Creativity Clubs



1. Creativity Clubs



4. Creativity for Peacebuilding and Extremism-prevention Clubs

2. Creativity Clubs in primary schools




5. Creativity Camps

3. Creativity for Entrepreneurship and Leadership Clubs

6. Creativity Facilitators






1. Creativity Clubs Description




MASK Creativity Clubs:


  • Normally last 1 to 3 years
  • A number of students per workshop is 25
  • Workshops are held 1-3 times a week
  • Duration of workshops ranges from 30 min to 1,5 hours
  • Training is non-formal: after-school



The learning goal is to strengthen students' creativity and teach them practical steps of applying creativity in real-life.



The beneficiaries:


  • Children and young people aged 3 to 25 years old, school and none-school goers, disadvantaged, disabled, living in urban or rural regions of Kenya
  • The Kenyan Ministry of Education and, ultimately, teachers/educators in Kenya, and potentially other countries in Africa and elsewhere.



MASK believes that:


  • Creativity must be central to education for real learning, better employability, and stronger entrepreneurship and leadership
  • Creativity can be learned and taught directly
  • Creativity is visual thinking: advancing the visual processing skills is instrumental to creativity
  • Creativity-learning should be planned, structured, and relevant
  • Creativity should be shared
  • Creativity should be valued by families and society





'Creativity and innovation' is not 'the arts'. A type of intelligence, it is the ability to identify problems and to generate and implement new original solutions. In the 21st century, when technology radically changes the way we live and work, the creativity and innovation competency has a huge implication for our survival, success, and future society. 'Creativity and innovation' is a transferable skill that can be effectively taught and learned.











Students learn the MASK ‘Creatvity Skills Set’:


  • Positive beliefs about creativity
  • Creative skills
  • Creative character
  • Team-creativity
  • Creativity ethics
  • Practical creativity



People with the positive beliefs about creativity:

  • See creativity as change and a powerful force for the transformation of lives of individuals and societies
  • Enjoy being different and experience things in new ways
  • Are emotionally involved in a creative process and have a positive attitude to their own creativity
  • Are willing to take time to learn to be more creative.


People with the creative skills:

  • Are good at visual and spatial thinking (observation and visualization/imagination)
  • Have the ability to generate new original ideas, connecting knowledge across a wide range of disciplines into new patterns and combinations
  • Think divergently generating multiple ideas to a problem
  • Understand the practical side of creativity knowing how to evaluate, communicate, and implement ideas.


Creative character:

  • Courage to go against conventions
  • Independence of thought and judgement
  • Curiosity
  • Openness to new experience
  • Willingness to take risks
  • Positive 'can-do' attitude: self-directed people who see in a failure a potential for success
  • Confidence in one's creativity and belief in one's own ideas
  • Strong sense of self-efficacy, resilience, and desire for self-realization
  • Emotional intelligence.


Team-creative people:

  • Are creative in a group
  • Enjoy sharing their creativity with others.


Creativity ethics. People who are ethic in their creativity:

  • Share moral and environmental principles of a creative behaviour.


Practical creativity:

  • MASK's '5 Steps for Practical Application of Creativity in Real-life' framework





MASK Learning Activities include:


  • Art practices (visual arts, music, performance, dancing, singing, speech, writing, design, etc.) that develop the instrumental to creativity visual processing skills (observation, imagination/visualisation, and visual memory). From first-hand experiences, students learn to experiment, investigate, discover, innovate, imagine and invent, and find ways around obstacles.
  • Creative-thinking techniques and strategies that encourage curiosity, unconventional way of thinking, and connecting knowledge across disciplines
  • Solving problems that affect students in daily life. Students learn and practice the MASK '5 Steps for Practical Application of Creativity in Real-life' framework .



