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University College for Interdisciplinary Learning

On Creativity: Practices and Perspectives

Course Unit Code

UCIL21112 (10 credits)

Course Unit Details

  • Level 2
  • 10 Credits
  • School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
  • Delivered online


Creativity is a fundamental part of being human. It enables us to navigate the world, describe and solve problems, and enrich our own and others' lives.

Exploring a diverse spectrum of human creativity, this unit looks at how creativity is practised across different disciplines, how we apply creativity to different issues and challenges, and how creative capabilities can be cultivated across and between disciplines, sectors, and industries.

Creative skills are fundamental to all kinds of research, as well as to participating in society and envisioning the future. With insights from academic experts and industry professionals, this unit highlights how scientific, technological, business and cultural activities all exhibit creativity and ideation, equipping students with the reflective skills to understand their own creativity from a variety of perspectives and demonstrating the importance of being able to make creative connections within and between different disciplinary contexts.

Designed to be inclusive and accessible to all, whatever your discipline. Most importantly, you don't need to have a creative background or consider yourself to 'be' creative to take this unit. All you need is a curiosity about creativity and an interest in exploring how creativity works within an interdisciplinary context.


The unit places a strong emphasis on critical thinking and interdisciplinary collaboration (in case-study and online content examples, and in practical activities). The unit aims to:

  • Facilitate reflection on the nature of creativity and its relationship to disciplinary/interdisciplinary training and practices.
  • Enable you to consider and critique the practices and applications of creativity in the global context.
  • Encourage collaboration and innovation across disciplinary and industries/sectors

Learning Outcomes

The unit will introduce you to the broader theories of creativity, as well as exploring its practices and applications, in order to provide you with the tools and opportunities to understand and develop creative skills relevant to both your home disciplines and to interdisciplinary study. These creative skills include performance and presenting; problem-solving and place-making; critical analysis and evaluation, including self-reflection; and imagining and designing futures. These will all help to boost your employability, as creative and collaborative practices are among the professional skills that are most sought-after by employers. Throughout the unit, creativity is also situated in global, as well as national and local, contexts, and brought directly into relation with issues of sustainability, social justice, equality, diversity and inclusion, and responses to global human and environmental challenges.


You will take all 10 modules of the unit, which are likely to cover the following themes:

Introducing Creativity

  • What is Creativity
  • Creativity in Perspective

Creative Bodies

  • Creative Health
  • Divergent Design

Creative Societies

  • Activism, Protest, and Social Change
  • Creative Industry, Economy, and Cultures

Creative Arenas

  • Performing Creativity
  • Play with Purpose

Creative Collaborations

  • More-Than-Human Creativity
  • Collaborative Futures


Assessment will be carried out via a variety of methods:

1. End-of-topic quizzes (10%)

At the end of a topic area (every two modules) there will be a short multiple-choice quiz to check comprehension, knowledge, and understanding. There are five short quizzes throughout the unit in total; each quiz has up to ten questions and is worth 2% of your final mark for the unit.

2. Reflective learning journal (10%)

You will be encouraged to develop your reflective practice skills by responding to a total of five creative or critical prompts in a Reflective Learning Journal. These five short responses will be a mixture of textual (<250 words) and open-format (image, video, audio, creative writing). Each response will be worth 2% of your final mark for the unit.

3. Creative Project (80%)

Responding to a brief asking you to communicate a topic that you're passionate about to an audience of your choice, you will produce and reflect on your own creative output. In order to meet this brief, you will need to demonstrate creativity and interdisciplinarity.

This assignment has two components:

a) A creative output, which could be a short story, a poem, a short video, a monologue, a manifesto, a poster, a zine, or something else. Your tutor will advise on the recommended length of your output based on the format that you choose.

b) A critical commentary, which should include details of what model(s) of creativity you used to produce your output and how successful you feel they were. You should also consider how your output demonstrates interdisciplinarity. This commentary will take the form of an essay, which should be no more than 1,500 words.

You will be able to seek advice on format prior to submission, either during the touch-point sessions (see Teaching and Learning Methods below), or by contacting staff ahead of the assessment deadline.


UCIL units are designed to be accessible to undergraduate students from all disciplines.

UCIL units are credit-bearing and it is not possible to audit UCIL units or take them for additional/extra credits. You must enrol following the standard procedure for your School when adding units outside of your home School.

If you are not sure if you are able to enrol on UCIL units you should contact your School Undergraduate office. You may wish to contact your programme director if your programme does not currently allow you to take a UCIL unit.

You can also contact the UCIL office if you have any questions.

Teaching Staff

The unit is led by Dr Eve Parker (Lecturer in Liberal Arts), and has been developed by Prof John McAuliffe (Director, Creative Manchester) and colleagues in Creative Manchester, The Centre for New Writing, and Liberal Arts.

Liberal Arts champions interdisciplinary learning and social responsibility; Creative Manchester is an interdisciplinary, University-wide research platform that facilitates collaborations between researchers, educators, civic leaders, employers, and communities.

Teaching and Learning Methods

10x Online modules

The unit is taught predominantly online, which includes multimedia content and interactive exercises that you can work through at your own pace. Online modules are released weekly throughout the semester, to help you to maintain your engagement with the unit.

2x In-person sessions

Alongside the online modules, the unit features two live 'touch-point' sessions, during which you will work with other students to reflect on module content and take part in practical collaborative activities. These sessions are a core part of the unit, and they are designed also to help you to prepare for your assessments. You will be able to sign up for different touch-point sessions depending on your timetable and availability.

Contributors from both the University and industry

Each module on the unit includes contributions from leading researchers, both from all faculties across The University of Manchester and external to the University, as well as cultural and industry specialists representing a wide range of sectors. By engaging with a variety of experts showcasing the full spectrum of creativity and its applications, you'll benefit from a truly interdisciplinary approach that helps you to consider the role and value of creativity in your own studies and later careers.

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