SPPA Annual Conference
Venue: Quaker Meeting House, Manchester
Date: Friday 4 October 2019

Creativity and social pedagogy: Towards transformative practice

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 will be a special discounted rate for students and non-wage earners.

Call for workshops

We are looking for interactive, experiential or academically focused workshops, from a social pedagogical perspective, from academics, policy makers, practitioners and students from across a range of disciplines. Workshops will last for 1 hour 15 minutes and should aim to both inform and involve participants. The focus of workshops should fit broadly within the title of the conference.

Abstract guidelines

Workshop proposals should provide a title and be a maximum of 250 words. Please include the proposer’s name(s) and contact details along with their job titles.

Please submit abstracts via email to: sppa@ucl.ac.uk

Closing date extended: 1st June 2019

Decisions will be made by 31st May 2019


Ander, E., Thomson, L., Chatterjee, H.J. (2013). Culture’s place in well-being: measuring museum well-being interventions. In Coles, R., Millman, Z. (Eds.), Landscape, Well-being and Environment. Oxon, UK: Routledge.

Chambers, H. and Petrie, P. (2009) A Learning Framework for Artist Pedagogues, London: CCE and NCB.