UAL Creative Mindsets Workshop at 15th ELIA Biennial, Resilience and the City: Art, Education, Urbanism

at Masssilo, Rotterdam, The Netherlands on 23rd November 2018

Written by Vikki Hill, UAL Creative Mindsets, Project Associate

(left: image from ELIA programme, right: View of Rotterdam from Maassilo Skylobby by Vikki Hill)

ELIA is a European network of arts higher education members that spans 47 countries and represents 300,000 students across all disciplines in art and design. Advocating for new opportunities and the exchange of good practice, the organisation supports partnerships in arts education and artistic research.

The industrial city and cultural hub of Rotterdam played host to the 15th ELIA Biennial, Resilience and the City: Art, Education, Urbanism. From the 21st to the 24th November 2018, across creative, cultural and educational venues, 460 delegates, speakers and presenters were warmly welcomed by partners from Codarts University of the Arts and Willem de Kooning Academy. Students from the universities exhibited work, performed dance and music events, presented a student panel, offered guided tours and worked as ambassadors and event facilitators.

(Image credit: Vikki Hill)

Jeanette author of the national bestsellers Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Sexing the Cherry, and The Passion, opened the event with an engaging biographical talk on resilience and creativity.

(Image credit: Vikki Hill)

Keynotes speakers, Elizabeth Giorgis (Associate Professor of Art History, Criticism and Theory at Addis Ababa University and Director of the Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Center) and Berhanu Ashagrie (Visual Artist, and Assistant Professor at Addis Ababa University) delivered a presentation on their work on transformation and urban spaces in the talk: Art Architecture and Urbanism in the Myths and Realities of Addis Ababa’s Ruin and Production of Space.

(Image credit: Vikki Hill)

Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate, delivered a presentation on how Tate supports resilience and creativity in a local and globalised context.

You can watch the keynotes here:

Thematic Mobile Sessions were held across the city during the afternoons and the UAL Creative Mindsets workshop was delivered as part of the Art and Social Cohesion session at the inductrial Maassilo Arts Centre.

Vikki Hill: Changing Mindsets: developing Growth Mindsets to address inequality and inclusivity in art and design higher education University of the Arts London, United Kingdom
An inclusive workshop that introduces the Changing Mindsets intervention to consider how we might challenge fixed notions of talent and intelligence in art and design education. How do we as arts educators create an inclusive pedagogy and address the limiting effects of implicit bias and stereotype threat?

(Image credit: Vikki Hill)

The workshop participants came from arts higher education institutions across Europe and Asia and brought with them a wide range of experience and ideas about what inclusive practice means for them within their subject curriculum and institutional policy. Discussion took place on how ‘talent’ is perceived by both staff and students in an arts education context and, drawing upon Dweck’s Theories of Implicit Intelligence, we challenged our own positions as creative educators.

The multicultural population of Rotterdam reflects its geographical position as a port and ‘gateway to Europe’ with more than 50% of the population termed as ‘allochtonen’ – literally meaning ‘emerging from another soil’.

Workshop participants lecturing in Rotterdams’ creative universities expanded on how the inclusive practice they carried out within the institution focuses on implicit bias within student admissions processes. The discussion echoed many of the findings presented in Burke and McManus’ 2009 report ‘Art for Few: Exclusion and misrecognition in Art and Design Higher Education Admissions’ that highlights problems of inclusion, exclusion and stereotyping during the portfolio interview process.

(Image credit: Vikki Hill)

ELIA Biennial offered a fantastic opportunity to exchange ideas with art and design educators, managers and administrators and to share best practice in building a more inclusive, creative and resilient arts education offer across diverse contexts in Europe.


Burke, P. and McManus, J. (2009) ‘Art for Few: Exclusion and misrecognition in Art and Design Higher Education Admissions.’

Codarts University of the Arts

Dweck, C. (2017). Mindset-updated edition: Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential. Hachette UK.

ELIA conference programme keynote videos

Willem De Kooning Academy

UAL Creative Mindsets Workshop at 15th ELIA Biennial, Resilience and the City: Art, Education, Urbanism
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