 

These objectives are addressed by the intellectual outputs:

IO1: Framework of Creative Competences

IO2: Applied Creativity Labs Best Practices Implementation Guide

IO3: European Applied Creativity Labs Platform

IO4: Applied Creativity Labs Piloting and Impact Assessment Report and Policy Recommendations

 

The direct beneficiaries of the project will be approximately 150 school children (12 – 17 years old) who are classified as being at a disadvantage through their situation of having fewer opportunities due to social, cultural and economic obstacles. Participants will be selected based on their social, economic and cultural status, as well as their level of interest in the project, climate change and the environment, and their academic interest and achievement in STEM subject areas. The indirect beneficiaries of the project will be teachers, trainers and educators, parents, and industry experts (defined as ‘role models’ within the scope of the project).