How does it work? Learning is a process; the Creative Empowerment Model provides a unique structure to that process. It borrows powerful principles and practices from:
motivational and behavioral science
coaching and mentoring
facilitation and group dynamics
social and emotional learning
Most importantly – and at the heart of its success – the Model also draws on the arts, including music, rhythm, visual arts, theatre, creative writing, story telling and movement as essential parts of the learning process. It’s based on the belief that humans are innately creative. When that creativity is encouraged in young people, it helps them develop the social and emotional skills often neglected in traditional education and youth programs. When that creativity supported in adults, they invariably surprise themselves and each other with what is possible, all over again.
“Creative expression is most often accompanied by a feeling of shimmering joy.”
- Rollo May.
This Model instills a powerful set of values – the very values from which it also evolved:
We are all creative
We all have the power to create change
Our inner world is as important as our outer world
Diversity is a resource
Young people are a source of creativity and vitality
We thrive in communities where we feel safe, supported and seen
We learn from nature
The challenges we face in life require collaboration and a sharing of wisdom across the generations
The Model helps create a learning environment that supports genuine and authentic connections – in other words, great communities. Young people can flourish when they feel understood and supported by the community around them. Without the fear of being put down, their ideas and imaginations take flight. This, in turn, creates an atmosphere of respect, co-operation and engagement. So we help teachers, trainers and facilitators establish a trusting, judgement-free environment where everyone feels safe enough to be themselves.
Putting it into practice
The Creative Empowerment Model can be used with groups of all ages and sizes from 45 minute meetings to multi-day residential camps.
My teachers at PYE Global have found that the deepest transformations happen in a seven-day camps and are the best way to bring the Creative Community Model into play. I can help you set them up. However, any workshop or programme can include the same transformative elements:
Powerful group bonding established from the start.
Buy-in created through community agreements with the young people involved.
A highly experiential learning process.
Exercises that cater to a wide range of learning styles.
Reflection time to deepen understanding.
Activities designed to seal the learning.
The Creative Empowerment Model is also user-friendly. In a one-day training session, you can learn the basic principles, plus a range of activities that will immediately increase the impact of your work. The Model is easily adapted to a wide range of cultures and a broad range of issues – and most importantly, it has the power to engage even the most reluctant of participants!
windows to self-expression
The expressive art forms include: group rhythm making, drawing (drawing with oil pastels), music (toning, singing together, making sound together), drama (elements of improv), writing (elements of story, poetry), sometimes guided meditation/visualization/metaphor). Elements from these art forms are woven incrementally into the program to meet participants where they are at at on any given day all the while reaching together toward our shared and individual goals. No art making experience necessary.
What excites me about this brand of facilitation and creative community is that now more than ever, knowing how to work with one's creativity is a life skill and this model offers ample opportunity to grow these skills. In this fast changing world and knowledge economy to thrive at home, at work, at school and in our communities is knowing how to adapt.
When the tides turn as often and as unpredictably as they do, physically, emotionally, politically: improvising is no longer a luxury, it's a necessity. The good news: improvising is very similar to play. This approach invites incremental shifts in the participants' relationships to people, places and circumstances as well as their own inner lives in ways that deconstruct what holds us back and unleashes our true inheritance, our creative power. In early development, playing is how children learn and grow. Welcoming whatever comes up on the way, what better pathway to reconnect to that potential then to revisit arts-based creative play and generate authentic and meaningful possibility all over again.
Unlike traditional art, in expressive arts the process of creation is emphasized rather than the final product. Expressive arts as a practice is predicated on the assumption that people can learn through the use of imagination and the various forms of creative expression such as visualization, visual arts, music, drama, movement.Expressive arts programs take many different forms, but they are all places where individuals and groups can explore their creativity, learn from diversity, express themselves and connect with others in a positive, supportive community.
Expressive Arts aim to support individual youths and adults in: • Discovering and expanding their creativity • Connecting with their sense of purpose • Developing their leadership skills • Learning ways to become active in their communities • Speaking out about issues that matter to them and becoming community changemakers
The container, safe, the invitation, open. The result: actionable information for individuals, organizations, communities. There really is no wrong way to engage here and no art making experience is needed. At the beginning of the process, goals and community agreements are clarified. Any unspoken biases or oppressive constructs are raised and addressed to free up the participants to be themselves in this process. The workshops are designed according to theme, group size, time allotment and adjusted as we go. I look forward to sharing this hand and heart crafted experience with you.
"People learn through the use of imagination.”
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