Last Friday we held the first of three CRACL days to be held this year.

We have decided that, rather than meet monthly at lunchtime, it is better for our part-time people and those doing field work if we have full days. We will meet less often than other centres, but the day gives us more time to share and informally chat as well.

Those informal chats are really useful as, not surprisingly, there are lots of common threads among the work that people are doing. Although we are looking at apparently different topics – reading, writing, play, performing, learning in and with art and working with artists and arts organisations –  there are underlying patterns of interest among us. CRACL days allow us to see what they are – ways of thinking, being and doing which are for instance artistic, creative, resistant, and critical. It wasn’t really surprising then that, as well as listening, we also found ourselves drawing, and clowning-miming during the day. But there was more than this going on.

CRACL days are important not only to establish a sense of community but also of our shared endeavour. We are all looking at ways in which we can make a difference in the lives of children, families and communities, many of them finding it pretty tough. Very often this commitment means that we are acting against the grain of current policy and dominant practices. Getting together affirms our directions and research practices.

We are all looking forward to the next meeting –  and to each writing a blog post about our work! A big thanks to Cassie for getting us organised.


CRACL news

CRACL is pleased to report two staff changes.

Dr Becky Parry was the researcher working on the Tale project, She now has a permanent Assistant Professor position in the school. She will be working on the new B Ed programme and the MA CALL.

Dr Lexi Earl has been appointed to the position of researcher for TALE for the remainder of the project.

We will soon be advertising a shorter term position for a researcher specialising in statistics.


Roma Patel, who is partly supervised in CRACL, conducted her final PhD research ‘experiment’ at Lakeside. Roma is a theatre designer and she is researching how digital technologies can be used to create immersive theatre environments for very small children.

She staged, with the help of an artist, a one hour performance which was attended by volunteer research families. The performance was called The Runaway Hare, and it featured a tree that responded to sound by making light patterns, a talking grassy patch, a magic flower that laughed and boats that twinkled.

Creative Learning – should England be ashamed of itself?

Thursday 11th February 2016, 4.30-7.30pm

Room A32, Dearing Building, Jubilee Campus


Presented by Paul Collard, Chief Executive of Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE)

Creative Partnerships ran from 2003-2011, funding artists to work with teachers and schools across England. At the same time as the English government abandoned its commitment to creativity, other countries took it up. Creativity Culture and Education continued this work in Wales, Scotland, Lithuania, Norway, Germany Czech Republic, Hungary, Pakistan and Chile, and with the OECD. Their goal is to continue to build experience and evidence of the benefits of creative learning, a typology of creative interventions, and measures of progress in creativity. Paul Collard, the Chief Executive of CCE will discuss this work and raise questions about what England and English educators might learn from this recent work.

About Paul

Paul Collard is the Chief Executive of Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE) an international foundation dedicated to unlocking the creativity of children and young people in and out of formal education. CCE was originally established to design and support the delivery of the Creative Partnerships programme in England which ran from 2002 to 2011. With a budget of around €50 million each year, it was able over the period to work with over 5000 schools, well over a million young people and around 90,000 teachers. The success and impact of the programme attracted considerable international attention and CCE now supports the delivery of programmes modelled on Creative Partnerships across a wide range of European countries including Norway, Lithuania, Holland, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.

Within the United Kingdom, it is advising the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government on a £20 million Arts and Creative Learning Plan which was launched in the Spring of 2015, and is delivering training, seminars and workshops in most local authorities in Scotland on behalf of the Government agencies Education Scotland and Creative Scotland. At a European Level, it has worked closely with the EU Commission on a range of issues and has just delivered a report for the influential private German Foundation Mercator, on developing a European strategy for Creative and Cultural Education. Beyond Europe, CCE ran a Creative Partnerships programme in Karachi, which is now running in Lahore, Pakistan and has provided training for teachers and artists in countries as diverse as Taiwan, Vietnam, Western Australia, Qatar, Tunisia and Thailand. In 2011, CCE was the recipient of the World Innovation Summit on Education (WISE) award for its outstanding contribution to innovation in world education.

Paul is a Special Professor in the School of Education, attached to CRACL.

Book via Eventbrite.