In my new job at Ryerson University, Toronto, unsurprisingly, I have to teach some courses. In my previous job at University of Westminster, London, my best course was called Creativity, and included a bit of everything to do with creativity.
At Ryerson though, in the School of Creative Industries, they already have several courses about all the dimensions of creativity. At Westminster, I liked spending a week on the creative process, and a week on collaboration, and a week on fostering creativity in others, and so on. But at Ryerson, the Creative Industries students already have a whole course on each of these things. (Terminology note: in local parlance, a course is a 12-week long thing, and several of them make up a degree program).
So I had to work out what I could usefully offer which they weren’t really doing already.
It was not obvious.
But eventually I stumbled on what might be the last remaining opening.
In a world where we rightly like to talk about collaboration, and creative communities, and all of that nice congenial stuff beginning with C, there seemed to be room for a course that turns the spotlight on the individual. And you can’t really get away from the fact that everything starts with, and depends on, creative individuals. So that’s what I had in mind as I wrote this blurb for the course:
This course is about self-driven creativity – making media, making inspirations, and making a difference. Everything begins with creative individuals. We may move in and out of creative communities, and collaborative environments, but the one constant is your own creative self. This course will mix theory and practice, looking at philosophical and psychological approaches to creativity, as well as a more hands-on engagement with digital creativity, tools for makers, and how to get things out there. Necessary ingredients include creativity, passion, music, kindness, enthusiasm, and colored pens.
I like the fact that the title ‘Your creative self’ requires us to look at motivations and inspirations, as well as philosophical approaches to the individual – and the relationship between the individual and others – and consider how to get started, and how to use media in a DIY way to boost your creative self and its visibility in the world.
We probably also owe a debt to Matt Gooderson and David Sheppard, my friends at the University of Westminster, who invented a course called ‘The Creative Industries and You’. I always liked the ‘you’ part – always bringing it back to what you, yourself, can do to get things started.
This is a ‘Winter’ course, which means it happens in the spring. So I’m not even running it for another nearly-a-year. But I’m looking forward to it. And students are meant to be indicating that they would like to do it, right now (from 5 March 2018). So if you are a Ryerson undergraduate student – whether in Creative Industries or in anything else (it’s available to all) – then do indicate to your department that you would like to take CRI 560 ‘Your Creative Self’. You do have to give the title because there are actually three courses with the code CRI 560! Don’t ask. CRI 560 is a kind of placeholder slot for new exciting things that don’t have their own course code yet. But don’t worry, it’s a proper course, honest.
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