Sir Ken Robinson returns to the City

22nd March 2012

Ilex, the urban regeneration company in partnership with Foyle Learning Community, Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Culture Company 2013, The Pushkin Trust and Digital Derry, is delighted to announce that Sir Ken Robinson is returning to the City as part of Creativity Month. Sir Ken will revisit our progress on education, creativity and culture in the city, and support us in the desire to create a better future for our children and young people in terms of their entitlement to quality education provision. Sir Ken will inspire us to identify further opportunities to unlock our future potential as individuals, educators, creatives and communities.

The first of the events will be a one-day conference held at Lisneal College on Monday 26th March, which will include a morning session on Entitlement and an afternoon session on Creativity Matters.

David Funston, Principal of Lisneal College explained: “Lisneal College is delighted to host this conference on behalf of the Foyle Learning Community in partnership with Ilex. We are especially privileged to have someone as celebrated and inspiring in the field of education as our keynote speaker, Sir Ken Robinson. We look forward to hearing his experiences and ideas to enable us to continue to provide quality education for our young people. We also welcome all the other speakers who will take part in what we feel will be a significant event for education”.

The Entitlement session will be led by Foyle Learning Community with a focus on third level education and raising awareness of the need for more places in Northern Ireland Higher Education Institutions. Speakers will include Sir Ken Robinson, Foyle Learning Community, Aideen McGinley, Chief Executive of Ilex, local students and a panel of educational experts.

In the afternoon, Creativity Matters will highlight the significance of creativity and showcase local examples as we take the next steps towards 2013 and beyond. The event will challenge us to make the most of our individual and collective potential, enabling us to inspire and compete in a global market place. Sir Ken Robinsonwill lead the discussion throughout the afternoon seeking to recognise, reward and inspire creativity.

Sir Ken Robinson commented: “The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn't need to be reformed -- it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardise education, but to personalise it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions”.

Matt McNulty, Interim Chair of Ilex explained: “This event combines two of the most critical building blocks through which we can create a truly great future for ourselves and our City – education and creativity.  Education is the elevating ladder that brings us to the higher levels of personal attainment and achievement, and creativity can be a shared destination element that differentiates and distinguishes Derry~Londonderry  in the global competitive markets, where the battle for economic success must be tenaciously and relentlessly fought.   The creator and cradle of both these enormous advantages is the home, the school and the university.

However it is also critical that we first find the ambition and motivation within ourselves.  That requires “inspiration” so we are honoured to have Sir Ken Robinson as a global icon of creative thinking and other inspirational speakers and leaders investing their valuable time with us – it is an opportunity I urge you to grasp with both hands and ask for more".

There will be a selection of contributions from Ilex, Culture Company 2013 and a range of inspiring speakers who will share their skills and experience of creative practice.

Martin Melarkey, Senior Cultural Programmer at Culture Company 2013 added: “Ken Robinson is one of the leading educational thinkers of our age. His presentations on Ted Talks are watched by millions of people worldwide. As well as inspiring policy-makers to rethink traditional approaches to education, he has highlighted the vital role of creativity in 21st century learning. We are delighted to have Sir Ken as one of our cultural champions for City of Culture and his vision for a creative revolution in education is right at the heart of our programme for 2013”.

Maurice Harron, artist, educationalist and sculptor who will address the afternoon session said: “Creativity matters because it restores the wonder and vitality that each person is born with. When we are creative, we play with the unknown, are prepared for the unexpected, use the accidents and discard the failures”.

There is still time to register for the Entitlement and Creativity Matters Conference on 26th March 2012. Email Rosa McLaughlin at with your name and organisation, stating if you would like to attend one or both sessions.

On the 27th March, Sir Ken Robinson will explore creativity in practice, focusing on children and educationalists from across the province, with the Pushkin Trust at Baronscourt.

On 28th March, from 10am – 4pm, Sir Ken Robinson will be the keynote speaker at the Great Hall, University of Ulster, Magee, where he will support the launch of Digital Derry’s Culture Tech Fund. This information day will be devoted to helping practitioners in the digital/creative industries attract funding and support for their projects.

For further information about the events for the 27th and 28th March, visit the following websites: and