What are your earliest memories of being creative?
The earliest memory is my wonderment of malleable clay at the age of 4 years and designing in Lego from 3 years upwards! With Lego it was about finding delight in the height one could build to and surprise openings you could create to peek through as it grew up and upwards. This excitement has stayed with me and moved into other materials such as steel, bronze, concrete and clay.
Were you encouraged to be creative at school?
There was not a prevention from being creative, in how we would define ‘creative’ as adults. The school examination curriculum tends to be linear, which ultimately restricts lateral thinking; even the fact that STEM not STEAM is repeated on many official platforms. This supports the viewpoint of how important society should value sciences over the Arts, and a lack of awareness how the Arts and Science balance, support, and enhance each other’s advancement.
If a teacher approaches creative activity with a sense of enjoyment, they cannot help but pass it on to, the pupil, the class this is one key to unlocking the creative impetus within others. I tend to look at the potential to be creative in all subjects at school, not just in Art and Design, or in a specific department, also in the Sciences, Maths, English Literature. To be creative, experiment, consider possibilities within a learning approach, should be encouraged indeed embedded into all areas of the curriculum.
Were you able to do that at school?
For me I never really sought to be encouraged or supported. I tended to respond with an initiative and an inquisitive nature to my own environment, whether that was items on a table, a Cornflakes Box, or clay or observing people around me. There seemed to be an innate curiosity. My Mum did introduce me to my first painting at an easel at the ripe age of 3 years!
Did you go on to further education after school?
After my A ‘Levels I completed an undergrad at Edinburgh College of Art and three post graduate degrees in Edinburgh, then Glasgow and latterly at QU Belfast. Each qualification opened up more avenues of thought and access to more understanding of how Art in general has the ability to, speak into and be part of, people’s everyday positive language.
You can find out more about Sara Cunningham-Bell’s work at the link below
Part two of this interview is here