“No vulnerability, no creativity”

I love this about the conditions we need to be able to learn.

Brene Brown, Daring Classrooms

“No vulnerability, no creativity.”

“85% of the people I’ve interviewed over the last 15 years remember a shaming experience at school that changed forever how they think of themselves as learners.” Brene Brown

Over the years, I have taught creative practice to over 2000 people. From children as young as 5, to adults, community groups, in government, and school teachers. The thing that everyone has in common, sadly from the age of about 7 or 8, is that they remember the very moment when someone told them their artwork wasn’t good enough, or didn’t look ‘like it’s supposed to’, or just, wasn’t right.

What could ‘right’ possibly look like when we are expressing ourselves and using our imaginations? I reckon it looks like being brave enough to ignore that shaming rubbish, say no to our anxieties, and turn up even though we are not sure if what we have or how we do it is good enough. This is the sentence I’ve come up with that connects all the work I do, and acknowledges that it’s both easy and hard:


My goal is to encourage and affirm peoples’ own visions, interpretations, and experiences, through trying things out together in a safe environment. There’s a lot dismantling to do from those early messages about creativity, but it can be done, and it’s really liberating when we do that work.


My teaching style is encouraging, non-shaming, and vulnerable. I know learning is vulnerable, and making things, trying it out, being creative is vulnerable. It’s like that for me every day, but the results of turning up to the page, especially in a supportive group, ripple out into everyday life, and work, and all sorts of places. Lots of people take a while to pluck up the courage to come to class, but you’ll find it’s a very accepting place that’s very unlike school when you get there.


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