Ideas – Nurturing Creativity #43 #cong18


Does school kill creativity? In order to make ideas real we can’t be afraid of failing. In Art and Design there are no wrong answers, instead many possible solutions. A creative mindset needs to be applied to many fields which are analytical and problem solving. Bring the ‘A’ of Art and Design into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), to get STEAM – Collaboration between different disciplines is the key to Creativity.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Make learning fun.
  2. Encourage curiosity.
  3. Learn from “failures” – rapid prototyping is great for testing ideas quickly.
  4. Bring Art & Design together with Science & Technology to create “STEAM”

About Shirley Coyle:

Shirley Coyle is a freelance Electronic-Textile Designer, and had recently founded Common Ground Design. She has over 13 years experience in cutting-edge Wearable Technology research and has worked on European-wide projects and with global industrial partners. She has a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and also a Diploma in Fashion Design.

Contacting Shirley Coyle:

You can contact Shirley by email or see hers work in Common Ground Design

By Shirley Coyle

I recently completed a postgraduate certificate in UCD’s Innovation School, which was the beginning of my own entrepreneurial journey, and inspired me to follow through with my ideas. This meant setting up Common Ground Design, with a vision of bridging the gap between Science & Technology and Art & Design. Science and Engineering requires creativity to generate ideas and solve problems. Likewise, Art and Design can flourish from innovations in new technology. Bringing these disciplines together produces exciting concepts, and the value of S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) is starting to become more recognised in children’s education, rather than just focussing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

The postgraduate course I mentioned included a module in Creativity and Innovation. It was a refreshing learning experience, which incited the creativity and freedom of ideas that we all have as children. Pablo Picasso once said “All children are born artists. The problem is how to remain an artist as we grow up.” We were set fun challenges, such as the spaghetti/marshmallow challenge, and it struck me how the conventional education system diminishes our capacity for creative thinking. I came across some interesting TED talks by Sir Ken Robinson, who advocates creativity having equal importance to literacy.

We are brought up thinking that mistakes are terrible, and so we are afraid of failing. Tina Seeling, a professor in Stanford who works with students to bring ideas to life, stresses the importance of rapid prototyping and celebrating things that don’t work as expected, as this is data to learn from. (99U Video, Tina Seelig: The 6 Characteristics of Truly Creative People,)

Promotion of STEM is well established for opportunities in many well re-numerated professions. Bringing the Arts aspect into STEM is one way of introducing more creativity in schoolchildren. STEAM-based education has a strong emphasis on inquiry, collaboration, and process-based learning. STEAM-based learning helps remove the fear of being wrong – there are no wrong answers in art!

I’m looking forward to facilitating one of the children’s workshops at Congregation 2018. The workshop will explore smart materials and electronic textiles. The children will learn how to build a light-up circuit using an arts and crafts approach, and we will explore ideas for future clothing. I look forward to hearing their ideas – Imagine the Impossible!

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