Creative Quarter

A series of case studies exploring the role and effectiveness of the creative arts in supporting positive outcomes for people being supported by social services.

This series also includes Creative Bites (Bite-sized chunks of creativity). We invited 40 people to share their thoughts and ideas to inspire creativity and imagination in the social services.

HTML - a tool for creativity

Recently I had the opportunity to try Paperlater a new service from the smart people at Newspaper Club.  It's a service that enables you to take web pages you’ve been meaning to read and collect them into your own personalised newspaper with little more than a single click (or email if you like).  When you have enough pages hit the order button and your issue is then printed & delivered for £4.99

Are you thinking with your hands?

“We have to understand that the world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation. The hand is more important than the eye…The hand is the cutting edge of the mind.”

(Bronowski, 1973)

We’ve been running some design thinking ‘crash courses’ over the summer.

The ‘crash course’ is a short, hands-on, introduction to the design process – developed by the d School at Stanford University. In pairs, we take a real-world problem and come up with some solutions. In 90 minutes.

A different way of doing things

The first thing I learnt having a significant life long impairment is that to succeed in the world as a credible disability consultant and activist is that I had to do things differently to make the most of my situation. Time, energy and of course money are the three things in my life I never have enough of and therefore I have needed to find often creative ways to use these resources as effectively as I can.

Time to get rid of the forms

Good assessment of someone's care and support needs to start from a blank sheet of paper. This is a notion that has the power to strike terror into hearts of seasoned professionals - or does it?

When one of organisations I've been working with decided to experiment with blank sheet assessments there was an uproar, as some people saw it as reducing their professionalism.

Six months on and moving away from ' boxed in' assessments has allowed people to use their creativity and be creative in finding solutions to the care and support issues people were presenting.

The power of asking

Through the very act of asking people, I’d connected with them, and when you connect with them, people want to help you.

This quote comes from a brilliant TED talk by the musician Amanda Palmer called ‘The Art of Asking’. It’s only 15 minutes long and well worth a watch:

Talking with images

I have boards on Pinterest full of quotes and images that I have collected because I am instinctively drawn to them. They talk to me, the quotes in an obvious way, the images in a not so obvious way, but they still have something to say.

Broken biscuits

In busy working lives it is very easy for individuals to get bogged down with the flood of urgent requests that we experience every day. At work, we have the continuous stream of electronic and face-to-face demands for this, that and the other from our managers, team leaders, colleagues and clients whereas at home we have  the never-ending administrative tasks and social interruptions of just living a 21st century life, bursting with multi-media and mobile communications.

Hafan y Mor (Haven by the Sea)

Hafan y Mor ( Haven by the Sea) is a new unit for children with disabilities in Swansea, Wales.

The families chose the theme for the centre and photos of the children enjoying an arts day on the beach cover the walls. The doors to the consulting rooms are beach huts and kites fly everywhere…

Is there time to be creative?

This is a massive question for teachers. I work all over the UK and the problem is the same, whatever the educational system and the complexion of the governing parties. Teachers and those who work with them feel under constant pressure to fulfill, what they perceive as,  expectations of them and to meet the increasingly complex needs of young people. We need be open about this and look seriously at how teachers manage their time and don’t inflict the sort of unsustainable workload that many are experiencing.