I was very excited to escape on a trip down to London and take part in a bookbinding course at the British Library.
I’m ashamed to say that I had never been to the British Library before this, it being so close to Euston Station, my first port of call when in London. We were in the Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre where workshops are held, and our two days were led by Shelagh McCarthy, a regular at leading workshops at both the British Library and other London Institutions including the British Museum, Battersea Arts Centre and The Guardian Education Centre.
The object of the course was to give us a taster of the skills needed to make books. We learned about how books are made, their different structures, the terminology, grain of paper and its importance, all through constructing a range of different types of books.
We started with a simple pamphlet, moved on to concertina books, Japanese Stab bindings, a simple coptic style book, and on the Sunday a full casement bound book. And within all this we were also privileged to visit parts of the conservation centre and talk to one of the many conservation experts working there. So, a very busy weekend!
It was such an inspiring trip. I managed to get round to the open-to-the-public exhibition and found at this time they had one of Shakespeare’s first folios on display in amongst so many other priceless works.
Well, do bonuses really make us work harder? Surely all these highly paid bankers must be really focused, work relentlessly and solve problems quicker and faster then other mere mortals. Well, you will certainly argue that they didn’t think out of the box when it came to banking systems and the recent collapse of the banking world. In fact Dan Pink’s argument would confirm that systems now in place will reinforce complacent, limited cognitive thinking, and will actually encourage a diminutive, inwardly spiralling system which will inevitably, fail us again.
Have decided to take the plunge back into murky academic waters again, It’s a bit scary, I have to say. Although the reason I chose this course was because it seemed totally self-indulgent and not in the least wordy. Creative Teacher – what an excellent way to reflect the creative curriculum, (how many boxes does that tick? –oh, and the brownie points…) and be completely selfish at the same time, thought I.
The paper, Postgraduate Professional Development: Creative Teacher, was shown to me in the staff room – my friend often does this to me – very casually – you could do that – and, yes, it did look interesting. But, as I’m sure so many other teachers will agree, It’s just another bloody piece of paper to file away or make a momentary decision about, in the course of a decision riddled day. Most of the time I leave these pieces of paper to fester in some pile until their sell buy date has well and truly expired, allowing me the privilege of no decision. But this piece of paper just kept bobbing up to the surface and winking at me.
I love listening to inspirational speakers. They imbue such a feeling of warmth and endless possibilities that I just want to run with or shout out there ideas. I remember listening to an inspirational speaker, Sir John Jones. His plea was very similar to Sir Ken Robinson’s (see below) – a review of our perceptions about education, creativity and how we learn.
One anecdote made me swallow back tears. He talked about how we can be trained into conditions, like flees. Flees can jump extraordinarily high considering their mass. But if you trap one in a cup and put a lid on it, it will eventually learn to jump to the height of the cup. And if you take away the lid it will still only jump as high as the cup – so never jumping out.
Admittedly, that’s not the part that made me tearful.