Creativity entails exploration and movement into unknown and unmapped territories.

It may take us to worlds imagined in writing, drama, sound or visual art.

We can also visit worlds of virtual and augmented reality. At UEA, creativity as exploration involves bringing disciplinary worlds together to explore their relationships and complementarity. Our new Medical and Health Humanities courses and research, for example, create new connections across subjects.  

Creativity as exploration is also an object of research for UEA, as we seek to better understand creativity as a phenomenon and concept. What are the conditions for creativity? How is it realised by individuals or in interaction? How is it understood in different sectors and communities, and how is it valued? Is it possible to teach or train people to be creative, and if so, how? What do creative cultures and institutions look like? 

CreativeUEA sets out to advance understandings of creativity, and to articulate the contribution universities and higher education can make to creativity for wellbeing, learning, research, culture and society.

mature student in science laboratory

Exploring the visual arts - Creative Collections 

Our campus hosts wonderful art collections at the Sainsbury Centre, an inspiring space for exploring cultures that is open to all. Creative scholarship engages with the community, as it explores new routes to knowledge, engaging with diverse audiences in ways that are mutually enriching.

Dr Kate Dunton, Head of Learning at the Sainsbury Centre, uses the Centre’s exhibitions, collections, building and sculpture park to develop a range of co-creative projects with schools, third-sector partners, community groups, artists, writers, students and researchers.

Her current focus is on the role of galleries in developing emancipatory pedagogies and co-developing capabilities with a range of community partners. Seeking to democratise creative spaces during the pandemic, Dr Dunton has created a range of new gallery resources with partners including SEND schools, care homes, homeless and mental health charities, foodbanks, community centres, and academic colleagues at UEA.

Masterpiece exhibition in gallery at Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

Exploring being human in the 21st century

Our creative research addresses humanity, and the many different contexts in which lives are lived, across and between disciplines.

As UEA’s inaugural International Chair of Creative Writing, Tsitsi Dangarembga champions creative voices expressing experiences across the world, complementing her directorship of the Institute of Creative Arts for Progress in Africa. The position, created through philanthropy, will be offered to four more prominent writers over the next five years from Asia, Australasia, the Americas and the Middle East, each with a year-long remit to find, nurture and promote new voices from that region. 

Other projects, such as Professor Tessa McWatt’s CityLife: Stories Against Loneliness, pairs writers with elders from marginalised and socio-economically underprivileged groups to produce literary non-fiction about life in London. Professor Jean McNeil’s new work, Day for Night, commemorates Walter Benjamin’s contribution to writing on art, literature and politics in an era when issues of statelessness, exile and migration have acquired a renewed charge.

UEA International Chair of Creative Writing

The future of heritage

How will research and the technologies of the future help us better understand the past? UEA is working with colleagues across the digital and cultural sectors, including Norfolk Museums Service, to shift expectations of what museums can be.

Digital creatives and skilled museum professionals are finding new ways to celebrate and present museum collections, enhancing the valuable experiences of visiting a historic building or encountering a work of art for the first time.

UEA partners with Norfolk Museums Service for their most ambitious project to date, Norwich Castle: Gateway to Medieval England. Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, this £13.5m project will restore Norwich Castle’s Keep to its 12th century splendour as a Norman Royal Palace. It will also establish a new British Museum Partnership Gallery of the Medieval Period, and create a permanent presence for the British Museum in the East of England.

A stunning viewing platform on the roof of the Norman Keep will give panoramic views of Norwich, linking past, present and future.

Norwich Castle Keep

Exploring educational futures

UEA has always been at the forefront of future-thinking in education, from Lawrence Stenhouse’s pioneering research on interdisciplinary curriculum design for schools in the 1970s, to our current influence on global literacy and change through the UNESCO Chair programme.

Researchers at our School of Education and Lifelong Learning collaborate with regional, national and international partners, as well as with colleagues across UEA – to imagine and help realise more equitable educational futures. We address questions about the role of social media and digital technology in learning, and join cultural and heritage sector organisations such as the BBC and the East Anglian Film Archive in arts-based projects for school students in the region.

Alert to global student activism and the call of young people for new education priorities relative to climate change, decolonised curricula and changing economic circumstances, we also ask - ‘what can learning be?’ How can we fully realise human potential through different conceptions of schooling, higher education and learning through a lifetime?

And how can we fully realise human potential through different conceptions of schooling, academia and learning through a lifetime?

school students