University of Calgary

Robert Kelly

  • Associate Professor


Author, educator and artist Robert Kelly is an associate professor at the University of Calgary where he is academic coordinator of the Collaborative Creativity & Design Thinking for Innovation graduate program in the Werklund School of Education and an associate professor in the Department of Art in the  Faculty of Arts where he teaches design fundamentals and art education. His pioneering work in the area of collaborative creativity, creative development, design thinking for innovation in education and educational transformation has been recognized nationally and internationally. Robert has developed and prototyped several courses and programs in these fields in teacher education at his home institution and as an invited visiting scholar at numerous postsecondary institutions in Canada.

His newest book entitled Collaborative Creativity: Educating for Creative Development, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (2020) makes the case for the educational imperative of the development of collaborative cultures in education and across diverse organizations to maximize the innovation potentials of design and creative practice in both physical and virtual collaborative innovation networks.
This work was preceded by his volume entitled Creative Development: Transforming Education through Design Thinking, Innovation and Invention (2016) that makes the argument for systematic creative development as an essential pillar of educational practice. This book focuses on how systematic creative practice is operationalized across the educational spectrum to enable a culture of innovation and invention.

As artist, his conceptual Minutia installation was exhibited a five university galleries across Canada. It consisted of eleven books of concrete poetry on lecterns, based on the sentence fragment “the first time I heard the sound of a page turning.” His other bodies of work include his painted, low-relief Concept of Raven series and his most recent “I Really Don’t Know Clouds at All” large scale exhibition of paintings. His new work in progress is a collaborative large scale, pop-up, outdoor installation entitled The White Noise Project that explores the hypocrisy of hyper-consumerism.

Robert is profiled on the University of Calgary’s Great Teachers website and has received numerous teaching excellence awards. He has been a featured national and international keynote speaker on the topics of collaborative creativity, creative development, design thinking for innovation and educational transformation across public and private sector organizations. He has presented his work on creative development in education at the OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development) in Paris, France as part of the OECD international educational initiative on creativity and critical thinking in higher education.





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