Picturing creative citizens: A collaborative and creative approach to empowering young change-makers

Willhemina E. Wahlin, Cymbeline Buhler, Chris Orchard, Belinda Paulovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Creative Citizen Project is a pilot research study that embeds methodologies of design within a pedagogical program aimed to creatively engage young people in impactful civic participation in their local community. In July 2019, 10 secondary and tertiary students participated in an intensive five-day workshop, during which they developed content for an exhibition that expressed their perspectives on the theme of ‘community, citizenry and processes of democracy’. In this paper, we discuss the Creative Citizen Project pedagogical model informing the workshop series, with a particular focus on how the collaboration of Design Thinking with Civics and Citizenship education supported the participants to develop and utilise empathy, uniting political knowledge with problem-solving skills to encourage what we are calling critical creativity.

The findings of this paper drill down specifically to focus on the impact that Design Thinking and civic education had on the participants’ confidence to engage in their communities. More specifically, we analyse and connect a range of data that helps to build a picture of this impact, including the content of the creative works by participants, survey responses, media reports and observational diaries kept by the researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalDesign and Culture
Publication statusPublished - 07 Feb 2021


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