In 2018 the United Nations linked 21st April to creativity and since then it has been celebrated as World Creativity and Innovation Day.
There may be no universal understanding of creativity.
The above statement appears on the UN website and I could not agree more with it. Having searched for the perfect definition of ‘creativity’ and having asked my students to explain what they understand by ‘creativity’ I must admit I have received various hints and answers and all of them seem to be absolutely right. The one, however, that is among my top favourites is the definition provided by Mary Lou Cook, an American actress, saying, ‘ Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.’ Doesn’t it sound like the essence of creativity? Coming up with and trying new ideas, although may involve some risk of failing, is a source of satisfaction and pleasure and guarantees development and, thus, must be considered a creative approach. Isn’t it what Albert Einstein meant when saying, ‘Creativity is intelligence having fun’?
Europeana’s ‘Einsteins’ and ‘Curies’
Are you interested in reading about some creative minds whose achievements are presented on Europeana? People on the Move Exhibition portrays great creators, among others, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla and Marie Skłodowska Curie. The latter is also one of the eight female figures appearing in the Pioneers Exhibition. Women’s History is a must if you are looking for further stories concerning the lives and creations of well-known female painters, authors and other artists. These collections constitute a great source of materials on which some Europeana User Group teachers based their Learning Scenarios, the examples of which may be Pioneers Exhibition in Math Class or Look at the Picture!
Creating from nothing
The word ‘creativity’ was derived from the Latin term ‘creo’ meaning ‘to create/make’ and while originally it was limited to God’s creation – creating from nothing (‘Creatio ex nihilo’), with time the term has become related to human activities. The etymology as well as the whole history of the term is available on Wikibooks.
Europeana User Group teachers have prepared numerous Learning Scenarios connected with various human activities that are supposed to enhance creativity in students. Would you like your students to create a new version of Mona Lisa, an amulet, a banknote, a musical instrument, a museum or a totally new country? Are you searching for some ideas concerning creative storytelling? Check out World Café Stories, Cooperative Storytelling or You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover. Or Can You? These are only a few examples of the many Europeana Learning Scenarios that aim at allowing students to express themselves and their ideas freely and creatively.
Creativity with AI
Artificial Intelligence is definitely what fascinates students as well as teachers. What about using Culturebot – the Europeana new virtual assistant, to guide you and your students through the Europeana Collections to get inspired and use digital cultural heritage creatively in your class?
What are the limits?
The good news is there are none! You and your students’ creativity is absolutely boundless. As Maya Angelou put it, ‘You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.’ Thus, boost your creativity by using it with Europeana resources and remember that, following Albert Einstein again, ‘Creativity is contagious, pass it on’ to your students.