‘CREATE’ is more than a name.
It explains what we do:
Child Rights Evaluation, Advice & Training Exchange
It gives us a website that captures our vision: www.createsolutions.org
It also explains how we work
- Creativity is about having ideas
- Creativity captures the imagination
- Creativity turns ‘boring’ into ‘unforgettable’, and ‘ordinary’ into ‘extraordinary’
- Creativity pushes the boundaries and helps us to look at things in a new light
- Creativity respects and builds on what has gone before
- Creativity helps us to adapt to changing circumstances and thus contributes to how we survive, develop and improve
This is what creativity does.
And this is what CREATE tries to do in all its work.
….In fact the only area where we are not creative is in our accounting!
Creativity and play are essential to children’s healthy emotional, social and cognitive development. Playing is the means by which children explore the world around them and develop healthy relationships with others.
Experts emphasise the need for ‘a long and playful childhood’ in order for children to develop the creativity and resourcefulness they will need to cope with the complex, changing environments they will encounter as adults*. Indeed, “the positive emotional climate developed in this way [through a playful learning environment] has the added bonus of producing in the brain the optimum chemical environment for learning to take place”**.
This applies not only to children, but also to adults: it is common sense that we learn better in a relaxed, safe and fun environment.
In other words, for healthy physical, emotional, social and cognitive development, all children need to be securely loved and given safe opportunities to play, explore and be creative.
CREATE supports this position and endeavours to create safe, fun and creative learning environments for both the adults and children with whom we work.
* Pound, L. & C. Harrison (2003), Supporting Musical Development in the Early Years, Buckingham: Open University Press, p.23.
** Pound & Harrison, 2003, p.18.
We asked people: “What does ‘create’ or ‘creativity’
mean to you?”
This is what they said (and how they chose to describe themselves).
We will keep adding to this collection of thoughts.
“I think it means making something
that wasn’t there before out of whatever you have to hand. That
could be a pile of materials or it could be metaphorical – ideas.”
(Marian Liebmann, Mediation consultant / trainer, art therapist & writer)
"Creativity is turning the mundane into something fresh, fun
and full of surprises. The potential for creativity is limitless and
life is so much better when we lose our inhibitions and let ourselves
get carried away by our creativity."
(Elanor Jackson, child rights consultant and doodler)
“It’s about personality and it’s about energy.”
(Beth, friend of Marie and wannabe photographer)
“Fun, interesting, new things, caring, future, being looked after, being given the tools to be yourself and then to proceed / move forwards. Power, energy. It’s going back to tools, tools to set up the foundations – the foundations of being yourself and what you want to do. Confidence.”(Alvaro)
(Anthony, an ‘idealistic realist’ and perhaps not as cynical as he may appear)
“Creativity is about lateral thinking… or ‘thinking
outside the box’ as they say these days. It’s about approaching
problems in a new way. All creativity, whether scientific or artistic,
is about creating an original paradigm or solution - something truly
(Ian, polymath, adventurer, writer and architect)
“Turning ordinary into extraordinary. It’s what happens
when children meet fingerpaint, fircones or fairytales.”
(Marie, child rights consultant and disillusioned romantic)
"Creativity is the magic which makes the world come alive;
boredom and taming fear. Living creatively implies allowing the child in me to see the world through wide eyes and to not be scared of making mistakes or asking questions."
(Jay Alvarez - Artist, designer and believer in people's ability to change their lives)
"Tapping into what we already have within us but which we have forgotten. My belief is that we are all created to be creative but we begin to doubt and then forget that we are creative." (Joy - observer of people)
"It's important to be creative and to produce something of beauty, even if only to yourself. It's about the touching and moulding of clay - the sensuality of it." (Patricia, a casual acquaintance - met by Marie at Heathrow Airport, Terminal 4)
"Creativity means to me when a child has lots of ideas and can realise them into practice. Creativity means not just to be in the frame, but to go out of the frame and bring innovations - somthing new - which is good for beneficiaries and institutions." (Guljamal, child-friendly consultant from Kyrgyzstan)
In our consultancy work:
- We are well-known for our memorable and creative training materials on a wide range of topics such as child protection, rights-based and child rights-based approaches to development and programming, police training, juvenile justice, advocacy and working with street children. These include stories, metaphors, games, art work, physical theatre and personal meditations.
- Our original training warm-up exercises and energisers always raise a smile and are being copied around the world.
- Our innovative powerpoint presentations attract rather than distract from the topic at hand.
- Our creative work directly with children and young people includes photography and making scrap-books and commemorative clay tiles to document a participatory evaluation process.
- We have produced highly visual child-friendly materials.
In our lives:
Marie creates clothes, art and chaos in her not-so-spare time and hopes to spend part of 2010 writing some fiction for a change - rather than training manuals and child rights policies! She eventually got round to re-painting her canal boat in 2009 but still needs to finish the final artwork and signwriting. She completed a graduate certificate (GCert) in ‘Arts for Change’ at Roehampton University, UK in 2006 and is therefore a qualified ‘Arts Facilitator’. This course gave an overview and critical appraisal of the key aspects of working with children, young people and their families through the creative arts and play (visual arts, dance, drama, music and sandplay). Modules included: Early Life; Family and Adolescence; Trauma and Displacement.
Elanor also completed the University of Roehampton 'Arts for Change' Postgraduate Certificate course in 2007 and is likewise a qualified ‘Arts Facilitator’. She enjoys creating space rockets, crocodiles and play houses out of recycled cardboard boxes and household materials - allegedly for her 3-year-old son at the time, but her CREATE colleagues seemed to enjoy them just as much! In Ethiopia she regularly kept all the neighbours' children busy with games, music, dancing and arts activities. Her son is now five so she is attempting to be creative about fighting, pirates, dinosaurs and recently, Mayan warriors.
Savina is continuing to develop her skills in documentary film-making, building on a course she completed in 2007. She has been impatient to acquire this skill in order to share her vision on all things that matter (in particular child rights) in a more creative and artistic way.