Art practices:

  • Making art and objects (paintings, collages, books, toys, etc) with a wide range of ideas, techniques and materials, including recycled and natural materials
  • Exploring colour, sound, and texture, and connecting those to ideas and associations
  • Exproring touch, sight, hearing, motor control, visual memory, attention, reasoning powers, and emotional responses
  • Pretending, acting ‘as if’ or 'what can be?', storytelling, open-ended role-playing, puppetry, improvisation, performance (drama), expressive movement
  • 'Connecting random images' excersise
  • Exhibiting art works, made objects, and ideas



Creative-thinking techniques and strategies such as:

  • De-structuring imagination
  • Associative thinking
  • Forming analogies
  • Making connections and combinations
  • Reversing assumptions
  • Resemblance thinking
  • Collective thinking
  • Paradox thinking
  • De Bono techniques




MASK Typical Workshop Template:


  • Admin (displaying learning posters, preparing working space, taking attendance), 5 min
  • Revision of the skills learnt at a previous workshop, 5 min
  • Revision of the Koinonia Principles (see MASK ‘Creativity Learning Environment’), 2 min
  • Main activity (see ‘Learning Activities’), 30 min to 1 hour
  • Exhibition of learnt outcomes (ideas, artworks), 10-15 min
  • Summary of skills learnt, 5 min.






2. Creativity Clubs in early education



It is critically important to start creativity-learning in early childhood when imagination and playfulness are naturally rife. Neglecting children’s creativity erodes it, putting them at a serious disadvantage. Children and young people can struggle to adapt, solve problems, think up any new imaginative ideas and alternatives, understand concepts and apply them in different situations, plan ahead and achieve goals. They can feel disempowered, have low productivity and self-worth.


MASK Creativity Clubs works with children aged 3-12 years old. Workshops are held once or twice a week in schools, after-school. Duration of workshops ranges from 30 to 45 min. Because art practice is the most effective way to nurture creativity in children, Creativity Clubs Learning Activities focus on art practices. However, any sphere of human activity is open to creativity-learning, not only arts. Learning takes place in the MASK 'Creative Learning Environment’ which is playfulness, enthusiastic encouragement, and structure (read more in 'creativity-facilitators training' below).


Former students say:


“MASK developed my habit of innovating. Creativity made me successful beyond my dreams.” Hellen Gichuki, 21

“Creative people look at the world in a different way. This should be nurtured from the beginning as we, the MASK members, do.” James Karenjo Ndungu, 14




3. Creativity for Entrepreneurship and Leadership Clubs (CEL)



As the technology of the 21-century radically changes the way we live and work, creativity becomes critical to preparing young people for the jobs of tomorrow and a top skill sought by employers. There are millions of young people aged 18-25 are unemployed, 6 million in Kenya alone. However, a creativity training given to unemployed young people increases their employability five times, according to the creativity authority Dr Edward De Bono.


CEL works with students aged 12 to 25 years old. The duration of the workshops is 1-1.5 hours.


CEL aims to enable students to:

  • Become better leaders: today's leaders need to be creative and innovative to inspire people to act for change, and generate and implement effective solutions to people's problems
  • Be more employable after leaving school: employers now need people who can contribute to organisation in terms of novel ideas and products and services; academic qualifications are no longer enough
  • See entrepreneurship as a possible career option for achieving economic sustainability: young people want to create their own jobs.


Students learn the MASK Creativity Skills Set, and practice the MASK’s ‘practical creativity' framework.


CEL Learning Activities:


Stage 1: Experimental art practices and creative-thinking techniques and strategies

Stage 2: Solving problems in schools or communities that affect students’ daily life.


Students learn and practice the MASK’s ‘practical creativity' framework '5 Steps for Application of Creativity in Real-life':


  • Learning to state problems in the ways that are conducive to creative problem-solving
  • Generating solutions. Idea-generation approaches. Team-creativity
  • Evaluating solutions. Decision-making skill
  • Communicating ideas. Principles of overcoming resistance to change
  • Implementing ideas. Getting organised and forming partnerships. Building innovation culture. 'Managing' creative people.


The CEL graduates receive 'Creativity Passports' and join the 'Young People - The Creative Nation'.



Students say:


"MASK made me into a successful entrepreneur and a leader. My village elders invite me to their meetings - although I am so young - and ask me to give them good ideas that can improve our community. I feel respected. I feel I am making the difference. I love this creativity! But before MASK came, I did not know I was creative!" Joel Gatua, 21






4. Creativity for Peace-building and Extremism-prevention Clubs




Many countries experience ethnic, political, or religious conflicts. Creativity is the basis for education for peace and tolerance. Teaching children and young people to imagine new effective solutions for peace is the foundation for a prosperous future.


