PROF. VYTAUTAS LANDSBERGIS IN A DISCUSSION ON EDUCATION AND CULTURE: “SCHOOLS NEED CREATIVE PERSONALITIES”
On Friday, 26 November, the 6th annual National Culture Forum (Forum) took place, organized by the National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries (NKIKIA). The Forum was held at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania, and was broadcast live on the National news portal LRT.lt and NKIKIA’s Facebook account. The theme the Forum 2021 was “Culture and Education”, which brought together education and culture experts to discuss the synergy between the two, drawing on Lithuanian and international experience to highlight the importance of creativity in education and agree on forms of cooperation between the creative industry sector and policymakers.
The Forum consisted of two parts: the first part was devoted to an overview of the future perspectives of culture and education in the international and Lithuanian context, while the second part was devoted to a discussion on the policy coherence between education and culture, the importance of creativity in the context of formal and non-formal education, the integration of creators and a creative approach in the educational processes, the formation of critical thinking, the application of creative practices and the use of creative tools in educational institutions, access to quality creative work in Lithuanian language, the preparation of educators and the development of creativity.
“Our goal is to highlight the added value of culture, shed light on the synergy of education and culture. We are here today with education and culture representatives and policymakers to find practical solutions to ensure this synergy. School is a very important place in our lives and we want to make the time we spend at school memorable, useful and creative. Skills need to be developed from an early age, what requires creative teachers, processes, and tools. We invite you to look at the education process in a creative and integrated way, and today, for a true change to happen, it is important that the agreements are continued in working formats, involving politicians as well as education and culture representatives,” said Živilė Diavara, Chair of the NKIKIA Board, in the Forum’s welcoming speech.
Culture and education for the future: international and Lithuanian experiences
In the first part of the Forum, after the moderator of the Forum, the head of the Knowledge Economy Forum, Arminas Varanauskas, introduced the event, the Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys and the Minister of Education, Science and Sport Jurgita Šiugždinienė gave welcoming speeches, highlighting the potential of the creative and cultural industries and the huge power of the cultural education. They emphasized the importance of true change, and according to the Minister of Culture, culture and creativity should not be an occasional companion but a daily guide.
The Forum was opened by the main guest from the USA – education expert Charles Fadel, Founder and Chairman of the Center for Curriculum Redesign, Project Director at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Chair of the Education committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, who spoke about the most common challenges that countries face, the examples we can follow, and the ways to achieve positive change in education. According to Charles Fadel, it is most important to be multifaceted and to live with an awareness of the need for inevitable constant change, which is particularly important in education.
Jonas Liugaila, design strategist, member of the Board of the Lithuanian Design Association, lecturer at the Vilnius Academy of Arts, together with Ieva Ščervianinaitė, mentor of the Creativity Accelerator VIVITA, member of the Board of the Lithuanian Design Association, spoke about the Design Thinking method, the encouragement of creativity and critical thinking, as well as about the application of these abilities and knowledge in the education system. They said that by doing things and understanding why they are doing them, by asking different questions, children would see the wider context and find meaning in their activities.
Salvinija Cibulskienė, the facilitator of “Creative Connections”, B2B marketing and communications manager at “Addendum group”, mentor of the National Art Gallery’s educational project for young people “Some Strange Art”, talked about boredom in schools and what causes it.
“What happens when we lose the will to engage, to participate, to dig deeper, what happens when we become apathetic? Who did it? The answer is boredom. The lack of variety, the monotony causes boredom, which has a negative effect on our mental health. Any discourse that becomes an automatic repetition turns into banality and routine. Overcoming boredom and facades in school means giving meaning, movement, which I still painfully miss,” said Ms. Cibulskienė.
Professor Vytautas Landsbergis was interviewed by the Forum moderator, Arminas Varanauskas, who has extensive experience in the field of education. Professor shared his insights on the concept of creativity in the context of the education system, talked about the kind of school model he would like to see, and highlighted the need for critical and out-of-the-box thinking for the formation of creative personalities.
“To be creative means first and foremost to be alive, interact with the world, not just exist. I can assure you that being creative is worth it – it makes life much more interesting. A creative person is interested in living, seeing, thinking, doing something. It is also important to admire what you come up with. Children are alive human beings, and later all sorts of disasters happen, including boredom, indifference and passivity. As for the role of a teacher, the most important thing is not to “kill the children”, not to stifle their curiosity and radiance. A teacher must inspire, encourage, draw attention, then it is a vocation. Being a teacher is a joy,” said Prof. Landsbergis.
Culture and education: how to turn policy into sustainable practice?
In the discussion on how to turn culture and education policy into a sustainable practice, the Forum’s moderator spoke together with the Vice-Minister of Culture Albinas Vilčinskas, the Adviser to the Minister of Education, Science and Sport Agne Andriuškeviciene, the Head of the Association “Creative Connections” Milda Laužikaite, the Executive Director of the Lithuanian Publishers Association Rūta Elijošaityte-Kaikarė, and the Professor of the Institute of Philosophy, Vilnius University, Kristupas Sabolius.
The main highlights of the discussion were the insights into how creative professionals can help to bring creativity into school, which will help to avoid “killing” the spirit of children.
M. Laužikaitė spoke about the importance of developing creativity from a very young age and openness and confidence of a school, not afraid of the external eye. She said that only such school can implement change and achieve renewal.
“Culture is a system of values, but we don’t value human beings in this system. Teachers feel unappreciated when they take the initiative, and then the mistrust is passed on to the child, who also feels unappreciated. We already have an understanding of why we need to change, and we have the financial resources, but the biggest question is how to change the culture of cooperation,” said Ms. Laužikaitė.
Participants of the National Culture Forum were unanimous in stating that we need to learn reaction to changes, as well as manage them.
The results of the Forum’s discussion, analytical insights and the further process will be available on the NKIKIA‘s website.
Photos by Vygaudas Juozaitis (LNB)