Reflections on community engagement for transforming praxis: lessons from the learning and teaching creatively project
The Learning and Teaching Creatively project involved collaboration between the Bundanon Trust, the University of Wollongong’s Faculty of Education and Shoalhaven Campus and the Australasian Occupational Science Centre. The aim of the project was provide opportunity for Graduate Diploma of Education (Primary) students at the Shoalhaven Campus to experience the creative process, thereby enabling them to develop ways of facilitating creativity in primary school students. Additionally, the project was designed to initiate a long term partnership between the Shoalhaven Campus and Bundanon, a highly valued internationally renowned ‘living arts centre’ located in the Shoalhaven. The Knowledge Building Community and occupational science, both of which use community engagement to link theory and practice, provided frameworks for the project. The project was funded by a University of Wollongong Community Engagement Grant and in kind contributions from the partners. The project demonstrated the efficacy of living as a learner, which is a key component of the Knowledge Building Community. It also reinforced principles that underpin occupational science, such as the critical relationship between what people do and the context in which they do it, and how doing can be transformative. The project outcomes, as revealed by students’ diaries and reflections from the project team members include benefits at the personal and community level. Additionally, the project has fostered a climate for educational and creative aspirations which are considered vital for regional development in the shift towards innovation and knowledge-based economies.