Social pedagogy is inherently creative. Social pedagogy thrives not on rulebooks but principles and contingencies. Social pedagogues often respond to a situation by saying ‘it depends’, and draw on theory, experience and team work to help them decide what next. Creativity plays a crucial part in helping decide what next. Today, creative thinking is highly relevant to social work and social workers. Creativity is also invoked by the ‘common third’, a concept that values mutual curiosity and exploring an interest or phenomena jointly, building relationships along the way. Participating in creative arts activities supports wellbeing and recovery from mental health difficulties (Ander et al. 2013).
Creativity can be seen as both integrating creative methods into everyday practice of working with people, and creative ways of teaching and learning.
In 2009, Chambers and Petrie published the Learning Framework for Artist Pedagogues, drawing on insights from Danish social pedagogic approaches to working with the arts. The LFAP gives a theoretical grounding and a tool for reflection to help artists and social care practitioners and educators (of all kinds) think through the purpose and potential of working creatively with specific groups of people.
Providers of social pedagogy courses frequently use creativity as a theme for learning, whether through participatory approaches, games, yoga, music, exploring wild areas, among many other possibilities.
This conference, hosted by the Social Pedagogy Professional Association (SPPA), will be an invigorating, refreshing, and quirky opportunity to hear about all kinds of creative practices, approaches, theories and frameworks. SPPA invites members and non- members to hear from leading creative thinkers and practitioners about the contribution social pedagogy makes to quality of life when working with disadvantaged groups.
The International Journal of Social Pedagogy will be launching its special issue on Creativity at the SPPA conference.
SPPA is the professional home of social pedagogy in the UK. It is a membership based organisation that exists to support continuous professional development in social pedagogy in all areas of the UK. It holds standards for social pedagogy qualifications and endorses social pedagogy learning programmes. New members are always welcome.
Who should attend: all those interested in a social pedagogic approach to delivering care, education and health services, from practitioners to policy makers, and students to academics. You might be working in early childhood education and care, family support, youth work, foster care, social work, in day care services for older people, mental health services or residential child care. There is a place in social pedagogy for all of you. There is a special discounted rate for students and non-wage earners.
Utilising the common third in social work education
Facilitator: Dr Elizabeth McCreadie
Thinking creatively and ‘outside of the box’ is essential and highly pertinent to social work practice. Social workers must develop a value base that is committed to challenging inequalities, discrimination and oppression and strive to work with and support vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals. Social pedagogy is also committed to these humanistic values and principles and seeks to address social problems and inequalities. Social work has a lot to learn from social pedagogy.
The workshop will explore the potentially beneficial relationship between the disciplines of social pedagogy and social work; present the value of the common third approach in social work education, illustrated by a background slide show of photographs of one of the common third activities; provide an interactive session to explore and establish key themes in social work practice.
A social pedagogy perspective on life review with older people
Facilitator: Rob Hunter
This session of the Work with Older Person’s SIG will focus on strengthening the sense of self, identity and Life Review. We will start with experiential work on UCLAN’s One page profile and go on to examine Your story counts and Taking stock, some of Leicester Ageing Together’s individual and group projects at different stages of life after 50. This approach aims to help individual older people to reclaim the rich child, the sense of who they are and what is important to them as a means to continue flourishing, strengthening agency and act as a buffer against loneliness, social isolation and despair.
The workshop will save space for participants who may be only tentatively exploring the relationship of social pedagogy to work with older people to contribute thoughts and questions to general discussion.
Creative mentoring: A Derbyshire county council service for children in care
Facilitator: Claire Parker
Creative Mentoring is an innovative service developed through Derbyshire County Council’s Virtual School. It is offered to children and young people living in care in Derbyshire. The service supports creative learning, wellbeing, and reengagement into education, employment and training. The Creative Mentor role is informed by a social pedagogical approach within a diverse team of professionals working around the child. The support begins with the child-mentor relationship, developing trust and collaboration, where interests and ideas are experienced, shared and developed. Sometimes the work extends an already established interest or may help to find a new way to engage and participate.
The workshop will facilitate finding out about creative mentoring. Participants can try new or familiar art and craft mediums. We will think about the processes used to motivate and inspire through creative mentoring. In sharing our practice, we hope to contribute to the community of learning around the subject of creativity and social pedagogy.
“Let’s do what works”, a creative approach to re-engaging the “hard to reach” in education
Facilitators: Cyndy Humphreys & Kay Redknap
The focus will be on strategies that have had success in achieving outcomes academically whilst accommodating the particular circumstances and experiences of the young person. We aim to build confidence in practitioners to do something different when everything conventionally available has failed to retain the child or young person in an educational setting. Success in this circumstance hinges on allowing the child or young person to lead, working alongside them and encouraging them to “teach” us as adults. This enables them to be seen positively and receive feedback on something they do well. The fundamental premise is in the spirit of social pedagogy, recognising the potential in the young person and modelling those high expectations across the team working with them.
The workshop will share practical experience in education and case studies where there has been evidence of transformative practice which has supported the young person’s access to learning. This will be an interactive session where participants will be invited to contribute.
Evaluating social pedagogy: A reflexive study of youth and community education based around young people from a Welsh African Caribbean background
Facilitator: Faith Walker
‘Black Butterfly’ was an arts-based community education initiative involving young people and their parents from a Welsh African Caribbean ancestry. Using a social pedagogy approach the project aimed to provide young people with a balanced view about their heritage, exploring the positive aspects and contribution people from Africa and the African diaspora have made to civilisation, thus redressing negative portrayals of their culture. Parents learnt by participating in the young people’s learning.
