Embodied creativity: Creative play as a catalyst for adult learning, spirituality and a ludic (playful) mindset
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Citation:Wilderspin, H. (2022). Embodied creativity: Creative play as a catalyst for adult learning, spirituality and a ludic (playful) mindset. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctorate of Professional Practice). Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand. https://doi.org/10.34074/thes.5880
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5880
In my research, I explored and investigated the potential of creative play to enrich adult learning, creativity, spirituality, liturgical worship, and ministry formation, in an Anglican theological college setting (2020–2021). In my experience as an Anglican priest in a parish, and a student in a theological college, I have discovered that the church and theological institutions do not always offer a creative way for adults to learn about or engage with the sacred. Although there is growing evidence that creativity and play can have positive benefits for adult learning, there is less research regarding the effect of creative play on adult spirituality and theological education. I used a crystallisation qualitative framework (as described by Ellingson, 2009, 2014) and phenomenological methodology to provide a trans-disciplinary perspective and hold in tension a bricolage of relationships, data-collection methods, and artefacts to engage and ‘play’ with my research. Through my experience-based learning, autoethnographic critical reflection, cycles of action research, poetic inquiry, and a rich and complex range of qualitative data sources I investigated the impact of creative play initiatives at the theological college. During three parts of the project, I used creative play strategies to stimulate the imagination and evoke a ludic (playful) mindset. In Part 1, I developed eight creative liturgical services for the college students to enrich their sense of the holy/ divine/sacred. In Part 2, I facilitated a series of three workshops (online and face-to-face) to understand the impact of creative play on the students’ own learning, imagination, sense of fun, and creativity. In Part 3, I worked with a group at the theological college over 6 months to explore the role of creative play in terms of group dynamics and liturgical worship as we planned and led a number of worship services. My facilitation of the group led to the discovery of six conditions that were helpful in my practice and context for encouraging a team culture of creativity and an enhanced sense of the holy/divine/sacred to develop. These conditions are: 1. a ludic mindset, 2. a facilitator/guide/role model, 3. the creation of a team culture of creativity, 4. shared learning experiences designed to stimulate imagination, 5. a variety of locations for creative play activities, 6. a reflection/action process. Through the development of these conditions, I encouraged three main ludic qualities (curiosity, embodied creative expression, and relationality), in myself as a priest and in participants. My research revealed the importance of not only a ludic mindset but also an embodied creativity that has a collaborative aspect. Therefore, based on the work of Kaufman and Beghetto (2009) and their 4-C model of creativity (Big-C, Pro-C, mini-c, little-c), I suggest a fifth dimension, collaborative-c, be added, to bring a more embodied, collective, and culturally inclusive dimension to this model. The research provides an evidence-based study of how creative play methods can be woven into theological formation and training, support participants’ confidence and creativity in their ministry and help adults encounter the sacred in their everyday lives through creativity and playfulness.
Keywords:St. John's Theological College (Auckland, N.Z.), Auckland (N.Z.), New Zealand, theological education, adult learning, experiential learning, creative practice, play, spirituality
ANZSRC Field of Research:500501 Theology, 369999 Other creative arts and writing not elsewhere classified, 390303 Higher education, 390112 Religion curriculum and pedagogy
Degree:Doctorate of Professional Practice (Professional Practice), Otago Polytechnic
Supervisors:Malcolm, Margy-Jean; Hegarty, Bronwyn
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