Light Your Creative Fire: Creative Thinking Through the Arts

Embark on a journey of creativity, kick-start a change or find a new way of making and being. No matter where you are, physically or metaphorically, creative thinking and practice can make your life richer and more fully engaged with the world. We’ll undertake activities in visual art, writing and music to develop our creative impulses. We’ll also analyze our own work and that of others, learning methods for balancing critical thinking with imagination and creativity. We will form a virtual community, and benefit from diverse creative insights and practices.

A $60 discount will be applied automatically for adults 55+.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Lisa MacLean $200.00 0 Join Waitlist

Schedule clarification: This is a six-week online course. It runs from Monday, March 8 to Friday, April 16. Each week, all week, you can study that week’s material, leave and respond to messages, and engage in course activities. You can do this at any time that suits you during the week; you do not have to be online at specific times.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • Describe elements of the creative process
  • Expand your ability to generate new ideas and discover new ways to approach and sustain creativity
  • Increase your creative capabilities by developing ways to nurture creativity and innovation
  • Apply methods to balance critical/analytical thinking with imagination and creativity
  • Develop new strategies of thinking applicable to all aspects of life
  • Discuss some of the important creative and innovative people, ideas, products and processes that have been foundational to contemporary life

Learning methods

  • Short readings, video lectures and PowerPoint presentations
  • Weekly hands-on projects
  • Online discussion

For Liberal Arts for 55+ Certificate students: you will write a reflective essay.


Week 1: Welcome to the Creativity Workshop

What is creativity? How can it be accessed and cultivated, and aided or inhibited? How does the creative process work? We'll explore critical thinking, the creative mindset and taking risks.

Week 2: The “Storm of Creativity”

How do we sustain a creative practice? How do we get past “the empty page, the blank screen” to a creative storm that carries us along with it? We'll learn about The Beginner’s Mind and how to turn off the internal critic.

Week 3: Metaphorical Thinking, Making Connections

“New eyes": making novel combinations, embracing unconventionality, exploring paradox and seeing opportunities in chaos.

Week 4: Non-Conformity and Creativity: The Creative Potential of the Unconscious I

Being flexible and spontaneous. We'll examine how creative people use and cultivate unconscious processes, random elements, chance and improvisation.

Week 5: Non-Conformity and Creativity: The Creative Potential of the Unconscious II

Breaking ingrained patterns of thought through cultivation of chance and unconscious processes. Surrealism, abstract expressionism and modes of new music.

Week 6: Creativity and Change

Discovering our strengths and interests, and our own unique creativity. We'll explore how and when critical thinking enables the creative process, and how creativity changes the world – both our inner ‘worlds’ and the world at large.

Books, materials and resources

You will access reading material using SFU's online course management system, Canvas.

Technical requirements

This course is delivered using SFU's online learning system, Canvas. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.  

To get the most out of this online course, you should be comfortable doing the following:

  • Using everyday software such as browsers, email and social media
  • Navigating a website by clicking on links and finding pages in a menu
  • Downloading and opening PDF documents
  • Posting, replying and uploading images to a discussion board

Accessing your course

  • A few days before the course starts, we will email you more information about the course and how you'll access it. You will also receive an email inviting you to access the Canvas learning platform (click on the link in the invitation to join the course). Once you’ve accessed Canvas, you can begin exploring the platform on your own. The full course will be accessible on its start date.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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