15 Jul 2015
On the final afternoon of Term 2 each year the Senior School gathers in Royce Theatre for the Performing Arts House Festival (PAHF). There is both an air of excitement and exhaustion as we come to the end of a busy term and as we anticipate the afternoon ahead; a performance from each House. There is a tribal atmosphere as girls sit in their House groups ready to perform. More importantly, there is a sense of connection and collaboration. Regardless of your House allegiance, the focus of the afternoon is acknowledging the participation and creativity of everyone involved. You can feel the wonder, but also the obvious support of others. Each year we are amazed by the next generation of young actors showing their talents and the return of much loved performers as girls act, dance and sing, demonstrating a wide range of talent. And there are always those anticipated staff cameos where the inevitable pigeon line will be delivered and members of staff will add to the entertainment and joy of the day.
This year, with the theme of journeys, each House took us on a magical and thoughtful trip, with adventures to be had and lessons to be learned. The Year 11 students once again excelled at leading the School in this creative tradition. We congratulate them on their leadership and creative endeavour.
Dr Ken Robinson defines creativity ‘as the process of having ideas that have value’ and acknowledges that ‘creativity is the greatest gift of human intelligence’. Cultivating creativity is one of the most interesting challenges in today’s society. Increasingly, we are told that creativity is a fundamental skill we need to master in order to be successful today and into the future.
Robinson believes that, like many human capacities, our creative powers can be cultivated and refined. Creativity involves two other important concepts: imagination and innovation. Robinson identifies imagination as the root of creativity, and innovation as putting new ideas into practice. Most importantly, creativity is possible in all areas of human life. While we readily identify its role in The Arts, we must also realise that creativity is crucial for Science, Mathematics, Technology, Business and the approach we take in our own work. Teachers and other professionals are constantly working creatively to perfect their craft and expand their mastery and reach.
We know that in any field of expertise creative work involves a growing mastery of skills and concepts. Focusing on skills in isolation can kill interest in any discipline and in any activity. We need to see that learning is purposeful and necessary. We need the opportunity to put learning into context and to refine, test and focus our understanding.
Events such as PAHF provide our students with a safe and supportive platform in which to experiment with their creativity and to experience a different learning environment. Such events acknowledge that creativity is not a linear process in which you learn all the necessary skills before you start. Girls learn skills on a needs basis, reflecting the ‘just in time’ learning approach. They may also move rapidly from learner to mentor to teacher, on a needs basis. They learn to anticipate their own needs and the needs of others, to read a situation, to reflect, and, at times, to determine whether the work in progress is worthwhile or is taking the right shape.
Thank you to all the students and staff involved in PAHF 2015. Once again, it was a celebration of creativity, connection and collaboration.
Ms Linda Douglas
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