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Exploring creative environments through the child's lens

Grogan, Deirdre and Martlew, Joan (2014) Exploring creative environments through the child's lens. Creative Education, 5 (16). pp. 1528-1539. ISSN 2151-4771

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Abstract

There is strong governmental support within the UK to develop creativity and emphasise the importance of its role in learning and teaching, Sharp (2003) identified issues, gaps and priorities for further research that looked at the impact on children of working with professional artists in terms of their creativity. This paper explores the initial findings of an evaluation report conducted by a university research team, exploring the creative performances designed by Starcatchers, an organisation developing performing arts experiences for children aged birth to 4 years. The research team consisted of four action researchers who were each attached to an artist in residence working in four theatre venues across Scotland. The artists involved represented four different art domains: puppetry, visual arts, artistic experiences informed by play therapy and installation work. The researchers collaborated with the artists to observe children’s engagement, provide feedback, discuss projects, and record the processes of project development. This paper seeks to explore the artists' experience of designing and implementing participative performance events and the nature and processes of working with young children in performing arts. It focuses on an exploration of the creative learning processes which were developed by the artists in residence to promote children's creativity and involvement in the visual arts. The role of the artist is examined and key aspects are suggested with a view to enhancing the creative learning experiences provided for children within educational contexts, indicating points for consideration by adults charged with the responsibility of planning and developing environments which support young children's creativity.