In 2015 VSDB Consultancy, which is the business of our Co-Editor, Venu Dhupa was approached by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in London to conduct a perception study of the value of the activity of the Embassy in advance of a potential move to the new ‘international quarter’ near Vauxhall in London. The findings of this study were presented to the Embassy in London, the appropriate Ministries in Den Haag and to the cultural sector in Amsterdam. One of the findings was that the UK cultural sector thought that the Dutch as nation were well placed to lead the way in the formulation of a new position statement for cultural diversity in the European Union, particularly as they were about to assume the Presidency of the EU early in 2016.
VSDB was encouraged to form such a position statement, particularly as Non-Departmental Bodies and Academic Organisations are realising just how important culture is, despite it being a devolved policy in EU terms. On closer examination there had been little primary research into the subject since 2008. So between June and September 2016 VSDB conducted an EU wide research study to understand and examine attitudes towards cultural diversity and increasing cultural diversity in the European Union. The aim was to generate data and a short high level statement which might act as a counter-weight to some of the rhetoric emerging from certain elements within the political frame. The research was supported by more than 20 EU Networks and received contributions from 27 EU countries.
Alongside the research discussions in Den Haag, Amsterdam and London on Diversity, Culture and the EU. These took place in February 2016. The research was further extended in 2017 to include 5, one hour discussions with Virginia Commonwealth University in the USA, to explore the differences and similarities between attitudes and issues in relation to diversity between the UK and this part of the USA.
The findings will be disseminated to Ministries of Culture and Education in the EU, at European seminars, but firstly at the prestigious 4th TransAtlantic Dialogues Festival in Luxembourg: Creating Human Bonds Through Cultural Diplomacy, at the end of May 2017. You can find out more about this event at: https://transatlanticdialogue2017.uni.lu/
A summary of the research will also be published in this journal. You can find out more about Venu Dhupa on her website: www.venudhupa.com
Creativity for Development (Crea4dev) is a new open access course from UNITAR. This short course is aimed at creative entrepreneurs, those who work with or are interested in the creative industries, and policy makers. Its aim is to enable them to promote cultural diversity and use creativity to promote sustainable development. This goal has much in common with the aims of this journal and indeed our charity’s work as a whole. For example, in 2002 we ran the first UK international conference on Creativity & Cultural Diversity and this triggered much of our later work including this journal.
The Unitar Creativity for Development consists of four modules:
Each module has a similar format starting with a short video, followed by an assessment in the form of a quiz. These core elements are complemented by useful additional material (videos, reports and articles) for those who want to ‘dig deeper’ - and this is highly recommended. Another valuable feature is the Learning Forum where participants can share their ideas with others and reflect on the course material. And there is a support centre, Ask and Talk, for help with any aspect of working through the course.
This self-paced course can be accessed online. Registration is open until 20 December 2016 (course completion date: 23 December 2016). It is suggested that the basic course can be completed in four hours, but it is likely to take rather longer for those who choose to delve into the additional material. Those who complete the course with a pass rate of 60% or more can receive a certificate for which a fee of $50 USD is payable.
My only slight niggle is not with the course itself but rather with its reference to the term ‘creative industries’. This terminology is widely accepted and understood, but I find it misleading since surely creativity is needed in all industries and indeed in everyday life as well? Having said that, this course provides a valuable introduction to this fascinating field and has much to recommend it.
To register for the course use this link: Creativity for Development
Dr Kenichi Yumino is an Emeritus Professor at Shizuoka University, Japan and the former President of the Japan Creativity Society. In high-school and college, he studied Electricity & Computer Science and proceeded to a doctoral course of Educational Psychology at Kyusyu University. His current interests are creative problem solving, how to foster pupils’ creativity in school, creativity training for pre-service teachers, and the use of praise words for encouraging creative attitudes and behaviours.
Of his own publications, the one that he most values is 'Creativity Education in the World', published in 2005, which includes creativity education in the United States, Canada, the UK, Germany, Finland, China, Taiwan and Japan.