Sir Ken Robinson Champion of Creativity

It is with heavy hearts that we announce Sir Ken Robinson died peacefully yesterday, 21st August 2020, surrounded by family after a short battle with cancer.

We will be following up with a further update as we begin to follow Sir Ken’s wishes and honour his legacy.

— Sir Ken Robinson (@SirKenRobinson) August 22, 2020

Sir Ken Robinson was an author and speaker, but probably above all else a great champion of creativity in education.  He spent his early career in a number of arts related educational post such as Arts in Schools and Artswork UK before becoming Professor of Arts Education at Warwick University.  However, it was a TED talk in 2006, “Do Schools Kill Creativity” that bought him to the attention of those outside of the arts and educational spheres. It remains the most watched TED talk of all time. 

In 1997 the current Blair Government invited Sir Ken to chair a national commission into creativity, education and the economy bringing together academics & teachers, artists such as Lenny Henry, Simon Rattle and designer Helen Storey and business leaders. The commission’s report was “All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (The Robinson Report)”. The report produced 59 detailed recommendations which are best summed up as: to ensure creativity was explicitly recognised and provided for and ensure teachers are encouraged & trained in methods and materials to develop creative ability. Highly acclaimed by those in both education and the creative worlds and others, the Government’s response was to largely ignore it.

It was at this point that I discovered Sir Ken’s work and ideas.  As someone for whom creativity had been central and valued to both my later education and my parent’s values, and after surviving a primary education where it was not: his ideas spoke to me.  I would go to champion All Our Futures, notably at Equity’s 2001 ARC.  A little while later at the launch of a summary version of the report I was in attendance to hear Sir Ken speak, an unforgettable experience. 

His death comes at a time of numerous challenges in education and its future.  We must ensure that Sir Ken’s work continues and ensure that future generations can have the creative education he envisaged. 

RIP Sir Ken Robinson. 

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