Awakening Skills

At the end of last year Star Wars: The Force Awakens became the UK’s biggest film of 2015 in just 16 days of release. It took a whopping £94.06 million and could become one of the biggest selling films of all time. As parent and child share moments of nostalgia and new discovery at cinema screens across the country, it is important to look beyond the screen at how these films are made. Why? Because it gives us a clue of the types of skills children and young people might need in the future.

To give us more of indication of its importance we needn’t look further than the UK based visual effects company Double Negative, whose repertoire of films include the Harry Potter series and James Bond’s Skyfall. On their website they state: “From a skills point of view, working within Visual Effects combines, maths, science, engineering and computer technologies, alongside artistic, creative and problem-solving skills, as well as a lot of teamwork”. They also dedicate space on their site to learning resources.

Double Negative is part of the UK’s creative industries generating £76.9bn a year to our economy. Film alongside industries like games, music, TV, craft and architecture are increasingly requiring not just one skill but multiple skills fused together to enable complex ideas to become reality.

When Rey takes the controls of the Millennium Falcon in the Force Awakens, the audience is confronted with a thrilling chase across her planet Jakku. To create it a host of multi skilled people came together to work as a team and to problem solve the challenges of creating such a visually rich scene. From script writing to concept art, animation to the mathematical equations needed to engineer such effects, it is becoming clear that learning skills across the arts and sciences and being able to fuse these skills will not only be important for a creative career but new emerging careers and industries that have yet to be invented.

At the Institute of Imagination we run Imagination Lab, a series of interactive spaces and events that provide touch points for children and their carers to try out new technologies or learn new skills not in isolation but alongside a broad range of creative, computational and scientific subjects.

You can come along to one of our events in 2016 but if you can’t wait then here are some ideas for children, with their carers and parents, to have a go at apply multiple skills.


Coding and visual storytelling

Continuing with the Star Wars theme here are great set of puzzles to get you thinking about coding, problem solving and visual galaxy building! You can progress to a tool called Scratch once you feel ready to create your own narratives and images.


Making and mathematics

Our friends over a MakerCamp have lots of making activities including hand crafted games like Marble Drop. Get crafty and use your making and mathematic skills to create this classic game.


Making and sciences

Sylvia’s super awesome maker show is a great online channel that brings together crafts with technology and sciences. There are lots of ideas to get creative and imaginative including Sylvia’s Cardboard Periscope and Sylvia’s Squishy Circuits.

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