The ongoing development of the creative communities: past, present and future




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International Federation of Fashion and Textile Institutes



Peer reviewed



‘Contemporary art encompasses many different kinds of approaches embracing the conceptual and the digital. It involves many kinds of media and skills and is increasingly co-created, transdisciplinary and working with multiple stakeholders. Art is no longer a practice for the solitary artist working in a garret with paint and easel.’ (Orr and Shreeve, 2019: 4) This paper will consider how the pandemic and subsequent lockdown in the UK, demonstrated the importance of considering how supportive artistic and creative networks and communities are created. Lockdown brought into focus the many ways that artists rely on other people and outside stimuli to create. These communities were taken for granted pre- lockdown. In previous research papers, we have considered how, at De Montfort University School of Fashion and Textiles, a creative community was actively created online to support students and staff during lockdown. This paper will first set out and then analyse the steps taken that led to successful creative communities online and on the return to the studio. The activities included academics joining in with the students in creative processes. It will then consider the findings from a workshop attended by multi disciplines from across the university faculties including Health and Life Sciences, Computer, Engineering, Media, Humanities and creative practical subjects. The workshop asked academics to consider key questions to consider how they remained grounded in their practice. The paper will consider how these practical solutions and research and theories on how learning communities are created online, including the principles of scaffolding for learning (Salmon, 2022), constructivism pedagogy (Hamer and Van Rossum, 2010) and a long-time approach (Krznaric, 2020) can be actively applied to build on lessons learnt on the importance of creative community approach to learning post pandemic. Finally, as the creative curriculum needs to respond to the necessity for designers to be digitally literate, this paper will conclude by looking forward to consider how to combine the online and studio communities within a digital world and as students and tutors design on screen. The importance of creative communities is key not only to art and design but to all disciplines and is foremost for De Montfort University as it undergoes a pedagogic transformation to block teaching across all faculties.


Pedagogic research


creative communities, design pedagogy, constructivism, long time approach


Penfold, B., Hardaker, C.H.M, and Gaukrodger-Cowan, S. (2023) The ongoing development of the creative communities: past, present and future. Proceeding of the 25th annual IFFTI 2023 Conference, Otago Polytechnic University, Dunedin


Research Institute

Institute of Art and Design