By Anna Parkes
“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.” ~ Pablo Picasso
The past couple of weeks at the Learning Hub, Limerick have marked the welcome return of the Story Hub programme. As someone with a passion for writing, this was an element that attracted me so strongly to the Hub when initially pondering possible co-op placements.
Thus, I could not wait to sink my teeth into this project as it restarted after its Winter hibernation. On a dreary, early Tuesday morning the anticipatory fizz of excited children brightened up a decidedly dull day. The budding authors grouped together for a brainstorming session. As a team, they began to develop a protagonist, plot and introduction for the story they would later finish individually.
Mere moments into our group discussion it becomes vividly clear that good sense has been abandoned for the superior force of creativity. The children’s first task is to develop a hero that will be the driving force behind their tale. In an age that is undoubtedly saturated with technology and media, it is often argued that children have lost the abilities of creativity and imagination. If these critics were to enter the Story Hub, they would surely realise this is not always the case!
Some of the character suggestions are truly fantastic. They include a “cat-fish” (Not the underwater creature, but a literal cat/fish hybrid), a Super Pug and a unicorn. Eventually, we manage to settle on one idea – Mr.Banana, a banana adorned with multicoloured stripes and broomsticks for legs. Does this character make sense? Not particularly. Is he a lot of fun and an excellent showcase of creativity? Yes! Our world is one consumed by sadness and seriousness, regimented by rules and norms. It is a welcome break to abandon logic and escape to the carefree world of a child’s imagination, if only for a short time.
A break from reality could also be found in the Art Hub. St. Patricks Day is fast approaching, and by its side is the renowned Limerick City parade! This year the Learning Hub students have been inspired by all things galactic and are working on a space themed float. The Senior Art students spent this weeks class experimenting with face paint, transforming themselves into crazy alien creatures. I even volunteered to model, and ended my day with an alien princess design adorning my face.
Common sense would have encouraged me to wipe the look from my skin before I left. However, in the spirit of creativity I proudly wore my new cosmic look home. Yes, I got a few strange looks on the bus. But to be honest, I really didn’t care! It injected a little bit of imagination into a day so often ruled by normality – and it made my fellow commuters smile, if nothing else. Picasso had a point. Of course there is a time and a place for common sense. But sometimes the best thing to do is to let creativity flourish and escape reality – even if it is only a temporary break.