“To be creative a person must exist and have a feeling of existing, not in conscious awareness, but as a basic place to operate from. Creativity is then the doing that arises out of being. It indicates that he who is, is alive.”

D. W. Winnicott, Living Creatively

Creativity in the classroom is not easy. In the process of constantly renewing my posture toward teaching, I discovered Jan Holmevik’s notion of free play in the age of electracy. I witnessed it in action in his graduate course on technological communication: he practices a trickle-down approach to pedagogy that emphasizes knowing, doing, and making – an iteration of Aristotle’s rhetorical triad. Creativity in the classroom starts with us.

When I started to practice what was preached, I felt like a super hero. I was invited to present at a research forum for the Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design program at Clemson University on Monday. Those in the audience were my colleagues and professors in the same program – many have read the same texts and sat under the same lectures.

I spoke on the importance of agency related to creativity in the classroom and shared some of what we’re doing here at Book Oblivion with creative analyses and video explorations, specifically in our Critical Theory and Philosophy Mini Course series. You can watch the talk in this video.

Much of my talk considers how we combat the cynicism that is so rampant in the academy. It characterizes the faculty and trickles down to the students. What if we aimed for a different kind of trickle-down pedagogy? What would it take to empower our students instead of embitter them?

The Q&A is not part of the video, but the audience asked excellent questions and left inspired by the conversations we are creating in our community. If you’re interested, you can watch the talk Super Creatives: Knowing, Doing, Making in the Composition Classroom.

The presentation was with Jan Holmevik, the professor practicing the very creativity he professed. He was my co-presenter and it is his work, Inter/vention: Free Play in the Age of Electracy, and his instruction in a graduate seminar last semester that left me inspired, challenged, and empowered to teach AND create.

His work talks about building skills in digital literacy through play, which is exactly what we did in his classroom. If you’re interested in learning more about how he structures his course, you can visit the HASTAC website and read the article I wrote describing the course.

Creativity in the Classroom: Knowing, Doing, and Making