Penny Hay, Andy Middleton, and Joanna Choukeir: Imagination to respond to the Crisis | Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

April 21, 2023

What would it take for us to respond to the planetary Crisis with our collective imagination(s)?

This is a special episode: a conversation between three thinker-doers around this question. Their complementary backgrounds augment the importance of the message.

Penny Hay is an artist and educator, Research Fellow in the Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries, Reader in Creative Teaching and Learning, Senior Lecturer in Arts Education at Bath Spa University and Director of Research for House of Imagination, an arts research charity.

Andy Middleton brings over 30 years of experience as Managing Director and Chief Exploration Officer at the TYF Group, which creates experiences that help people connect deeply to nature and purpose to trigger transformative shifts in life and at work. He is also a Partner at NOW Partners and one of the most versatile people I know.

Joanna Choukeir is the Director of Design and Innovation at the RSA. She is a life-centric designer with serveal hats: practitioner, entrepreneur, thought leader, and educator. Previously, Joanna was Health Director at FutureGov and had spent 10 years leading Uscreates—a service design agency for health and wellbeing.

We discuss:

🥥 The connectedness and interdependence of all things, including the crises we face as a civilization and alongside all other life forms—there is but one Crisis;

🥥 The importance of creating safe spaces for imagination if we are to respond to the Crisis as connected to ourselves and all life;

🥥 How values underpin learning rather than curriculum and thus should be cared for ecologically.

Check out the Coconut Thinking website, where you’ll find our articles, podcasts, conference presentations, resources, and more.

You may also be interested in listening to more Coconut Thinking podcasts on Intrepid Ed News.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. is the co-founder of Coconut Thinking, which creates learning and action experiences where all learners have a common purpose; positive impact on the welfare of the bio-collective — any living thing, sentient or plant, that has an interest in the healthfulness of the planet. Benjamin also works as the Whole School Leader of Learning and Teaching at an International School in Thailand. He was the Academic Coordinator at Misk Schools, which, as the school of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is the most prestigious and high profile school in the kingdom. In 2018-2019, he was also the Head of Upper Primary and Middle School at Misk. Prior to this, he was Vice Principal of the Middle School and High School at the Harbour School in Hong Kong. He holds a Ph.D. in History, an MSc in Education, an MBA, an MA in International Relations, and a BA in International Affairs. Benjamin was born and grew up in Paris, France. He moved to the U.S. when he was 15 and spent 11 years there in different cities, before living in the U.K., Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, and now Thailand. He started his career in consulting for Internet start-ups in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s, working with people whose ambitions were no less than to change the world. This experience had a profound effect on Benjamin’s outlook on education, innovation, and entrepreneurialism.

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