Are we all creative?

Last Wednesday (4th Sept) we held our first SEE Session featuring Jane Bentley and a host of special guests, which was a roaring success!

Jane expertly led us in discussion, activities and interactions which were designed to get us thinking about the social power of music. Under her effective facilitation, Jane had a group of 70 diverse individuals from across education, social services and health (the majority of whom had never met before) making music and song in under an hour!

It’s not that I didn’t think it was possible. In fact, it was precisely what I’d hoped for! But the speed and ease at which a room full of professionals opened up, made a contribution and (I’d argue) created something beautiful is amazing to me. But perhaps that is the power of music? Making you realise things you didn’t know about yourself, and achieve things that you didn’t think would be wholly possible?

As part of the day we asked people what ‘creativity’ meant to them. Here are a few of their responses:

“it lets people have fun, be a part of a group or express themselves as an individual. It can be a gateway to the soul”

“creativity means the release of self”

“creativity means doing something new and makes you feel a range of emotions”

I like these comments, but a colleague of mine also pointed out the following definition to me:

Creativity is: “a dynamic process that often involves making new connections, crossing disciplines and using metaphors and analogies. The real driver of creativity is an appetite for discovery and a passion for the work itself”

These are all useful to me because I don’t draw (although, I’m reliably told that EVERYONE can draw), I don’t dance (I can just about muster a shuffle) and although I do love singing, I believe myself to be mostly out of tune. But underneath it all, I do think I am creative. I have ideas all the time, I like to try new things and connect things together in different ways. I imagine that this is similar to lots of people out there.

I suppose what this highlights is an underpinning belief that we are all creative in some way. Creativity doesn’t always have to take the form of structured activities, it can be a softer intrinsic part of professional practice, or how you generally are at work.

IRISS is not alone in thinking this… Amongst, others, see:

We know that tapping into our own (and others’) creativity can change lives. Recent research has shown that there are physical, psychological and social benefits of using creative pursuits (such as the arts) to better support people who use services (See: Similarly, we know that creativity can act as a leveler, a universal language that enables connections between things, experiences and people.

So, how can we harness this capacity to create – not only for problem solving and ideas, but for the underpinning well-being that creativity unlocks?

Some other comments from the day include:

“Jane listened and used peoples comments to enable her to share from a wealth of knowledge in a simple and easy to understand way. Great communication and tutor”

“this workshop has been one of the most inspirational I have been on. So exciting and offers so much potential!”

“good opportunity to find out about other projects within discussion, provides evidence to take back to management with the hope they’ll invest more faith in the power of music”

If you’d like to contact Jane, please do so on