Creative Classroom Events

Start your summer by unleashing your creativity.  Join us for two ‘creative classroom’ events with an award winning author and a multi-award winning singer/song writer.

Leadership, Strategy and Organisations may not be the obvious department to promote creativity, but we recognise the role of creativity in a modern workplace.  There is a growing belief that creativity is a learned skill and creative thinking is critical for problem solving in all disciplines.  Along with many of my colleagues, I am increasingly extending the format of work we require from students beyond traditional essays and reports.  I already use drawing in the classroom, and regularly encourage my students to create posters and videos.  Therefore, I was somewhat disappointed when I gave students free choice of assessment format and most played ‘safe’, choosing a conventional essay.  Developing creativity is clearly not as straightforward as increasing the range of formats we use.  A Learning and Teaching Fellowship has enabled me to explore further the relationship between employability and creativity.

I have discovered that those of us with a scientific or business background can learn a good deal from the creative industries.  Even a conventional essay can be improved with ‘story telling’ skills and the result can be more enjoyable both in the writing and in the reading.

Developing the creative potential of learners needs to become part of what we do in all disciplines. The need for innovation is widely understood, but what is less clear is that creativity hinges on our ability to cultivate imagination.  Knowledge and skills are important, but so too are mind set and disposition (Crichton 2014).

“The world needs people who can combine their thinking, knowledge, capabilities and values in imaginative ways to work with complexity, create wealth and prosperity, tackle intractable social and environmental problems, enrich cultures, and enhance their own wellbeing.  Universities have a vital role to play in creating more creative societies but all too often the creative development of learners as an outcome of higher education is more by accident than by design.” (Jackson 2014)

I have organised two creative classroom events to stimulate creativity in the classroom.  Both events are suitable for academics, support staff and students from any discipline, but booking is essential.

Tuesday 26 June: Master Your Story

Academics increasingly need story-telling skills. Whether you would like to use story-telling in your teaching and assessment, in your own papers and reports, would love to write a memoir, or have an idea for a novel, this workshop will develop your capabilities through practical exercises.

Above all, narrative fiction techniques have been shown to improve mood, reduce stress and even strengthen the immune system. This research will be discussed along with a broad overview of this fascinating subject.

Jill Harris is an award-winning novelist and an academic interested in writing as therapy.  She is the author of “Novel Writing Blueprint” and “The Wolf in Your Bed”.  Jill will be at BU on 26th June 2018 to deliver a master class on writing to tell a story.  Bring a notebook and prepare to dive into your imagination in a safe and intriguing way.  To book your place, go to:


Monday 2nd July: Song Writing Workshop 

Songs have the power to educate, inform, change things and make a difference.  Highly acclaimed singer-songwriter Steve Knightley will be running a song writing workshop here at BU.  The workshop will be useful whether you would like to introduce a new creative dimension to your teaching, develop your own poetic or lyrical imagination, or create a song yourself.   Academics, support staff and students from all Faculties are invited to join Steve for an interesting and practical session.

Places are limited and booking is essential:

Steve Knightly is a multi-award winning singer-songwriter/musician and founder member of widely acclaimed folk/acoustic roots trail-blazers Show of Hands, who has written “many fine songs” according to Peter Gabriel.  As well as his monumental international career with Show of Hands, Knightly has a successful solo career and several other acclaimed collaborations under his belt, including guesting with Mick Jagger.  His social conscience is strongly connected to his song writing and he is active in the wider community, including as Artistic Director of ’19,240 Shrouds of the Somme’, a Great War Remembrance project in Exeter.  In 2015 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Plymouth University for services to music. Publishing five song books by 2017, he runs song writing workshops and mentors young musicians.

In the afternoon of 2nd July, Steve will be presenting his musical journey, illustrated with songs from the narrative, that is all about building a sustainable business.  A business that delivers excellence and fosters a warm embracing sense of community, and a journey that has taken him from local pubs to the Albert Hall, and beyond.  Steve promises a relaxed and informative event that will be an enjoyable diversion for hard working staff alongside enthusiastic students and members of the local sustainable business community.  There is no charge for this event but you must book a place.

Monday 2 July Growing a Sustainable Business:



Crichton, S. 2014. Leapfrogging Pedagogy: A Design Approach to Making Change in Challenging Contexts. Electronic Journal of e-Learning Volume 12 Issue 1.  Available online: [Accessed 29 May 2018]

Jackson, N. 2014 Developing Creativity in Higher Education.  Available online: [Accessed 29 May 2018]

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