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Alia Youssef 1 8

Creativity Expert and Launchpad Learning facilitator, David Gauntlett, on stimulating creativity in anyone

David Gauntlett is Canada Research Chair in Creativity at the Faculty of Communication and Design, Ryerson University, Toronto, where he leads the Creativity Everything Lab. He is the author of several books, including Creative Explorations (2007), Making Media Studies (2015), and Making is Connecting (2011, second edition 2018). He is now working on his next book, Seven Keys to Creativity (forthcoming).

“I have a very broad and diverse interest in creativity,” explains David about his field practice. “It’s not just about artistic things, because you need to be creative if you’re an engineer or an accountant, or certainly a business leader. Anything that humans do involves creativity.”

David has worked with a number of the world’s leading creative organizations, including the BBC, the British Library, and Tate. For 12 years he has worked with LEGO and the LEGO Foundation on innovation in creativity, play and learning.

“Even when people are working within organizations and dealing with constraints and particular expectations – everything comes down to creative individuals in the end. A company of thousands people, you still need all those people to be working creatively and connecting up and communicating well, for it to become anything,” David explains.

“Any big collective enterprise is only as [creative] as the individuals within it. Finding ways to stimulate creativity on an individual level is what you need to do to then build outwards to project that have bigger impact organizationally.”

At Artscape Daniels Launchpad, David has facilitated several Launchpad Learning workshops, including the virtual series, Keys to Creativity.

“Artscape Daniels Launchpad is very good about being diverse in the people who works with and employs,” David says. “I’m trying to do the same in my work, so I’m not just speaking to an elite audience, but speaking much more broadly.”

Keys to Creativity were weekly online conversations where we focus on how to boost your creativity and your creative connections.

“It is a really common experience that when you’re at school, maybe age 12 or 13, a teacher frowns at something artistic that you did, or they say you did it wrong, and at that point people just give up and decide that they are not creative. It can take a long time to get back from that,” explains David.

Each session had a theme that stimulates creativity through both conversation and hands-on activities designed to facilitate new connections and out-of-the-box thinking. The themes included:

  • Experimenting – Can we apply an experimental art-school kind of model to any kind of creativity? 
  • Planning – How can we plan for creativity and take deliberate steps to increase the magic?
  • Connecting – What is the social meaning of creativity? What makes something powerful to others?
  • Sharing – How can we engage with others and get noticed?
  • Playing – How can we use everyday materials (like Lego!) to generate new ideas?
  • Building – How can we take things to the next level?

Now David Gauntlett is hosting a new six-week series through Launchpad Learning Online called Making It Happen where he will focus on how to be more creative, make connections, and get things done. Here is the schedule of workshops:

Each one-hour session includes some talk, some workshop exercises and some discussion. The ideas are relevant to all kinds of creative work, whether art, fashion, music, video games, poetry or whatever you do. And because it’s an online workshop with all kinds of interesting people, we learn from each other. We hope to see you there!


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