Creative Bravery

June 24, 2021
Andrew Frazer
Neil Robertson


School: Donnybrook District High School

Year Group: 10

Teacher: Neil Robertson

Creative Practitioner: Andrew Frazer

Creative Practice: Visual Artist and Arts Management

As I reflected on Term 3 and anticipated Term 4 with Neil and the year 10 HASS students, I wondered what is beyond for each student as their time comes to a close at Donnybrook District High School? How has the Creative Schools program inspired and equipped them to pursue their goals and dreams? Has this opportunity offered them the ability to dream? These questions fueled my own desire to make this term impactful by giving each student room to learn deeply and to inspire each other collectively to be creatively brave.

The class can be wild at times, but I'm learning to enjoy the wild because it reminds me that we all have a voice ... we all want to be heard and known on some level. Our collective challenge was how to guide the wild into a sense of purpose and direction so that they can experience the tangible benefit of committing to a process of deep learning. Neil and I wanted to make sure they experienced the relevance that exists between collaboration, perseverance and discipline. If these words remain purely in a conceptual space then we will lose their drive to imagine and ultimately, we'll simply spoon feed them information that we'll require them to regurgitate in 8-9 week's time. Not an overly attractive proposition.

We dived into Term 4 with built momentum from previous weeks and continued on the development of understanding the significance of a regional down town in 2020, and our personal responsibility in contributing to it's vitality into the future. Each student had to be vulnerable and courageous enough to interview local business owners, create a business profile and were presented with the challenge of developing their own business proposal for a vacant commercial property on the main street of Donnybrook.

As we ventured into town and stood outside the vacant property, peering through the windows and talking over the possibilities, a young professional woman walked by and introduced herself as the property manager. We began to share the scope of what the students were intending to develop as part of the program and she generously offered us access to the space for further exploration and the future presentation of ideas within the store window. As we gathered together with the students at the end of our time, we talked over the significance of being out in public, meeting people face to face and allowing this vulnerability to create opportunities that wouldn't have existed by staying within the four walls of a classroom. The idea of learning occurring in all locations and at all times was beginning to become a reality.

The students worked collaboratively in small teams to develop these business ideas and the outcomes were diverse, wild and inspiring. From a healthy sandwich and juice bar, sports retail space with a youth development focus, to a Manga inspired café. The student-led teams also had to accompany their idea with a brand identity, business rationale and a 'give back' element that supports the local Donnybrook community. Once completed, we spent the last session together to creatively display them in the property windows for the community to see, engage with and be inspired. Seeing the genuine joy and sense of accomplishment on the student's faces was an incredible feeling.

Neil and I are there to guide, support and provide context, but deep learning requires ownership. It requires us all to commit to a process of vulnerability and courage that gives room for amazing outcomes, such as this term's project.