Aims of the Festival

The Emporium of Dangerous Ideas aims to re-establish the importance of dangerous ideas as agents of change in education – to shift the axis of what is possible! It is for everyone who is passionate about education including college, university, school staff and students as well as those engaged in education throughout the creative communities.

Join the Conversation

Get involved via website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Power to create – the power to act

 All human being can be the creators of their own lives?
Matthew Taylor, CEO of the RSA  give a powerful and convincing overview of the RSA’s vision last night as the  annual conference in Scotland.  What was particularly striking was the synergy between the RSA’s aspirations and those of both the Scottish Creative Learning Partnership and The Emporium of Dangerous Ideas

Matthew concisely drew attention to a number of reasons that creativity is vital, now more than ever, but he also focused on some of the barriers (some will be  familiar).

He argued that everyone has a right to live a creative life:

  1. People have a desire to be creative, and many make sacrifices in order to be involved in work that is focused more on self-actualisation, social good,  than economic security.
  2. With technology, particularly the social web we are able to develop our capacity: creating, collaborating, sharing.
  3. There is a growing demand for creativity e.g.  limited resources in public services demand we create different solutions; environmental challenges need different solutions.


  1. Continued type of elitism, with only certain people regarded as ‘creative’, causing divisions between people in education and work etc.
  2. Institutions have remained largely hierarchical with little opportunities for creativity.  There is little openness, trust and a firm belief that those at the top have the highest value ideas.  Need a different type of leadership.
  3. Policy is made by technocrats, rather than civic engagement that informs policy.  Policy only works when people are involved and see themselves as change makers.

Matthew was clear that creativity needs to be at the heart of all policy, and in particular education.

The RSA Scotland is keen to take part in next year’s Emporium.  How do we make the most of their willingness to engage with us?   

Click on the link below to watch a five minute RSA short describing the ’ Power To Create’ in more detail.  There is also a longer version of Matthew’s speech on the RSA website.


Monday, 6 October 2014

Emancipatory Education?

The real guardians of progress are the not the politicians at Westminster, or even at Holyrood, but the energised activism of tens of thousands of people who I predict will refuse meekly to go back into the political shadow.” Alex Salmond, Friday 19th September, 2014, Sunday Herald

Whether you voted yes or no, arguably we have moved into a new era in Scotland, where people have demonstrated their willingness and ability to become educated on the matters that they feel passionate about. Whether this is by traditional media, social media, lectures, books, papers vast numbers of people took ownership of their learning and made a choice about what was important to them. 

But did they all?  Were there some who lacked the skills to find appropriate information, the skills to decipher and critically assess that information?   What was the role of the educators?

Are we moving into a reshaping of the education system where there is an emphasis on self-directed learning , with educators taking on a more facilitative role?  Is there an emphasis on skills for work, without skills for active participation for life? 
Will learners go back meekly into the classroom and become receivers of education or take an energised active role shaping their education, and what does this mean for educators from across the board?

Where does learning really occur and how can we make more creative use of the public and virtual spaces we  inhabit?

What is your dangerous idea for education? Get in touch if you would like to create an event for the Emporium.

Join us for the Emporium of Dangerous Ideas, where we will be discussing these questions and more (June 9th-19th).  
Launch: Govanhill Baths , Glasgow (TBC), 9th June

Speakers for the Emporium so far include: David Price, author of Open: how we will work, live and learn in the future and Colin Jones, University of Tasmania and advocate of emancipatory education.