The learning goal is to strengthen students' Creative Skill Set and to steer them towards social innovation for peace and tolerance.


Students learn the MASK Creativity Skills Set, and undertake the Learning Activities that focus on creative art practices (visual arts, music, performance, writing, etc.) that aim to develop:

  • Empathy. Making and displaying their artworks allows students to safely explore their own emotions and understand the emotions of others. They learn and teach others empathy
  • To understand and accept multi-culturalism to help them mitigate the difficulties of inter-ethnical and inter-religious understanding. Art builds bridges between ethnicities and religions
  • Social innovation and leadership: to generate and implement new and imaginative, but practical and effective, solutions to conflict-resolution and peaceful co-existence. Students feel empowered and are encouraged to empower others
  • To effectively communicate ideas and solutions to their community members by organizing exhibitions and ‘art marches’. Students act as 'agents of peace', and learn to see themselves as people who matter and who are listened to.


The clubs are either organised in a series of sessions to focus intensely on the relevant topics, or the topics are incorporated in the MASK’s Creativity and CEL Clubs programmes.


MASK collaborates with local and national government and peace-building NGOs in Kenya. Working in more than 25 schools across different ethnics and religions, MASK acted as a link between those communities.


Students say:


“Through peaceful pictures we promote peace. We exchange ideas and resolve the disagreements peacefully.” Patrick Mwaura, 15

“The workshops make me so happy. They enable us to maintain peace. I learnt to communicate ideas visually.” Naftary Maina, 15

“MASK helped me to express ideas, and to promote peace between different tribes who are in conflict.” Benson Kinyantui, 13

“Being creative can help me to educate communities and lead them to peace.” Peter Kimani, 17







5. Creativity Camps



MASK's residential Creativity Camps are organised during school holidays for students aged 16-25.



  • Participate in daily creativity-learning workshops facilitated by MASK creativity facilitators, artists, entrepreneurs, and business leaders
  • Organise debates and performances in the evenings
  • Visit art galleries and entrepreneurial companies
  • Organise end-of-camp exhibition of artworks and ideas


First Creativity Camp was organised in May 2011 in Nairobi. Participants met with the Kenyan Minister for Culture, The Hon, Ole Ntimama, and the Ministry's Director of Culture, Gladys Gatheru.


Students say:


"I liked being creative since I was little. I liked experimenting and imagining new things. It was very hard for me because my family did not support this activity considering it being unworthy. Participating in the MASK Creativity Camp helped my family to support me and to be proud of my creativity." Irungu James Kungu, 19.







6. Creativity Facilitators Training




A skilled facilitator is essential to creativity-learning. MASK has been training schoolteachers, artists, professionals, and former MASK students to facilitate MASK's creativity-learning workshops.


Facilitators learn:


  1. The nature of creativity and its benefits to children's development and future society
  2. MASK's Creativity Skills Set and Practical Creativity framework
  1. MASK's Learning Environment Toolkit


MASK's Creativity Environment Toolkit


  • A facilitator helps students to set up a structure of their group: students organise themselves in two or three main teams in which they do all Learning Activities, and also in ‘functional teams’ that run the logistics of the workshops. For example, ‘poster team’ hangs up posters with information about the Creativity Skills Set and the Koinonia Rules on the walls of a classroom before each workshop, ‘material team’ is making sure all learning materials are in place before a workshop begins and stores away the materials afterwards.


  • Learning takes place in the positive emotional climate of·Koinonia Principles, which are: 'friendship and collaboration', 'openness and honesty', 'curiosity', and 'total suspension of judgement' (belittling of ideas is prohibited; 'crazy', 'half-baked' ideas are actively encouraged, constant scrutiny is avoided ). Facilitators reiterate the Koinonia Principles before each workshop.


  • Learning Activities should be: 1. simple but challenging, 2. highly visual, 3. focused, dynamic and enjoyable, and 4. relevant to students. Students should be able to see a clear connection between the Learning Activities and Creativity Skills Set. Activities can take place indoors and outdoors.


  • Students are given an adequate space and time for developing a creative response to any given situation. Facilitators do not intervene too early in students' creative process


  • Students' attention is stimulated by the open-ended questions such as 'what can be?' and 'what if?' and thought-provoking stories about creative behaviour. A facilitator should demonstrate his/her inner dialogue during a creative process, and encourage risk-taking and make mistakes.


