The development of a model of creative space and its potential for transfer from non-formal to formal education

  • 31 October 2016

Volume 62, Issue 6, pp 771–790

Authors: Irene White (School of Human Development, Institute of Education, Dublin City University), Francesca Lorenzi (School of Policy and Practice, Institute of Education, Dublin City University)


Creativity has been emerging as a key concept in educational policies since the mid-1990s, with many Western countries restructuring their education systems to embrace innovative approaches likely to stimulate creative and critical thinking. But despite current intentions of putting more emphasis on creativity in education policies worldwide, there is still a relative dearth of viable models which capture the complexity of creativity and the conditions for its successful infusion into formal school environments. The push for creativity is in direct conflict with the results-driven/competitive performance-oriented culture which continues to dominate formal education systems. The authors of this article argue that incorporating creativity into mainstream education is a complex task and is best tackled by taking a systematic and multifaceted approach. They present a multidimensional model designed to help educators in tackling the challenges of the promotion of creativity. Their model encompasses three distinct yet interrelated dimensions of a creative space – physical, social-emotional and critical. The authors use the metaphor of space to refer to the interplay of the three identified dimensions. Drawing on confluence approaches to the theorisation of creativity, this paper exemplifies the development of a model before the background of a growing trend of systems theories. The aim of the model is to be helpful in systematising creativity by offering parameters – derived from the evaluation of an example offered by a non-formal educational environment – for the development of creative environments within mainstream secondary schools.

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