I’ve been doing what I do for a fairly long time. Along the way, I’ve balanced various roles: as a teacher, writer, researcher, adviser and speaker. I’ve directed and been involved in many initiatives around the world, with education systems and with corporate, cultural and community organizations. Here’s the formal version:
Sir Ken Robinson works with governments, education systems, international agencies, global corporations and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations to unlock the creative energy of people and organizations. He has led national and international projects on creative and cultural education in the UK, Europe, Asia and the United States. The embodiment of the prestigious TED Conference and its commitment to spreading new ideas, Sir Ken Robinson is the most watched speaker in TED’s history. His 2006 talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity” has been viewed online over 40 million times and seen by an estimated 350 million people in 160 countries.
For twelve years, he was professor of arts education at the University of Warwick in the UK and is now professor emeritus. In 1999, he led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government. All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (The Robinson Report) was published to wide acclaim. He was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, working with the ministers for training, education enterprise and culture. The resulting blueprint for change, Unlocking Creativity, was adopted by politicians of all parties and by business, education and cultural leaders across the Province. He was one of four international advisors to the Singapore Government for its strategy to become the creative hub of Southeast Asia, and the guiding force in Oklahoma’s statewide strategy to cultivate creativity and innovation in culture, commerce and education.
He has been named as one of Time/Fortune/CNN’s ‘Principal Voices’. He was acclaimed by Fast Company magazine as one of "the world's elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” and was ranked in the Thinkers50 list of the world’s top business thinkers. In 2003, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts.
His book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (Penguin/Viking, 2009) is a New York Times bestseller. It has been translated into 23 languages and has sold over a million copies worldwide. A 10th anniversary edition of his classic work on creativity and innovation, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative was published in 2011. Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life (Viking, 2013), also a New York Times bestseller, is the acclaimed companion to the Element, and provides readers with a practical guide to finding and developing their own talents and vocations. His latest book, Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education (Viking, 2015), tackles the critical issue of how to transform the world's troubled educational systems and is now available in 15 languages.
Sir Ken was born in Liverpool, UK. He is married to Therese (Lady) Robinson. They have two children, James and Kate, and now live in Los Angeles, California.
Honours and Awards
One of the great pleasures of being around a long time is that people and institutions give you awards and honorary degrees. I’m genuinely honored to receive them, though it would have been nice to have had one in my twenties, when I was struggling to finish my actual PhD and could have saved myself a lot of sweat and trouble.
At all events, I’m really delighted to have had my work recognized by the following:
2003 Appointed Knight Bachelor by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for Services to the Arts
2004 Rhode Island School of Design, Athena Award for Services to the Arts and Education
2006 Open University and Central School of Speech and Drama, Doctor of the University
2006 Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Companionship
2008 Birmingham City University, Doctor of the University
2008 Johns Hopkins University, George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America
2009 Rhode Island School of Design, Doctor of Fine Arts
2009 Ringling College of Art and Design, Doctor of Arts
2009 Aston University Birmingham, Doctor of Science
2010 Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Royal Society of Arts for Outstanding Contributions to Cultural Relations between the United Kingdom and the United States
2011 Gordon Parks Award for Outstanding Contributions to Creativity and Education
2011 City of New York YMCA, Arts and Letters Award for Outstanding Leadership
2011 LEGO Prize for Extraordinary Contributions on Behalf of Children and Young People.
2012 Oklahoma State University, Doctor of Philosophy
2012 Sir Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, Imagination Award
2012 County of Los Angeles and the HeArt Project, Commendation for Dedicated Service to the Community
2012 Oklahoma State University, Doctor of Philosophy
2013 Queens University Belfast, Doctor of Social Sciences
2014 Liverpool John Moore’s University, Fellowship
2014 American Academy of Education Arts and Sciences, Bammy Award for Special Achievement in Education
2016 Miami State University, Doctor of Philosophy