That changing landscape can’t be underestimated. Frey and Osbourne of Oxford University wrote a report predicting that 47% of total US employment is in the high-risk category of being replaced by technology over the next two decades. If we do not begin to address the major issues with education as it stands, we are preparing children and adults to fail later on in life. The need to have interchangeable skills and relearn existing ideologies is more important than ever and we need to consider education as a lifelong pursuit rather than the preserve of childhood. It is no longer the case that we can complete a lifelong career in one subject, we have to be prepared to change and move with the technological shift. Many of us have seen our parents or our grandparents start a career in early life and retire from the same field over 40 years later, but for the younger generations, we must expect that the job we might start in our 20’s may not be there in our 40’s. As technology advances, we too have to change with it or face being left behind. A lifelong approach to learning will allow these changes to happen more fluidly.
Resnick has implemented his idea of the ‘lifelong kindergarten’ into his department at university level. He firmly believes that the ideologies of pre-formal education are those that nurture the development of students of any age and will prepare them for the landscape they are going to live through post-education. Robinson has stated that the need for creative education has now become economical as institutions and businesses begin to pay attention to the need for X-thinkers. If our current cultural context is measured by our capitalist gains then educational reform must come quickly to its aid. If the foundations of all progress begin in education, the lack of awareness around creativity in the classroom has already begun to show its economical downside. As industries begin to recognise the need for quick adaptation they struggle to facilitate that change through industrially educated workforces. We see it in the fashion industry, instead of recognising a failing system, leaders are starting to panic and play celebrity designer chess, masking the real issues around changes to an outdated business model.
It is clear that the ‘Devil Wears Prada’ era is over. The fashion bitch who dictates from their office while throwing a tantrum is old fashioned and unproductive. According to Robinson, people work better in collaborative environments. To work creatively in fashion business we need to see those at the top allowing the right mix of ideas in their workspaces. One person’s vision is created through their team. We have all heard about the changes in working practice technology companies are starting to implement and we have seen how their business has thrived. It is time for fashion to do the same.
At Central Saint Martins, Sarah Gresty Head of BA Fashion encourages students to “break down and relearn the rigid rules that were enforced in students’ previous education,” believing that to achieve their creative potential students have to actively break away from the constraints of industrialised learning. Sarah points out the fundamental importance of transitional courses like the Art and Design Foundation.
Jeremy Till, Head of Central Saint Martins, is also aware of the difficulties in the intermediate stages between education models: “Suddenly you’re saying; actually don’t listen to me. I want to hear what you’re saying.” Students are “thrown back on themselves” which can only allow for personal development. The students are treated as individuals and nurtured through individual paths of growth but provided with classes of culturally diverse students. A fundamental part of creatively educating that again is jeopardised by government cuts and lack of awareness towards the need for this style of learning. As tutor contact time is cut and their pupil numbers increased how long can we maintain this privilege of creativity in an industrial landscape?