Trip to Latvia and the “radi” creativity conference.
What a wonderful city Riga is. I was only there briefly for a two day conference around creativity in education but I will return again soon and make sure I visit the many places to see and do.
The city seemed so relaxed, high fashion was always on show. The people seemed to have a real sense of belonging. Don’t get me wrong i was advised of the place in the city that it may not be good to visit after night because of a congregation of drunken people but which city or town does not have pockets of concern.
As the European elections are pending there were lots of people (particularly young people) giving out leaflets and discussing the present situation in Crimea and the possible repercussions for Latvia and the other Baltic countries. The city is vibrant and there is a lot of construction work underway. The locals are particularly pleased for the new library due to open soon a stunning landmark for the city.
The conference was held in a disused factory which had been refurbished the factory was on Water Street and hence the building was named H2O. Very clever I thought. Creativity was the main discussion point and how can this be achieved in education. Speakers talked of simple inexpensive ways to make a difference and as in Finland being able to rearrange the furniture but also the ethos of the school to reflect a place of “coziness” and learning. Creating a relaxed atmosphere within a school context to allow young people to hook up to learning. For teachers to be more adventurous and to relax a little about learning as it takes place. Speakers talked about having the ability to look at learning differently and not to be caught up with league tables. This may prove difficult in any culture but if the past has been a regimented system controlled by the authorities then a move to a more relaxed system may prove problematic. the Ministry for Education are keen to promote innovation and as such announced awards for schools to create ways of learning using technology which will be celebrated across the country. This I think shows a commitment to change and at the very least an acceptance that there is another way. I look forward to cementing relations with the people I met and the schools who showed an interest in further collaboration and also to my next visit (longer) to Riga and the rest of Latvia.
Welcome to RIGA!