Arts Education Helps Open Up Creativity: Arts Experts

Updated: 2007-07-27 09:00

At the ongoing Asia Cultural Co- operation Forum (ACCF) 2007, speakers from all over the world joined the World Creativity Summit session which closed here Wednesday sharing their views on arts education.

The Summit was themed "Arts Education: from pedagogy to sustainable futures." Director of Audience Development of the National Arts Council of Singapore Chua Ai Liang said that arts play an important role in enriching the lives of Singaporeans as it can evoke greater sense of fulfillment and open doors to new experiences.

With globalization and today's knowledge-based societies, creativity is a powerful resource for innovations but its potential has yet to be tapped to its fullest, Chua said, adding that the arts are recognized for its value in inspiring creativity. It can be harnessed by the public and business sectors for spawning creative communities, creating new values and generating ideas with new economic values.

She said that the arts also have a special role to play in community-building, promoting intercultural understanding especially in ethnically-divers Singapore. It is an effective means to express shared values and promote the nation's identity.

The National Arts Council of Singapore has got a mission to make arts an integral part of lives of Singaporeans. It is important to advocate and demonstrate the importance of arts participation and further strengthen creative partnerships to bring arts and creativity to the center of everyone's lives, she added.

Professor of the Shanghai Theater Academy of China Sun Huizhu dealt with the topic of teaching for creativity in his speech, saying that in most Chinese schools the traditional pedagogical model is centered in monologue, that is, the teacher lectures and students listen and they try their best to memorize so they can take exams well, and the greatest problem is lack of creativity and original work.

According to Sun, the essence of theater is dialog which can be used to transform the Chinese education system. He suggested to turn pastime retreat and holiday celebrations into theater games and forum theater and gradually make theater part of their lifelong education.

Cheung Ping Kuen, head of Liberal Arts Studies of the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, agreed that drama education can help open up people's mind.

People in modern days are always terribly busy and, on the other hand, have some feelings of loneliness, frustration, weariness and even impotence, which might have been spread around the young generation to a certain extent. While traditional formal education seems incapable to help this situation, said Cheung.

He said that drama education allows people to share and communicate with others peacefully and to enjoy life and that this is the best way to gestate creativity. This explained why drama and all sorts of drama education are so important nowadays.

Chair of the Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture Ada Wong said in her speech that, in Hong Kong, different circles in the society are doing something for the next generation by establishing some programs for them. She said that the more creative and inspiring the process of arts education, the more likely the program would be a success.

Wong gave the example of Hong Kong's Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity. Founded in 2006, it allows young people to take a proactive role in their studying program's process design and charting their own paths.

The ACCF was initiated by the Hong Kong Home Affairs Bureau in 2003 to foster regional cultural co-operation, share good practices and promote culture the arts and creative industries.

This year's forum was themed Culture Coming Home, which was held from July 22 to 25.