After more than 25 years working in art and design educational institutions, I've come to a number of conclusions regarding not just established educational systems and formats, but also the human learning experience and how tough it is for most individuals to embrace their creative potential.
There is no question in my view that creativity is inherent in every human being, and the degrees of complexity and analysis that our minds are capable of are enormous, and remain a mystery to us all. Modern cultures, on the other hand, have constructed structures that do not encourage creativity, but rather kill it or limit it in favour of production and conformity to societal norms and agendas.
Being creative is not the norm; it is the oddity, the social outcast, and the abnormality that institutions, organisations, and regular people fear. When people are industrious and obey society's rules and expectations without question, they are praised and applauded. It's also accepted and encouraged. But as a consequence, being creative becomes special, as if one had a one-of-a-kind gift of skill that is valuable, powerful, and dangerous. There is a societal divide.
The social framework that controls and normalises behaviour includes educational institutions. They are intended to urge people to conform to cultural standards and to adjust their personalities to meet society's needs and goals. They provide people with the tools and resources they need to become "educated," as well as the information and practices they should follow once their education is complete. These institutions, particularly in the Western world, are focused on educating individuals to be economically and socially productive and acceptable.
Art and design education respond to the same predicament, educating individuals that fulfil the needs of the job market or the art world.
This process of "adjusting" our talents, creativity, and knowledge to the accepted norm earns a lot of money and business since every individual is expected to go through it. They occur during our childhood and adolescent years when our brains are at their peak and our personalities are changing. As a result, adult creative processes are unpleasant and need extensive unlearning in order to recoup some of the lost talents.
The expansion of knowledge and the development of creative confidence take a backseat to the development of practical creativity that serves industry and the art world. But what if institutions simply collapse? Will humanity's potential be realised? Will we continue to change at a fast pace, as we have in the past?
AIming and envisioning a post-institutional future should be desirable. Educational institutions and systems are the product of an industrial revolution we have already overcome and have mutated into service providers that simply validate talent for employment or reference purposes but not for creative or human growth.
Educational and learning systems must develop into ecosystems of talent, skills, and information transfer that are intimately related to community life, human nature, and the environment. They must adapt to the times by enabling each individual to blossom from within, to discover their own creative and productive potential in harmony rather than in conflict. That is why it becomes important to evolve beyond our current institutions and embrace new ways or models that support our evolution as humans.
Artificial intelligence is gradually displacing modern-day professions, and robots are displacing individuals who have been schooled and tuned to be productive and transactional. it is not only about robots in production lines or factories, algorithms already make managerial decisions in corporations and government. Humans must move beyond this and recognize that human abilities are not only technical or based on compliance; they are also critical, social, ethical, and a blend of intellectual and emotional processes, which machines will not be able to match anytime soon.
We need post-institutional societies in which community-based activities and agreements are more natural and aim for both collective and individual well-being. We require natural learning ecosystems in which creativity, invention, innovation, and talent may transcend beyond training and education to contribute to each individual's growth and development.
It is our task to take the challenge of building this postinstitutional context, or keep looping in the obsolete idea of schools, universities, and training centres that educate employees to compete with technologies and business models that evolve faster than education.