Anna Craft obituary

Our good friend and colleague Anna Craft, who has died aged 52 of cancer, championed the role of creativity in education. She coined the phrase “possibility thinking” to describe the move from what is to what may be in a problem-solving, route-discovering approach to creativity – an inescapable requirement in today’s quickly-shifting globe.

Her book Creativity Across the Main Curriculum (2000) mentioned how this approach needs to be cultivated from the earliest years. Creativity and Training Futures: Learning in a Digital Age (2011) led to even more analysis into children’s creativity in science and mathematics, and teenagers’ imaginative engagement in digital gaming. Creativity in Colleges: Tensions and Dilemmas (2005) addressed inquiries about the business and ethics of creativity, and explored the responsibilities of teachers and schools in helping college students evaluate their routines within and past the classroom. Anna’s research was undertaken in partnership with teachers, documenting and supporting what they have been undertaking to nurture the imagination.

Born in Ormskirk, Lancashire, Anna was the elder daughter of Maurice Craft, later professor of schooling at Nottingham University, and his wife Alma (nee Sampson), a university administrator. She went to the Maynard school in Exeter, Blackheath large school in London, and Churchill College, Cambridge, graduating in social and political science (1983). Then she obtained a postgraduate certificate in education (1984) and an MA in philosophy of training (1988) at the Institute of Education, University of London.

After teaching in a London main school, Anna became an educational researcher and curriculum developer, joining the Open University in 1991. 4 many years as a visiting scholar at Harvard (2003-07) have been followed by her appointment as professor at each the Open University and Exeter University. She was co-founder of the worldwide journal Contemplating Capabilities and Creativity and a government adviser.

A spirited and engaging colleague, Anna was warm, wise, respectful of others’ perspectives and capable to probability-believe her way forward whatever the challenge. She is survived by her husband, Simon Stanley, whom she married in 1994, their children, Hugo and Ella, her sister, Naomi, and her parents.

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