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Creativity in Higher Education: Creative Universities and their Creative City:Regions

James Powell

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As part of its membership activities, EUA has launched a new project – ‘Creativity in Higher Education’ – with support from the European Commission in the framework of the Socrates Programme - which aims to foster the development of creativity in European HEIs through good practices related to four network themes, involving all aspect of creativity in Higher Education and to contribute in developing and improving a culture of creativity. Within this context, Salford University is leading and coordinating a programme of work with a consortium of the seven European Universities mentioned above. In particular, a useful thematic network has been developed by the consortium of European HEI partners mentioned above, to ‘explore all forms of creativity led by, and with, universities who themselves seek to be creative in their relationships with their Creative Cities and Regions’. Early explorations of the consortium confirm the EUA’s belief that, by and large, knowledge production is city based and that ‘most knowledge-creative regions are anchored around a city and its environs’, and therefore that their project is truly worthy. Detailed local case studies have been undertaken, focusing on all aspects of how: i) the partner universities have successfully and creatively engaged, and thus empowered, their city/regional partners in higher academic enterprise, enabling them to become more creative, and ii) urban/regional policy initiatives adequately support, or otherwise, creative HEIs who wish to become more involved in outreach and higher education enterprise. In this way, the consortium is building up a most interesting picture of: how improved creativity is engendered in university reach-out and HEIs are beginning growing relationships with their creative city:regions enabling them to flourish; the enablers and barriers to such creativity; the key contextual and policy drivers for constructive change; the role of quality assurance procedures in driving creativity; and some important critical success factors. This paper will present the latest findings of the consortium whose work will be completed and fully written up by the time of the conference. It will also describe its latest thinking concerning two important theoretical explorations it has been deeply engaged in, namely:

1 the importance of Co-Creation with its city:regional partners and ‘Virtuous Knowledge Sharing’ as the basis for improved relations between Universities and their City:Regions, their local Business and Communities;
2 the need for a new model for those ‘Creative and Enterprising Outreach-focused Universities who fully embrace and engage their creative City:Regions’ – early discussions have suggested these could possibly be re-styled as either ‘Modern Renaissance Universities’ or ‘Modern Reform Universities’.

Author Bio(s)

Professor James Powell
On behalf of the EUA’s Socrates Thematic Network known as SECRET -
Central European University – Budapest; Warsaw University of Technology; University of Starangar; Istanbul Technical University; Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design; Luhansk Taras Schevcehnko National Pedagogical University. This consortium is undertaking an exploration of Creative Universities and their Creative City:Region’s Higher Academic Enterprise.
(Professor Powell is also PVC Enterprise and Regional Affairs, University of Salford.)