David Gauntlett, Professor of Creativity and Design and Director of Research at the Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design at the University of Westminster, will give a keynote public lecture on ‘Being Creative’ during Creativity Week at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand between 21–25 November.

Professor Gauntlett, who will be Victoria’s inaugural Ambassador of Creativity, is a leading authority on creativity and play. He has enjoyed an unusually long collaborative relationship with the LEGO Group and LEGO Foundation spanning over 12 years, which has led to original research reports, videos, innovative workshop processes, events, and product ideas.

The collaboration has involved extensive engagement with other organisations such as MIT Media Lab, and Ashoka’s global network of social entrepreneurs, including Imagination Foundation, Design for Change, and Skateistan.

As Director of Research at the Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design (WSMAD), he takes a hands-on approach to research development and collaboration. Recent interdisciplinary projects with other WSMAD researchers include presenting ‘Make Your Future’ at the School of Life, which meshed his innovative workshop processes with the craft processes of international ceramic artist Clare Twomey; and experiments in creative processes for music-making with producer Matt Gooderson.

During the event at Victoria he will join the first Poet Laureate of the United States’ Navajo Nation and a Canadian authority on ‘strategic design thinking’ and interact with staff and students, including running a LEGO workshop for postgraduates.

When speaking about Creativity Week, Professor Gauntlett said: “It’s a great honour to be the first-ever Ambassador of Creativity at Victoria. It will be a huge pleasure to meet and exchange ideas with staff and students. Both the University and Wellington enjoy a formidable international reputation as centres of creative excellence, so I am sure my visit will be stimulating, inspiring and fun.”

In other funded research projects, he has also worked with Tate, the British Library, the BBC, and other organisations, to rethink public and digital engagement, and with libraries in the US and the Netherlands to transform these institutions into platforms for creativity.

He has written several books about creativity, digital media and craft, including Making is Connecting, in which he argues that by making things with their hands people engage with the world and create connections with each other.

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