Still on a BBC Radio 4/vast-resources-of-the-internet theme today, my attention was caught by an item yesterday on Saturday Live with Sir Ken Robinson. Goodness knows how I had never heard of Sir Ken before, because what he had to say was music to my ears, and it seems he’s been saying it for some very considerable time. That I loved his ideas is no real surprise, because when I googled him, I discovered he is in fact my astrological twin. Well, not quite. Almost a decade separates us, but a lot less than that ideologically.
Ken Robinson is an author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profit organisations, education and arts bodies. According to Wikipedia, his 2001 book, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative (Wiley-Capstone), was described by Director magazine as “a truly mind opening analysis of why we don’t get the best out of people at a time of punishing change.” John Cleese it seems said of it: ‘Ken Robinson writes brilliantly about the different ways in which creativity is undervalued and ignored in Western culture and especially in our educational systems.’
He talks brilliantly and convincingly about it too. In all the recent discussions about valuing the arts and the threat to the arts in the face of the spending cuts, I have heard few such eloquent expositions as to why creativity matters, and why it is (to quote Robinson) the ‘lifeblood’ of society. He believes creativity is as important in education as literacy. But the problem with current approaches to education and society in general is that mistakes are stigmatised. And if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original. In essence, he believes we get educated out of creativity.
The Art of Glorious Failure was my own take a few months back on this particular issue. Do watch the video link I have attached above. Not only is Ken Robinson a man with ideas, but he is also a real stand-up comedian.
One important thing he believes is that everyone has a talent, which just needs to be found. So true. Too many live lives they don’t enjoy. But there are others who simply cannot envisage doing anything else, because it’s who they are. On the radio programme, he said something which is the most inspiring thing I’ve heard for months: if you love something you are good at, you never have to ‘work’ again. What a wonderful thought!
- Changing education paradigms (guardian.co.uk)