Stirring up new ideas: Harriet Hand’s RTSG Project

By using her Research Training Support Grant, Harriet Hand, an SWDTP student, organised and facilitated a workshop to bring her research to life.

The project’s aim

Harriet’s research project aims to further our understanding of how creative thinking can be nurtured in the classroom. Over six weeks in March and April 2022, she held a series of workshops as a research event with a group of post-16 learners in Bristol.

The aim was to experiment with mapping as a method of making space for, and activating, creative thinking. Engaging with Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy and the concept of the rhizome, the group explored how mapping techniques mobilised properties such as connectivity, multiplicity, open-endedness and disruption as a way of making sense of ourselves in relation to the world around us.

Paper marbling

To mark the end of the event, the Suminagashi artist Sarah Amatt ran a workshop in Japanese paper marbling. Suminagashi means ink (sumi) floating (nagashi) on water and is a paper marbling practice that can be traced back to the 800s. The workshop became a way of intensifying the some of the feelings of movement, chance and open-endedness that had been experienced over the course of the research event.

As the swirling inky papers were gathered at the end of the workshop, students shared what they thought of as the ‘rules’ of Suminigashi: the beauty in things we thought had been ‘mistakes’, the unpredictability, the endless possibilities, of taking time, pausing, allowing the mixing of things to do its work.

Harriet also produced a video to bring together documentation of the artist workshop with traces of her theoretical and practice-based explorations of creative thinking. Watch it below:

This workshop was made possible by the SWDTP and RTSG funding. Bristol + Bath Creative R + D provided the workshop space in Bristol’s Watershed. The students were Aalia, Charles, Lul and Ramla from North Bristol Post-16 Centre (Cotham). Sarah Amatt’s work can be found at