David Gauntlett made ‘Ambassador of Creativity’ to Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

15 November 2016
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David Gauntlett has been appointed as Ambassador of Creativity’ to Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. David, who is renowned for his use of LEGO to foster creative thinking and collaboration will join the first Poet Laureate of the United States’ Navajo Nation and a Canadian authority on ‘strategic design thinking’ as international guests at Victoria University of Wellington’s inaugural Creativity Week.

The week, from 21 – 25 November, features events and performances showcasing and celebrating the University’s role as a national and international hub of smart imagination and innovation.

It is being hosted as part of Victoria’s commitment to ‘Cultivating creative capital”—one of the University’s areas of academic distinctiveness.

Professor Jennifer Windsor, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and Chair of the University’s ‘Cultivating creative capital’ steering group, says Creativity Week is a chance for staff, students and other Wellingtonians to engage with an array of ideas and experiences that will expand their thinking.

“Creativity is central to so many aspects of our lives, as individuals and as a society, especially here in New Zealand’s cultural capital. For Creativity Week, we aim to explore many of the questions and opportunities it gives rise to, as well as enjoying some of its fruits.”

David Gauntlett, Professor of Creativity and Design and Director of Research at Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design at the University of Westminster in London, is Victoria’s inaugural Ambassador of Creativity.

During Creativity Week, he will be presenting a free keynote public lecture on Being Creative (Rutherford House, Pipitea Campus, 22 November, 6pm) and interacting with staff and students, including running a LEGO workshop for postgraduates.

“It’s a great honour to be the first-ever Ambassador of Creativity at Victoria,” he says. “It will be a huge pleasure to meet and exchange ideas with staff and students. Both the University and Wellington enjoy a formidable international reputation as centres of creative excellence, so I am sure my visit will be stimulating, inspiring and fun.”

Professor Gauntlett’s books include Making is Connecting: The Social Meaning of Creativity, from DIY and Kitting to YouTube and Web 2.0.

He has worked for a decade with LEGO on innovation in creativity, play and learning, including the LEGO Serious Play process for businesses and other organisations.

In his essay The LEGO System as a tool for thinking, creativity, and changing the world, Professor Gauntlett says “LEGO connects with some valuable social movements—such as maker culture and open knowledge sharing—and can help to build a mindset which is creative, optimistic, and willing to try out new things”.

During Creativity Week, Professor Luci Tapahonso, who was named the first Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation in 2013, will be the inaugural Wai-te-ata Press Creator-in-Residence at Victoria University, hosted by Associate Professor Sydney Shep, Reader in Book History and Printer at the Press.

Professor Tapahonso will be giving a free public reading (Te Marae, Te Papa, 24 November, 1pm), as well as visiting Arohata women’s prison with International Institute of Modern Letters creative writing teacher Dr Pip Adam and joining an interdisciplinary panel of speakers to discuss how verbal, visual and legal languages can safeguard and champion indigeneity (including Māori and Pasifika).

Professor Tapahonso’s visit is partnered by the Embassy of the United States of America.

Moura Quayle is based at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where she is Professor of Strategic Design in the Sauder School of Business, Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues and Director of the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs.

She co-founded the Sauder School’s innovative d.studio design facility and will be presenting a free public lecture on Creative Coalitions: Re-imagining Business, Academia and Government (Rutherford House, Pipitea Campus, 21 November, 6pm).

In her lecture, Professor Quayle will talk about how meeting today’s most critical challenges requires collaboration and using the creative tools and processes of design that have served industry and manufacturing for decades.

Other events during Creativity Week include a free public series of Lunchtime Panel Conversations in Rutherford House Foyer, featuring staff and other artists associated with the University:

Creativity as Theory in Practice, with Dr Anna Smaill (author of the Man Booker Prize-longlisted and World Fantasy Award for Best Novel winner The Chimes), jazz improviser Mark Donlon and filmmaker Dr Miriam Ross (22 November, 12.30pm).

Creativity as Digital Communication, with composer Professor John Psathas, computer scientist Professor Neil Dodgson and media artist and activist Walter Langelaar (23 November, 12.30pm).

Creativity as Innovation, with Composer-in-Residence Alison Isadora, Writer-in-Residence novelist and poet Anne Kennedy and Stout Memorial Fellow writer, curator and visual artist Gregory O’Brien.

Full details on these and other Creativity Week events are at
www.victoria.ac.nz/creative-capital.

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