European Affective Education Network’s [EAEN] conference on Creativity and Emotional Wellbeing
following papers emerged from the European Affective Education Network’s [EAEN]
conference on Creativity and Emotional Wellbeing held at the University of the
West of Scotland in July 2009. The network itself was established in 1994, and
has an interdisciplinary membership of scholars, researchers, and practitioners
interested in the "affective" dimension of the educational process. The
following papers on the themes of Creativity and Emotional Wellbeing are from
the United States, United Kingdom and Turkey, reflecting the membership’s
interests and presenting an international perspective on two themes which have
ever growing currency in our schools and education systems today.
Bringing together these two major themes for education in the 21st
century at a time of massive educational reform and economic downturn not just
in the UK but globally, gave the conference an added focus and urgency,
especially here in Scotland where creativity and emotional wellbeing are
central tenets of the new curriculum, Curriculum for Excellence.
Sousanis’s paper seeks to draw attention to one of the big emerging themes in
the area of creativity, particularly in the US, the notion of care. Care, he
argues is engendered in the function of creativity and yet for too long the
whole creative enterprise has been seen as less than inclusive, less than
caring and rather disenfranchising for all but for the few ‘select
individuals’. For Sousanis, creativity has more to do with taking
responsibility for our actions than with some ethereal notion, and by ‘putting
our care into every moment and interaction, we (…) transform our world and
ourselves along the way’.
physical aspect of the learning environment and its impact on the affective
domain is the subject of an extensive piece of research by Sharon McEwen,
Edward Edgerton and Jim McKechnie at the University of the West of Scotland.
Their study, which uses both qualitative and quantitative methods, seeks to
explore students’ perceptions of the physical school environment and to examine
how these perceptions affect self-esteem and learning goals within schools.
third paper in this volume investigates a different set of issues relating to
physical space and revisits a theme explored in the first paper, the concept of
Fatma Sadik, Halil Çakan and Kazım Artut from
Cukurova University in
Turkey investigate children’s understanding of and attitudes towards
environmental problems through the study of their drawings. These drawings lay
bare an observational honesty and give insight into what children perceive as
environmental problems in Turkey.
final two contributors to this special edition of Interactive Discourses use a
different presentation form. Robert Williams’s paper takes the form of a visual
essay which outlines the author’s collaborative interdisciplinary art practice
with his son Jack Aylward-Williams. This work, which is of a very intimate
nature, encompasses sculpture, installation, performance, film-making &
writing, and includes explorations of epistemology and systems of knowledge
from the hermetic to the scientific, with sources for the work drawn from
subjects as diverse as natural history, archaeology, anthropology, myth and
Blane Savage presents us with a contextualized report on ‘a happening’ relating
to the practice of creativity and transformation which took place during the
EAEN July 2009 conference.
together, the papers included in this volume offer a rich insight into current
debates about the role of creativity and emotional well being in the
educational process, and address important questions about some of
the opportunities and challenges that these debates bring forth.
McAuliffe | Lisa McAuliffe
of the West of Scotland