Danny Boyle’s opening to the London Olympics was an inspiration for me. I realised how important culture is to the British identity – how we see ourselves and how others see us. What the ceremony captured was the vitality and history of the arts and entertainment industry in the UK, but also the extent to which our unique culture has produced the NHS and a host of creative inventors, entrepreneurs, radical thinkers and explorers who have changed the world we live in not just in the UK but globally. Creativity, freedom of expression, invention and critical inquiry are at the heart of our democracy and help to shape our beliefs in tolerance, free speech and open mindedness. But our culture in all of its variety cannot be taken for granted – it's a delicate ecosystem and if we neglect it or stop feeding it, it will wither. I don’t want to wake up in 20 years time and find that because of our indifference to the problems and costs of funding and encouraging cultural engagement and education now we have killed off what defines us a people.
Professor Jonothan Neelands is a National Teaching Fellow, Professor of Creative Education at the Warwick Business School (WBS) and Chair of Drama and Theatre Education in the Institute of Education at the University of Warwick.
As Associate Dean for Creativity in WBS, he is working with colleagues to develop a range of creative infusions and interventions both into the curriculum and the extra-curricular life of the School. These include student performances and participatory theatre workshops that use classical literature to explore the human questions and issues at the heart of all businesses.
Recent research projects have been in partnership with the Department for Education, Higher Education Academy for the Open Space Learning project at Warwick; Birmingham Royal Ballet; Birmingham REP. Theatre; RSC and the National Association of Youth Theatres amongst others.
Professor Neelands has advised government on the identification and training of exceptionally able and motivated young performers and is an Executive Director of Drama UK, which represents industry standard drama training and is a member of the RSC Education Advisory Group. He is the Patron of the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA).
Staff page: www.wbs.ac.uk/about/person/jonothan-neelands
Email: j dot neelands at warwick dot ac dot uk