About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

This event took place on Tuesday 24 January. You can watch the recording below.

In this Nesta talks to… Dr Penny Hay was in conversation with Nesta’s Emma McFarland to explore the importance of art for early childhood development. 

Penny shared insights from her upcoming book Children are Artists, and discussed with Emma how pedagogical approaches could be used to develop and support children’s creativity. Penny highlighted that recognising children’s agency is the key way to nurture their creativity and imagination – this is central to their ability to self-identify as artists. Penny believes the education system in England is broken and requires a way of reimagining learning as a living system.

Teaching creatively would enable greater possibilities to nurture a child’s ability to learn. Taking an interdisciplinary approach towards teaching, the sciences and arts should, for instance, not be perceived as separate subjects. Supporting the development of this kind of thinking is essential for supporting learning and creating a culture of imagination for children.

Developing a new framework of thinking can also be achieved by arts organisations supporting vulnerable families to create spaces for home learning. Emma and Penny highlighted that his practice of co-creation is particularly important within the first three years of a child’s life.

As inequalities widen and the status of art diminishes in schools, access to art and creative opportunities for those in disadvantaged areas becomes increasingly difficult. Therefore, empowering children, artists and educators to establish experimental sites of innovation within education is crucial to enable creativity within schools and the home.

The opinions expressed in this event recording are those of the speaker. For more information, view our full statement on external contributors.