Creativity is a common thread across British Council’s work. In our work in the arts and education, we are constantly seeking to encourage innovation and progress. 

Creativity has been shown to play a key role in childhood development, entrepreneurial activities and long-term economic growth. In the 21st century, creativity is only becoming more important; chief human resources and strategy officers from leading global employers feel that it will be the third most important skill for employability in 2020, according to a World Economic Forum report from 2016. Nevertheless, we still have a limited understanding of how individuals become creative, or how this might change in the digital age. 

One of the ways in which creativity can be developed is through creative play. Whether it is playing with toy bricks, drawing, inventing or dancing, using imagination to create something new provides a crucial opportunity to develop essential, transferable skills. How can we ensure that we continue to foster opportunities for creative play, and why is this important? 

Over the next nine months, in partnership with SOHO Impact, we will explore creativity and creative play by bringing together a community of researchers, thought leaders and innovators from a range of sectors, to understand how they use creativity in their lives and their work. Explore the articles below to find out more.

Natalia Kolnik with students at the Montana Science Center

Understanding the digital age through analogue experiences

Natalia Kolnik, Director of Education at the Montana Science Center, reflects on the innovative STEAMlab, which offers high-tech experiences for learners of all ages - but still finds a huge role for hands-on play and modelling. Nestled high in the northwest of the United States, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains’ snowy Bridger Range, sits the town of Bozeman. At nearly 50,000 residents, Bozeman is considered one of the state of Montana’s larger ‘cities’.  

Inua Ellams

In Conversation with: Inua Ellams

The British Council spoke to Inua Ellams, the award-winning poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist and designer, about learning to be creative and why that is important.  What does creativity mean to you?  In the simplest sense, creativity is flexibility. It means having no fixed way of beginning conversations or approaching problems. It is always being open, fluid, looking at the tools available around you, and finding the most effective and economical ways to solve problems. That is at its purest what creativity means to me. 

Materials of a stop-motion animation workshop.

A way to teach digital media literacy through creative play

Understanding the power of digital media and how it can be manipulated is a crucial skill. Hands on Media Education is a Canadian organisation using stop-motion animation to introduce these concepts to people of all ages. Here, Director Jessie Curell tells us what a typical workshop entails.  Teaching citizens of all ages how to engage with digital tools by becoming active creators of media, rather than passive consumers, is what I do.