Remembering a powerful advocate for creativity in education

On December 3, 2010, Sir Ken Robinson stood center stage in Winnipeg’s Burton Cummings Theatre and delivered an unforgettable keynote presented by the Canadian Network for Arts & Learning and the Manitoba Arts Council. Speaking on a theme of shaping the future for arts and learning, he immediately hooked his audience with one of his characteristic warm and witty observations, then proceeded to inspire the capacity crowd with a transformational vision for an education that nurtures rather than stifles creativity.

Our memory of that enthralling evening has assumed a heavy note of poignancy since we learned of his untimely passing at the age of 70 on August 21, 2020 following a short battle with cancer. The arts and learning sector (indeed the entire field of progressive education) has lost a brilliant, humane, generous and extraordinarily effective champion. He will be deeply missed.

Back in 2010, we were well aware of how fortunate we were to have such a renowned thought leader in our midst. His career as author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts was well-known and highly respected. For example, his address on “Do Schools Kill Creativity” had already become the most watched TED Talk ever. Currently this video has been viewed more than 68 million times and features subtitles in 62 languages.

As we mourn the loss of this remarkable educator, let us re-commit ourselves to realizing his courageous vision. In doing so, let us be guided by his prescient advice, “What you do for yourself dies with you when you leave this world; what you do for others lives on forever.” Sir Ken Robinson’s life-long commitment to the welfare of children, youth and life-long learners will surely live on forever.

Larry O’Farrell
Chair, Board of Directors

A full biography can be found on Wikipedia or on