Events Creativity at play in Singapore and Australia - Panel Discussion

JCU Events

Creativity at play in Singapore and Australia - Panel Discussion

Thu, 5 Dec 2019

Creativity at play in Singapore and Australia - Panel Discussion

When: 5 December 19, 5pm
Location: C4-05, Sims Drive Campus


Creativity is widely recognised as essential for the ongoing progression of contemporary societies. This is illustrated by the World Economic Forum ranking creativity as a skill of increasing importance and an IBM study of 1500 CEOs that has identified creativity as the most important skill for leaders. This message has been keenly felt in Singapore, with headlines such as Creativity the key to nation’s future growth and Singapore graduates facing creativity gap rallying the nation to enhance creativity. Yet creativity is often understood as quite an ambiguous concept that is out of reach for many.  What is creativity and how do we nurture it in Singapore and Australian contexts? Recent research on creative pedagogies, practices and ecologies in Singapore and Australia by arts education researchers will be shared in this panel discussion, which should appeal to education academics and students, kindergarten and school teachers, museum and public program education staff, as well as those with a more general interest in creativity.


Dr Denise Dillon
Associate Dean Of Research (and Research Education) & Senior Lecturer Psychology

Dr Denise Dillon is the Associate Dean of Research (and Research Education) at the Singapore campus of James Cook University (JCU).  She served as Head of Academic Group for psychology, arts and education for almost 10 years and now facilitates and promotes the strategic direction of research within JCUS, improvements in the quality and impact of that research, and the growth of local, national and international research collaborations.

Dr Dillon has extensive supervisory experience in fourth-year and graduate research, having supervised more than 80 fourth-year students and 11 graduate-level students to completion (as at March 2018). Graduate students include those in the Master and Doctor of Clinical Psychology courses, and PhD.

She is a full member of the Singapore Psychological Society (SPS) and a member of the Association for the Study of Literature & Environment (ASLE).

Profiles of Speakers:

Associate Professor Anne Harris  
Principal Research Fellow and Associate Professor, RMIT University (Melbourne, Aus)

Anne Harris is an Associate Professor, Vice Chancellor’s Principal Research Fellow, and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2017-2021), studying intercultural creativity. Anne is also the director of Creative Agency, a transdisciplinary research lab at RMIT University, focusing on creativity and creative making practices. Anne is an Honorary Research Fellow at University of Nottingham (UK) and an Adjunct Professor at Monash University (Australia). Anne has worked professionally as a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist in the USA and Australia, has published over 100 academic articles/chapters and 16 books, and is the creator and series editor of the Palgrave book series Creativity, Education and the Arts. Harris is the Director of Creative Agency, a community of artists and scholars for social change (

Presentation Overview

Creative Ecologies in Australia & Asia

Like Chen (2010), I’m interested in how scholars can continue to challenge the binaries of Asia-versus-West while remaining critical of nativism and Eurocentrism? Also like him, this talk and the study it reports on looks at how we in Australia can better come to terms with our ‘Asian-ness’, in particular through creativity studies. My study follows Chen’s assertion of a kind of inter-Asian cultural studies that critically reviews Eurocentric frameworks while examining the inter-connectedness of the history, culture, and politics of Asian societies – and Australia’s uneasy place in this region and those histories. The study under discussion seeks to think with Asian cultural perspectives rather than making Asia an object of study.

Dr Esther Joosa
Arts Education Consultant/Director of Pedagogy Playeum

Esther Joosa is originally from the Netherlands. As Art Education consultant she pursues the arts and play as a fundamental human social and semiotic practice. She designed the standards for the arts in special education in Singapore and designed  the visual arts curricula of two special schools. As Director of Pedagogy with Playeum she co-curated an interactive play/art exhibition featuring the installations of disabled artists, and leads the research Open Minds, Open Doors, investigating the value of unstructured artful play of children with disabilities.

Presentation Overview

Open minds, open doors: Creating opportunities for children with diverse disabilities for active participation through unstructured play in Singapore

The presentation refers to the design of Playeum’s outreach initiative about the value of engagement through play with children with disabilities in a creative environment together with non-disabled peers. The program and research was funded to investigate how through play children connect in a creative and playful way with 21st century skills, development of executive functions and make sense of their experiences. 30 weeks of visual research garnered findings that show the benefits of this program not just for the children but also for other stakeholders, including parents and playmakers but also the influence of a safe and creative environment.

Dr Louise Gwenneth Phillips SFHEA
Associate Professor in Education, James Cook University, Singapore

Louise’s career spans theatre in education, early childhood education, storytelling, environmental education, children’s rights and citizenship research, and arts based research methodologies. She is particularly interested in story as theory and method illustrated through co-authoring the Routledge book Research Through, With and As Storying with Tracey Bunda and creative pedagogies and methodologies more broadly. See

Presentation Overview

Aesthetic experiences of making with paper in The (artist-infused) Corner for under eight year olds

Artists bring heightened awareness of sensation and material qualities in the experience of making. Drawing from research of The State Library of Queensland’s under 8’s space, I portray the sensate experience of making with paper spurred by artists as embedded living installations. I look closely at the creative experience of making as inherently connected to aesthetics; in particular making with paper.  Attention to sensation, matter and making were gathered through sensory ethnography, aesthetic sensibilities and understanding of the vibrancy of matter. Performative accounts of artist making experiences with paper are shared to glean what happens in the experiences of making; what we come to sense, to know, to be and connect across generations and communities. Material literacies unfold.

Register for this event

The Singapore campus of James Cook University can contact me regarding information on courses, future events and news updates:
Contact Method