The Festival of Creative Learning: what actually happens at the University of Edinburgh?

The Festival of Creative Learning, or as it has been known in the past: ‘Innovative Learning Week,’ is quickly approaching, leaving many students scrambling together plans for a mini holiday without realizing what they will miss out on campus. Running from 18-22 February the festival is an “a year-long series of events exploring creative learning and innovation at the University of Edinburgh, culminating in a curated week of events each February.” Although many students and faculty are generally aware of events occurring on campus, the term “creative learning week” has become synonymous with a break from lectures to go on holiday, yet those who do so miss out on a whole range of unique and fun workshops.

The numerous events scheduled for the Festival of Creative Learning allow students to go outside their course of study and creatively experience other fields while learning new skills. I have heard many students talk of the festival as a reading week without any specific idea of what events are specifically running for them to take part in.

The schedule for the festival runs the gamut of an orchestral conducting masterclass to an all-day film challenge to a mathematical bake-off. Every event invites people with any level of experience to try their hand in a new field.  Staff members at the Institute for Academic Development, Theodora Sakellaridou and Jennifer Williams, who are running the festival this year, aim to motivate students and staff to gain new perspectives and spark creative thought all the while instilling valuable skills to be of use in the future. Their five values that are at the heart of the festival and its events include openness, collaboration, creativity, mindfulness, and experimentation.

In addition to attending the workshops, university staff and students are encouraged to try their hand at running an event for the festival with the core values in mind, possibly expanding on a specific subject or creative area of interest. Using the newly released program of events for the festival week, those interested in attending the events of the festival can book their spot in each workshop that catches their interest. The most popular events that have already been fully booked includes Critical/Fictional Investigations: Site, Sound and Listening, which involves sharing research on politics and poetics of place, Learn to Code, for curious individuals who want to learn the basics of programming, and 15 Most Useful British Sign Language Signs for Life, an event that increases deafness awareness while also instructing attendants on basic signing.

Though these incredibly creative and attractive workshops are fully booked there are many other interesting events to choose from, such as creating an adventure game using Twine, dissecting medical dramas to enhance your understanding of ethical issues, using science to improve your cooking, developing your research skills, getting a free class on general bike maintenance, getting out of an escape room using math, creating a blog and many, many more.

Just as it is true in life, your creative learning doesn’t stop with the end of festival week. Pop-up events with be running throughout the year and those interested in running one are encouraged to fill out an application. So, how will you choose to learn creatively?

 

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