The Creative Learning Research Group at Aaarhus Public Libraries

Learn more about what our creative learning reaching group is working on!

Creative Learning is a playful, informal approach to education, sometimes known as Tinkering. If you’ve ever followed your own curiosity and made something - be it with popsicle sticks, LEGO bricks, or a computer - then you’ve experienced creative learning.

It’s a hands-on approach to learning by doing, and forms a foundation for Design Thinking. At Aarhus Public Libraries, design thinking is the main approach to developing the library itself. But we also want to invite citizens to use design thinking as a method for exploring new ideas and being creative.

Creative Learning activities are a good introduction to the basic principles of design thinking, because they invite people to quickly build and try out new things.

Tinkering in the library

With these goals in mind, the library space is turned into a design lab - or a creative learning lab - for the citizens. A number of experiments, workshops and prototypes have been run to figure out how to support this approach, and how to make it easy to get started so that all citizens get an opportunity to participate.

In order to bring these learnings forward and to establish a practice around creative learning, we founded the Creative Learning Research Group (CLRG, pronounced | clerg | ). The CLRG consists of 5 library staff and one PhD Student working in Aarhus Public Libraries, each of whom bring their experience facilitating creativity for adults and children with a broad range of technologies, from microcontrollers to paint brushes.

The mission of CLRG is to grow knowledge and expertise about creative learning in libraries by: · Studying the theory and practice of developing creative learning experiences, spaces, and communities · Applying these ideas to ongoing creative learning projects driven by members of the core team · Articulating and sharing principles for the design and facilitation of creative learning experiences in libraries in Aarhus, across Denmark, and worldwide.


CLRG: Sofie Gad, Rasmus Ott, Marie Pasgaard Ravn, Jane Kunze, Amos Blanton and Lisbeth Mærkedahl.

CLRG’s research is in the form of reflective documentation - notes, images, and video of people being creative - that we use to explore the practice of supporting creative learners. For example, in one discussion the CLRG team noticed that some adults feel intimidated when invited to playfully create something, saying “I’m not a creative person.” So some of our early research asks: How can we best support creative people who think they aren’t creative? Our aim is to share both our questions and insights with libraries across Denmark and the world.

We think this kind of democractic, curiosity-driven learning is important for citizens, and the library is the right setting in which to develop it. The library has always been about what the citizen wants to read, do, or think - and that fits very well with creative learning activites that invite citizens to tinker, build, and create things that are meaningful to them.

Contact: Amos Blanton