Welcome from Sir Nicholas Serota

Humans have always responded to change, and in particular to advances in technology, with ingenuity, but today the pace and scale of change feels like something quite new.

Over the past year the global pandemic, Covid-19, has required us all to stop and think about what really matters and how we can respond to unprecedented challenges. It is in this context that we are launching Creativity Exchange as a place where all of us who care about teaching children to be more creative can share ideas.

In 2018 the Durham Commission on creativity and education was convened to look at how our education system and our wider framework of learning for children can grow that capacity for creativity.

The Commission drew attention to inspiring examples of teaching that develops creativity and lateral thinking across all subjects and in all areas of children’s learning. But teaching for creativity is not widespread in schools and is inhibited by the absence of agreed models of teaching for creativity, a lack of confidence among teaching practitioners, and a shortage of resources.

To address this challenge the Commission made ten recommendations designed to stimulate change in the English education system. The first of these is to establish a national network of Creativity Collaboratives in which schools work together to develop and sustain the conditions required for nurturing creativity across the curriculum. Initially, there will be a three-year pilot that will test the model of a network of Creativity Collaboratives. Evaluation of the pilots will then inform the creation of a national Creativity Collaboratives network from 2024.

While I am astonished by the resilience of school leaders and their staff in the face of Covid-19, we have decided to delay slightly the launch of the pilot Creativity Collaboratives programme. However, in the interim we are initiating this online space so that we can begin to explore the opportunities provided by teaching for creativity. Prof Bill Lucas, who worked closely with us on the Durham Commission, has undertaken the initial work in curating the site. Working with members of the Creativity Collaborative Advisory Group, we are now inviting wider contributions to critical thinking, inquiry, innovation, experiment and collaboration on the topic of teaching for creativity. We want to ensure that the Creativity Exchange is topical and useful for those working in and with schools.

The Durham Commission report was about highlighting creativity in theory and policy. The Creativity Exchange reflects what that can mean in practice and I look forward to the discourse.