1st Edition

The Participatory Creativity Guide for Educators

By Edward P. Clapp, Julie Rains Copyright 2024
    234 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    234 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    234 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    The Participatory Creativity Guide for Educators debunks our outdated cultural understanding that some people are creative and others are not. Offering an embracing approach to creativity that encompasses invention and innovation, this practical guide reframes creativity as a mode of experience that all young people and adults have the opportunity to participate in.

    Bringing the principles of participatory creativity into the classroom, this book helps educators reframe invention and innovation, democratize the creative process, and leverage the knowledge, skills, background experiences, and cultural perspectives that students bring with them every day. Key concepts are illustrated through rich vignettes and pictures of practice as chapters walk you through the what, why, and how of incorporating participatory creativity into your teaching and learning environment.

    Designed for educators in a vast array of settings (including schools, community centers, museums, afterschool programs, and grandpa’s backyard workshop), this book is key reading for any educator looking to use creativity to strengthen and expand their teaching and learning.

    List of Tables and Figures

    Meet the Authors



    Chapter 1: Introduction

    What is Participatory Creativity?

    The What, Why, and, How of Participatory Creativity

    Participatory Creativity in Practice

    Meet the Authors

    A Bit about Process and Context

    Who Should Read this Book?

    How to Use this Book

    A Road Map to the Journey Ahead


    Chapter 2: Participatory Creativity 101

    The Problem with Traditional, Individual-based Understandings of Creativity

    Moving Towards a Sociocultural Understanding of Creativity

    What Makes Participatory Creativity Different from Other Brands of Sociocultural Creativity Theory

    So, What Makes Participatory Creativity Creative?

    Why Reframe Creativity as a Distributed and Participatory Process?

    The Five Crises of Creativity Stemming from a Culture of Individualism

    The Three Crises of Creativity Associated with a Culture of Power

    The Four Key Concepts of Participatory Creativity

    Popular Pitfalls and Misconceptions


    Chapter 3: Establishing a Participatory Creativity Classroom

    What Does a Participatory Creativity Classroom Look Like?

    Any Classroom Can Be a Participatory Creativity Classroom

    Flexibility Is Key

    The 12 Practices of Participatory Creativity

    According to Whom?, For Whom?, and Who am I?


    Chapter 4: Participatory Creativity in Action

    Finding Future Potential in Past Histories

    Fostering Creative Identity Development

    Participatory Creativity in the Culturally Responsive Classroom

    Identifying Roles for Oneself and Others

    How Did We Participate Today?

    Socially Constructing the Origins of Us

    The Strange Ducks Club—Teaching and Learning (and Other Weird Things that Happen) in a Sandbox

    Amplifying All Voices in the Creative Classroom

    A Participatory Approach to Assessment

    Empowering Representation: Girls of the Crescent

    What’s Your Story?


    Chapter 5: The Participatory Creativity Toolkit

    Socially Distributed Idea Development

    Biography of an Idea

    Concept of Role

    Profiles of Participation

    Using Pedagogical Tools in Your Context


    Chapter 6: Conclusion

    The Future Potentials of the Creative Classroom

    The Next Frontiers for Participatory Creativity


    References and Suggestions for Further Reading


    Edward P. Clapp is a principal investigator at Project Zero and a lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    Julie Rains is a longtime educator and the current instructional innovation program consultant for Rochester Community Schools in Rochester, Michigan. Julie facilitates a variety of in-person and online professional learning experiences through her work with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.