The idea of thinking about our world as a design project is … something that is critically important for citizens from all backgrounds to understand, that the world that we live in – the cities that we live in – are not something that happens to us; they’re things that we make and that we live within as a result of the way that we make them.
TED has shared truly magnificent ideas in abundance. This, by Sir Ken Robinson, concerns a bunch of things very dear to me:
He contests that our schools, traditionally geared towards industrial utility, wring the creativity out of children. Of course, that’s not to say that our education system is all bad; I loved an awful lot of it, after all. Nor that it doesn’t teach worthwhile skills or excludes creativity (although it often doesn’t rank too highly in priorities). But Robinson proposes that our education system cannot, as it stands, adequately prepare children for a future that is getting increasingly harder to predict over a progressively shorter timeframe. Creativity is, however, something humans have always needed, regardless of culture, and can only become more important in the years ahead.
A point he raises about the industrialised origins of our modern education system: our education systems train people for work, but why don’t we train them for the rest of life as well? There are some subjects that teach us about the world, our society and a bit about how to live in it, and of course, a lot of stuff useful for work is also useful elsewhere, but when it came to electives, most of us picked subjects that we (and perhaps univerities) considered useful for the work we thought we might like to do. Those didn’t leave much room for anything else, so creativity usually fell to the luck of having the right friends and/or family.
I’ll stop the text equivalent of thinking out loud here and leave the rest to Sir Ken, but would also like to very enthusiastically recommend this wonderful piece of wisdom and inspiration, from Dr Karl Paulnack, which discusses why music matters and discusses how art is an essential part of being human.