  • Students must be provided with opportunities for success early in learning in order to motivate them, create their satisfaction and enjoyment, build enthusiasm and creativity-confidence, and foster self-worth and self-esteem. Playfulness, good-humour, a sense of fun, as well as cheers, praises, rewards, enthusiastic acknowledgement of students' efforts and constructive feedback are essential. Facilitators carefully observe students' engagement with any learning situation.


  • Help students to organise regular exhibitions of the learnt outcomes. Exhibitions are learning activities and assessment and motivation tools. Their format can range from a display in a classroom to a show at national and international institutions.


  • Good discipline is critical: good attendance, focused activities, efficiently-used time and materials, and creativity-conducive workspace (bright, spacious, clean, that may be modificated to support creativity).



Facilitators should encourage:

  • Children to 'own' the learning-activities by choosing them
  • Investigate and experiment
  • Collaborate with others
  • Accumulate as much knowledge as possible


Facilitators should avoid:

  • Being distant and formal with children
  • Lack humour, playfulness, and the ability to see powerful skills learnt behind the 'fun'
  • Harshly reprimanding and criticising children
  • Being poor time-keepers and organizers
  • Activities that lack focus and structure
  • Political, religious, or ideological bias


Facilitators assess and monitor:

  • Participation in creativity-learning progress and skills learned
  • Novelty of ideas, opinions and solutions
  • Leadership and entrepreneurial competences
  • Children’s self-assessment of their creativity (encourages responsibility for one’s own creativity)

Facilitators record and report in a logbook and photo/video log:

  • Learning activities
  • Children’s participation
  • Feedback and suggestions




School teachers say:


"In MASK Clubs children discover their hidden talents."

"MASK workshops stimulate children’s creativity."




Creativity is what separates those young people who are prepared for the rapidly changing work and life environment in the 21st century, and those who are not.



What the others say about creativity:


  • To succeed, young people need to be inventive, resourceful and imaginative. The best way to foster that creativity is through art education. The US Presidents Committee on the Arts and the Humanities report "Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America's Future Through Creative Schools", 2011


  • Learning of arts and creativity is indispensable for the growth and sustainable development of societies and of individuals. UNESCO


  • Creative education is essential for building innovative thinkers who will be leaders for tomorrow. Barack Obama


  • Everyone has the right to freely participate in the cultural life, to enjoy the arts and to share its advancement and benefits. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 27


  • No nation can achieve a high quality of growth if creative elements of its human potential remain untapped or under-used. European Commission


  • A sustainable, balanced model of growth can only be ensured by integrating culture with economic and social development. The Commonwealth





Useful information: reports and surveys about 'creativity and innovation' :


  • The World Economic Forum's reports. Competitiveness Reports, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • 'Ready to Work' survey. Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, The Partnership for the 21st Skills, and the Society for Human Resources Management, 2006
  • 'Ready to Innovate' report. Conference Board, Americans for the Arts, and the American Association for School Administrators, 2008
  • 'Are They Really To Work?'. The Conference Board, 2007
  • The Business Council for Africa, 2013
  • R.Marsh, I Mosca, Dr F Zuleeg, 'Arts and Employability', The Scottish Executive Social Research, 2006
  • 'Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America's Future Through Creative Schools'. President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), 2012
  • 'Scenario Visualization: An Evolutionary Account of Creative Problem Solving'. Bradford Books, 2008. Dr Robert Arp
  • University of California research
  • 'The Art of Scientific and Technological Innovations', 2011. R. S. Root-Bernstein
  • 'Breakpoint and Beyond: Mastering the Future Today'. Beth Jarman and George Land,Harper and Harper Perennial, 1998
  • 'Why so Stupid?' De Bono, Edward. Blackhall, 2003
  • 'Critical Links: Learning in the arts and students academic and social development'. Deasy,R., ed 2002. Washington, DC:Art Education Partnership
  • 'Living the Arts Through Language and Learning: a report on community based youth organisations'. Shirley Brice Heath, Stanford University, and Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, American for the Arts Monograph, 1998
  • '2012 College-Bound Seniours: Total Group Profile Report'. The College Board, 2012.



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MASK is a UK Charity Commission registered charity No 1128734