Frank Kresin has a background in Artificial Intelligence, photography, and television. He’s passionate about the transformative power of the Creative Industries and higher education. In layman’s terms: he advocates the use of emerging technologies for societal goals, including innovation, responsible design, sustainable development goals, and the doughnut economy, to name but a few. All fields of interest that stand to gain from a surge in creative solutions and innovative ideas.
“AS A SCHOOL, YOU NEED TO CREATE A SAFE AND RESPECTFUL ENVIRONMENT WHERE PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED TO BLOSSOM, GROW, AND FAIL.”
How can a school create a creativity-inducing environment?
FK: “I believe creativity flourishes in a safe environment. An environment where there is trust and room for joy. As a creative person, you can feel quite vulnerable. Especially when you’re just starting out, because you have to share something quite personal - a design you made or an idea you’ve formed - only to be criticized by others. And so, as a school, you need to create a safe and respectful environment where people are allowed to blossom, grow, and fail.”
What would that look like?
FK: “I’m a firm believer in working cross-disciplinary: creativity blooms where different disciplines, ways of thinking, or cultures intersect and rub off on each other. So you need to create meeting places where people from different backgrounds can come together: everyone brings their expertise, and together you create something new.
Look at the world we’re living in with sustainability and diversity issues, social insecurities, and an aging population; it is obvious we need new ideas and creativity. So there is a sense of urgency. We now need to create a sense of agency. People need to start feeling a sense of responsibility and ownership because that will propel them to become creative.”
“THIS WILL BE AN INTERESTING RIDE FOR TEACHERS, SUPPORT STAFF AND STUDENTS ALIKE - I LOOK FORWARD TO IT.”
What’s the role of the traditional college professor or lecturer in all of this?
FK: “A college has at least two communities, there’s the student community, and then there’s the teacher community. Students come to receive their education and leave after a few years with a degree and a rudimentary network. Many teachers stay much longer, and if they don’t continue to educate and train themselves, you’ll end up with teachers that eventually have lost touch with the work field. So why not follow the example of art academies, where teachers spend several days given classes and the remainder of the time working in their specific field?
Mentors are also incredibly important. Unless you’re uniquely gifted, I think everyone needs a mentor. The old master-apprentice model. Of course, it’s a very labor-intensive and expensive teaching method. But we can start by having teachers divide their time between teaching students and working in the outside world several days a week. It’s a great way to keep your knowledge and know-how up to date and, in turn, create the kind of mentors with relevant experience."
And could those mentors be machines? You studied AI, so we would love to know your thoughts on creativity and AI, machines, and robots.
FK: “On a philosophical level, I don’t think there’s a fundamental dichotomy between humans and machines. I don’t think humans are the pinnacle of the evolutionary ladder, if there ever was such a ladder. Still, I don’t believe in a Doomsday scenario where man is replaced by a machine. But technology can help creativity. There’s so much knowledge and information on every subject that it is physically impossible for someone to read and study everything. Now imagine if computers can help to process this enormous wealth of knowledge, which man can use to create new ideas or propel something forward. You’d have an excellent, symbiotic relationship right there.”
What will education look like in the coming years as a result of the rapid developments in the field of AI?
FK: “With tools like ChatGPT and Dall-E-2 our education will change. Before we know it, they will be in our computers, phones and refrigerators, but also out medical devices and analytical models. This will possibly change the nature of many if not all of the professions we teach, as well as the teaching profession itself. I would like us to embrace the possibilities and prepare the professionals and professions of the future, while sticking to a human-rights-first approach to the adaptation and further development of these technologies. This will be an interesting ride for teachers, support staff and students alike - I look forward to it.”