In memory of

Sir Ken Robinson PhD.

1950 - 2020

Sir Ken Robinson by Alexandra Dao

"I’ve been doing what I do for a fairly long time. Along the way, I’ve balanced various roles: as a teacher, writer, researcher, adviser and speaker. I’ve directed and been involved in many initiatives around the world, with education systems and with corporate, cultural and community organizations. Here’s the formal version:"

Life's Work:

Sir Ken Robinson worked with governments, education systems, international agencies, global corporations and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations to unlock the creative energy of people and organizations. He led national and international projects on creative and cultural education in the UK, Europe, Asia and the United States. The embodiment of the prestigious TED Conference and its commitment to spreading new ideas, Sir Ken Robinson is the most watched speaker in TED’s history. His 2006 talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity” has been viewed online over 60 million times and seen by an estimated 380 million people in 160 countries.

For twelve years, he was professor of arts education at the University of Warwick in the UK before becoming professor emeritus.  In 1999, he led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government. All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (The Robinson Report) was published to wide acclaim. He was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, working with the ministers for training, education enterprise and culture. The resulting blueprint for change, Unlocking Creativity, was adopted by politicians of all parties and by business, education and cultural leaders across the Province. He was one of four international advisors to the Singapore Government for its strategy to become the creative hub of Southeast Asia, and the guiding force in Oklahoma’s statewide strategy to cultivate creativity and innovation in culture, commerce and education.

He was named as one of Time/Fortune/CNN’s ‘Principal Voices’. He was acclaimed by Fast Company magazine as one of “the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” and was ranked in the Thinkers50 list of the world’s top business thinkers.  In 2003, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts. Sir Ken was also delighted to be involved in many wonderful organisations and charities, and was a Patron of the Lynne and Land FoundationThe PlaceThink EqualEarlyartsThe Institute of ImaginationDaDaFestEverton Free School and Sixth Form College, Darcey Bussell’s DDMix and the Polka Theatre. He was a Board Member of MindUp and an Eden Project Ambassador.

His book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (Penguin/Viking, 2009) is a New York Times bestseller. It has been translated into 23 languages and has sold over a million copies worldwide. A 10th anniversary edition of his classic work on creativity and innovation, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative was published in 2011. Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life (Viking, 2013), also a New York Times bestseller, is the acclaimed companion to The Element, and provides readers with a practical guide to finding and developing their own talents and vocations. His subsequent book, Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education (Viking, 2015), tackles the critical issue of how to transform the world’s troubled educational systems and is now available in 15 languages. Sir Ken’s latest book, You, Your Child, and School: Navigating Your Way to the Best Education (Viking, 2018) is an essential read for all parents to help get their children the education they really need for a happy and productive life.

In the years before he passed away, Sir Ken had been working on a manifesto – a short book that would pull together all of his key arguments and serve as a call to action for the education revolution he spent his life advocating for.

His wish was for his daughter Kate to complete the book after his passing, and that it be published posthumously. We are so proud that this manifesto, ‘Imagine if… Creating A Future For Us All’, was be published by Penguin on March 1st 2022, and is now available to purchase.

"One of the great pleasures of being around a long time is that people and institutions give you awards and honorary degrees. I’m genuinely honored to receive them, though it would have been nice to have had one in my twenties, when I was struggling to finish my actual PhD and could have saved myself a lot of sweat and trouble. At all events, I’m really delighted to have had my work recognized by the following:"

Honours & Awards:

2003     Appointed Knight Bachelor by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for Services to the Arts

2004     Rhode Island School of Design, Athena Award for Services to the Arts and Education

2006     Open University and Central School of Speech and Drama, Doctor of the University

2006     Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Companionship

2008     Birmingham City University, Doctor of the University

2008     Johns Hopkins University, George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America

2009     Rhode Island School of Design, Doctor of Fine Arts

2009     Ringling College of Art and Design, Doctor of Arts

2009     Aston University Birmingham, Doctor of Science

2010     Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Royal Society of Arts for Outstanding Contributions to Cultural Relations between the United Kingdom and the United States

2011     Gordon Parks Award for Outstanding Contributions to Creativity and Education

2011     City of New York YMCA, Arts and Letters Award for Outstanding Leadership

2011     LEGO Prize for Extraordinary Contributions on Behalf of Children and Young People

2012     Oklahoma State University, Doctor of Philosophy

2012     Sir Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, Imagination Award

2012     County of Los Angeles and the HeArt Project, Commendation for Dedicated Service to the Community

2012     Oklahoma State University, Doctor of Philosophy

2013     Queens University Belfast, Doctor of Social Sciences

2014     Liverpool John Moore’s University, Fellowship

2014     American Academy of Education Arts and Sciences, Bammy Award for Special Achievement in Education

2016     Miami State University, Doctor of Philosophy

2019     Nelson Mandela Changemaker Award for Global Impact

Projects & Partnerships:

Sir Ken advised and worked with projects, education systems, governments, companies and cultural organizations around the world.Previous partnerships include:

Speaking & Events:

Sir Ken made time whenever he could to speak at events and conferences on issues related to his main areas of work. You can watch some of his talks by clicking on the video gallery

Sir Ken’s daughter Kate, co-founder of Nevergrey, is an international education consultant and speaker on a range of topics that are in line with Sir Ken’s work and legacy.

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