Our Creative Community Model

Imagine a place where you are encouraged to be your truest self. Where the creative risks you take are appreciated without judgment. Where you confidently connect with people of all different backgrounds. It may sound idealistic, but in a growing number of classrooms, youth groups, and organizations, it’s a reality. These empowering places are called Creative EstepWorks-0217Communities—and you can build one, too!

A Creative Community experience is transformative, and all it takes is a trained leader. Guided by our Creative Community Model, we help teachers, youth workers, managers, and anyone who works with groups to become this type of leader. We call these agents of change Creative Community Facilitators.

With arts-based practices and leading-edge group facilitation strategies, Creative Community Facilitators cultivate environments in which people can realize their potential. By embracing positive risk-taking and free creative expression, youth and adults alike open up to new possibilities. Research shows that creative expression—in a supportive setting—nurtures qualities like empathy, teamwork, and problem solving, while also fostering joy, hope, and the desire for a meaningful life.

Whether ongoing or temporary, Creative Communities change the lives of participants. With the skills and motivation to engage, think big, and bridge differences, young people eagerly rise to the challenges of school, work, and society. The result is a better, more vibrant world for all of us.

How the Model Works

PYE’s Creative Community Model brings intellectual notions of creativity down to earth for practical application, transforming lives and communities. The magic emerges from a potent blend of:

  • Motivational and behavioral science
  • Experiential learning
  • Leading-edge facilitation tools
  • Principles of group dynamics
  • Communication skills aimed at creating a sense of safety
  • Social and emotional learning
  • Arts empowerment practices

At the Model’s heart is creative expression. When we draw from the arts, including music, rhythm, visual arts, theatre, creative writing, story telling and movement, it’s not for the purpose of master but as a powerful spark for the learning process. We are all innately creative. When that creativity is awakened within young people, they’re able to develop crucial social and emotional skills. These skills are most often neglected in traditional education and youth programs, despite being the biggest predictors of success in school, academics, and life.

The Impact of the Model

“Creative expression is most often accompanied by a feeling of shimmering joy.” ~ Rollo May

The Creative Community Model instills, and is based on, a powerful set of values:

  • We are all creative
  • We all have the power to create change
  • Our inner world is as important as our outer world
  • Diversity is a resource
  • Young people are a source of creativity and vitality
  • We thrive in communities where we feel safe, supported, and seen
  • We learn from nature
  • The challenges we face in life require collaboration across generations

oliviana_croppedThe Creative Community Model helps cultivate a learning environment in which genuine and authentic connections flourish, problems are solved collaboratively, and learning comes alive. Young people thrive when they feel understood and supported by the community around them. Without the fear of being put down, their ideas and imaginations take flight. This, in turn, creates an atmosphere of respect, co-operation and engagement. The Model gives teachers, trainers and facilitators the tools, strategies and mindset to establish a trusting, judgement-free environment where everyone feels safe enough to take creative risks to fuel learning, to find their inner purpose, to be and accept themselves.

Putting the Model into Practice

The Creative Community Model can be used with groups of all ages and sizes from 45 minute meetings to multi-day residential camps.

We have found that the deepest transformations happen in a seven-day residential camps are the best way to bring the Creative Community Model into play – and we can help you set them up. However, any workshop or programme can include the same transformative elements:

  • Powerful group bonding established from the start.
  • Buy-in created through community agreements with the young people involved.
  • A highly experiential learning process.
  • Exercises that cater for a wide range of learning styles.
  • Reflection time to deepen understanding.
  • Activities designed to seal the learning.

The Creative Community Model is also user-friendly. In a one-day training session, you can learn the basic principles, plus a range of activities that will immediately increase the impact of your work. The Model is easily adapted to a wide range of cultures and a broad range of issues – and most importantly, it has the power to engage even the most reluctant of participants!

If you would like to learn more about the specifics of The Creative Community Model you can attend one of our upcoming trainings or read the PYE book.


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