ISSN 2050-5337 - ISSUE 4

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017 12:13

Views on Cultural Diversity in the EU

 

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:

  • Creativity and Creative Economy
  • Places, Networks and Connectivity
  • Characteristics of the Creative Labour Market
  • Creative Business.

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

Tuesday, 08 November 2016 12:52

Guest Editor - Dr Kenichi Yumino

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.

Friday, 04 November 2016 13:45

Issue 4: Creativity in Japan

  • We are delighted to showcase a series of articles by our esteemed Japanese colleagues which provide a valuable insight into creativity development in Japan, guest edited by Emeritus Professor Dr Kenichi Yumino. This includes a fascinating account of creativity at the Sony Corporation, how to rapidly generate a wealth of creative ideas, the role played by serendipity in creativity, and actions currently being taken to augment creative production in the Japanese workplace, higher education and in Japanese schools.Complementing this series, is an article on the popular Japanese KJ Ho (method) of creative problem solving by Professor Dr Toshio Nomura and we thank him and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation (GBSF) for supporting this special series of articles.You may also be interested in a related article by artist, Alexander Devereux, whose recent visit to Japan is inspiring his work.Our links with Japanese creativity experts began in 2000 when I was commissioned by a government body to review creativity development programmes internationally, with a special emphasis on certain countries including Japan. This led me to our guest editor, Professor Kenichi Yumino. Since then our links have been strengthened through our collaborations and research visits between our two countries which are continuing today. It has been a most valuable experience for us to learn about Japanese creativity development and to experience this at first hand.
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  • 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.
    Read More
  • This article provides a fascinating insight into the significant role played by creativity development in the success of Sony. The authors’ account of the ‘Ibuka Way’, developed by Masaru Ibuka, the founder of Sony, provides valuable learning for all managers who are wondering how to embed creativity in their organisations. The article goes on to describe his contribution to lifelong learning and the work that is continuing today.
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  • As these authors point out, creativity development is not new in Japan but it is being increasingly regarded as essential in education and training. Yet there appears to be a problem in that many people still find it difficult to exercise their creativity in practice. The authors suggest that the problem may lie in the lack of a creative mindset and they test this proposition with a series of sample groups – high school students, researchers working for a manufacturing company and members of the general public. The results are very interesting and point the way to future actions which need to be taken.
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  • This issue has long been the focus of debate in educational circles. In this paper Professor Yumino addresses this issue with particular reference to Japanese education today. He illustrates his argument with a series of lesson plan examples.
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  • Do you find it difficult to generate creative ideas? If so, this article is for you. In this paper Dr Takeo Higuchi, who established the Idea Marathon System (IMS) describes how you can use this process to significantly increase the number of ideas you can generate. According to Professor Sidney Parnes, quantity breeds quality – in other words the more creative ideas you generate the more likely it is that your list will include some valuable ones. The rest of this article is devoted to examining whether or not training in IMS (which is gaining in popularity in Japanese universities and elsewhere) increases participants’ capacity to be creative. Dr Higuchi employs the Torrance Tests of Creativity (TTCTs) to assess this.
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  • This article highlights the importance of ensuring that any interventions aimed at increasing creativity are appropriate to the culture concerned. It focuses on one aspect of motivation, namely praise, which Professor Yumino regards as essential for promoting individuality and creativity amongst Japanese children and young people, as well as raising their levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy. As he points out, Japan is a group-oriented society and it was only after the Second World War that the concept of individuality emerged. So it is hardly surprising that not everyone has an extensive repertoire of praising words they can use with children and young people. To address this issue, he reports on work in which the idea-generation technique, Brain Writing, is used to increase different groups’ repertoires of praise words.
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  • Does chance favour the mind prepared for the unexpected? And might this lead to more creative solutions? The aim of this article is to investigate the mechanism of serendipitous discoveries and to develop a training method to use it. H. Walpole coined the term ‘serendipity’ and indicated that the two factors of accidents and sagacity are essential in discoveries. R. K. Merton pointed out the importance of serendipity for the progress of sciences (Merton & Barber, 2004). In this paper, we analyze the mechanism of serendipitous discoveries in terms of accidents and sagacity according to the theories of S. Kuki and C. S. Peirce, respectively. Finally, we propose a training method for serendipity using ‘serendipity cards’ that are externalized subject matter on to cards with hypotheses and results with one case study. We can compose hypotheses effectively using the concepts of ‘seeing as’ and ‘seeing that’, as proposed by N R Hanson (Hanson, 1969).
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  • The KJ Ho (Method) is a creative thinking and problem solving methodology, which was originally invented by Japanese cultural anthropologist, Professor Jiro Kawakita (1920-2009). It has gone through over half a century’s development and refinement as a result of applications to many kinds of complex and unique problems in Japan. This article is an up-to-date presentation of the current state of the KJ Ho by those who have contributed to its recent developments and improvements.
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