DPR7: Cultures in Resistance

The 7th Conference of the Discourse, Power, Resistance Series

18– 20 March 2008
Manchester Metropolitan University , UK


Robin  Simmons and Ron Thompson
School of Education & Professional Development, University of Huddersfield, UK

Creativity in further education: resistance or compliance?

This paper examines the circumstances affecting creative teaching and learning within the specific context of English further education (FE) – a sector which has proved to be particularly fertile ground for performativity. Beginning with an analysis of notions of creativity in education and a description of the peculiar history and policy context of FE, the paper problematises the relationship between representations of creativity and the current situation of teachers and learners. Drawing on a range of empirical studies and policy analyses, it is argued that FE is increasingly positioned at the lower end of a largely class-based division of post-compulsory education in England. In such a division, we argue, meaningful creativity is difficult to achieve. Within the performative context of FE, attempts to interpret official discourse on creativity may only serve to reproduce and exacerbate existing inequalities in education.