I was asked to chair a panel at this year's Future Everything conference.
The theme of the session, provided by the conference programmer, was 'Post Craft'.
Three makers and designers of very different sorts were hunted down by the programmer and lined up as the panel.
I've never chaired a panel before but this year I'm saying yes to new things, to push my comfort zone a little. It's fair to say I was more than a little nervous, which I countered by going into hyper-organised mode. It seemed to work, once we took to the platform the nerves disappeared and the session flowed.
I felt it important to start by asking if there was such a thing as Post Craft because if there is, I had no idea what it is. (If you're wondering, we all seemed to agree there probably isn't such a thing).
The event was attended by a very digi-savvy crowd so I looked up the tweets about it afterwards to try and see if there was any feedback about how people thought it had gone. Luckily the responses was positive.
To try and capture some of the conversation I set up a little mini-site pulling together the panel, the questions asked, and the responses on twitter. You can find it all here.
One Small Step for Early Years, One Giant Leap for Children: a toolkit for creativity with young children
This time last year I was lucky enough to work with Isaacs UK and CAPE UK, exploring the work of artists and creative practitioners working with children and staff in ten early years settings across Leeds. They settings worked together as network, using Creative Partnerships' enquiry model of working to test out their activities.
My role was to pull together everyone's learning, summarising shared findings and exceptional experiences, laying these out in a way which might be helpful for others looking for new and / or creative ways to unlock potential in their children. To round up a few of the ups and downs, things that worked, things that didn't work quite so much, and some of the thinking the creative and early years practitioners travelled through together or separately. At the heart of it all, to tell some of the stories of the children and how their outlook on the world changed a little as a result of the projects. On a more formal side, we looked at a couple of different ways of monitoring the progress of children - both in terms of the Foundation Stage areas, and in their wellbeing and involvement through a system known as EXE (Experiential Education).
CAPE set some fantastic designers loose on the content I wrote with IsaacsUK, and the result is a really stunning and accessible looking publication. Please read, browse, enjoy and most importantly - pass it on to anyone who might make use of it.
Browse or download it below, or online *here*
I'm most interested in how the public, your public, whoever that may be, engages with culture and creativity.
And if it nurtures creativity and develops personal, social or professional skills I'm absolutely all ears.