The workshop will have a conversation about the research. The creativity is in the art of having a conversation, sharing a space with like-minded professionals who are passionate about working alongside individuals within communities. The books the children and young people read will be shown, as well as how they learned through role modelling, about famous Africans with the diaspora, leaders, scientists, entertainers, entrepreneurs, inventors and doctors. The workshop will conclude with the children’s evaluations of the project and a short video of the children graduation.
How to nurture small meaningful moments of creativity
Facilitators: Gabriel Eichsteller & Alex Priver
Being creative can be an exhilarating and liberating feeling but expectations to be creative can seem overwhelming for practitioners who do not consider themselves creative. In a social pedagogical spirit, we think of everyone as creative.
This workshop will discuss how social pedagogy can enable practitioners to rethink their own negative assumptions. If you think you are not particularly creative or want to support colleagues who struggle to recognise their inner creativity, join us. We will aim to provide a safe interactive space for participants to discover their own creative potential and to explore the small ways in which we can nurture creativity in our everyday practice to create meaningful moments for children, young people and adults alike.
Creative alternatives to “needy children”
Facilitator: Cecile Remy
Creativity is not always artistic in nature, it can also be found in new solutions to everyday problems. In this workshop, we will use creativity in this manner to think about the system within which we work. The architecture of the care system is based around the notion of “meeting needs”. This is embedded in law, policies and practices; it assumes a typology of needs and that adults are meant to “meet” those needs. This in turn puts children and young people in a passive position of consumers. Being critical on the assumptions attached to “needs”, I question: how could this problem be tackled? What would a care system look like without relying heavily on needy children and providing?
The workshop will harness our collective thinking to dream up something different. We will be creative in the methods used when devising this new system; we will challenge each other to go to unchartered territories beyond “needs” and to understand where the contradictions and tension lie, so that we plant the seeds in our practice of what could be a different relationship with children and young people.
Mary Poppins’s bag - discovering, doing, showing / Creativity & relationships - the role of creativity, including arts and self-challenge, when working to build strong and authentic relationships with people
Facilitators: Mélissa Desvignes and Thure Johansen (Treehouse Associates)
The aim of this workshop is to explore the meaning of creativity in social pedagogic practice through the serendipitous elements of using an open-ended frame of practice and intention.
The workshop will introduce the ‘Pandora’s Box’ aspect of the Common Third as a principle and a mindset that allies well with artists’ practice and ethos. In small groups, participants will get hands on quickly: we will use hands, hearts and heads to create something and to talk and listen to each other. We will give examples of the work of professional artists and their unique value and relational impact in the lives of vulnerable people. Taking inspiration from this, we will reflect on ‘wow-moments’ and the role of serendipity in Common Third activities.
The ‘Star Model’ of practical social pedagogy in children’s services
Facilitator: Nicole Chavaudra
Combining evidence from social pedagogy literature and from a case study that explored the potential challenges and benefits of social pedagogy, including its ‘fit’ within the children’s services workforce, a new understanding of the defining characteristics of practical social pedagogy emerged. I will debate characteristics such as shared learning and experience; creativity in practice; risk sensibility; positive relationships; and reflection, undertaken in the context of the conscious use of theory to achieve the fulfilment of a child’s potential.
The workshop will inform participants about the outcome of the research including my ‘Star Model’, which suggests that ‘creativity’ be a pervasive concept within practical social pedagogy, expanding beyond activities with children into a new approach and perspective on work with young people, that challenges traditional paradigms and policies. I will provide an opportunity to explore how the model could support creative practice environments for work with children.
Creating a learning space: Using experiential learning and creativity in the teaching and learning of social pedagogy
Facilitators: Lowis Charfe and Ali Gardner
The student cohort and staff from The University of Central Lancashire have reflected and discussed their own learning journey and how this shaped the development of creativity within their practice. This learning experience will be the focus of the workshop. Four themes arose around the importance of creativity and experiential learning: i) the connection between creativity, experiential learning and relationships, ii) how creativity supports learning, iii) the correlation of space, psychological safety and creative learning and iv) how creativity and experiential learning enhances practice.
The workshop will invite participants to take part in a creative experiential learning activity. There will be reflective discussions about the activity and the links to elements of social pedagogical theory and practice. We will focus on the four key themes identified in our article and share our reflections and learning; we will offer tips and information on how to use social pedagogical practice, creativity and experiential learning in a learning environment.
You can access the SPPA Conference Booklet 2019 here
Rob Hunter is a former local authority Community Education adviser and trainer/consultant who has worked with the concept of social pedagogy in youth work, work with looked after children, and community music settings. Now retired, he is Chair of Leicester Ageing Together, a 16-organisation partnership addressing loneliness and social isolation among the 50+ age group in 5 wards of the city over 4 years funded by the Big Lottery. He has long been interested in the potential contribution of Social Pedagogy principles and practice to work with older people in a variety of settings.
09:00 - 16:30
Friends Meeting House
6 Mount Street
Early Bird SPPA member - £68.50
Standard SPPA member - £78.50
Early Bird non-member - £98.50
Standard non-member - £118.50
Early bird Group booking for 5 people - £314.00
Standard Group booking for 5 people - £434.00
SPPA member - students and concessions - £23.50
Non-member - students and concessions - £48.50
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