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CTYI students celebrate creativity at lecture by Prof Jonathan Plucker

CTYI students celebrate creativity at lecture by Prof Jonathan Plucker

The Centre for Talented Youth at DCU welcomed Professor Jonathan Plucker, psychologist and professor of talent development at Johns Hopkins University, yesterday to speak about the importance of creativity.

In an inspiring lecture to CTYI students, parents, teachers and alumni, Professor Plucker spoke about how to foster this highly valued 21st century skill and how to define it through a series of examples and activities that illustrate and model key creativity-producing instructional strategies.

Professor Plucker gave some advice on how we can become more creative.

“Firstly, everybody is creative. Some more creative than others but the research shows that creativity is something that can be improved. Everyone can improve their creativity and it is not that complicated to do.

Part of it is attitude and another part is productivity. We tell students to think of creativity as the lottery. You want to win the lottery with a big creative idea, the research shows you need to get more lottery tickets, get more ideas. There isn’t one famous creative person that had one big great idea, they have lots of ideas. The more ideas you have, the better the odds that you do really creative work.”

The lecture was opened by Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciaran Cannon, TD, who delivered a message to all the young students in the audience, referencing Eleanor Roosevelt:

“to all of the extraordinary people in the room this morning, please don’t ever stop believing in the beauty of those dreams, in yourselves, your unique talents, your opportunity to shape the Ireland and the world of the future.” 

“You live in a country that offers you every opportunity to realise those dreams…. I fully believe that here in Ireland, if you believe in the beauty of your dreams, anything is possible.”

In welcoming Professor Plucker, DCU President Prof Brian MacCraith spoke about the great buzz of excitement across campus every year when CTY students arrive. He also spoke about why creativity is a central part of DCU’s strategic plan and why there is such an emphasis on creativity in all its degree programmes and student experiences.  

“Even with all the advances in artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, Machine Learning, Robotics, there is a whole range of activities and skills that machines haven’t yet cracked: Empathy, leadership, initiative, critical thinking, persuasion, negotiation and creativity. This last quality is at the heart of human life and social development.  Creativity is the engine of innovation, the heart of Arts and Culture, it is central to a healthy society.” 

Almost 3,000 students with high academic ability and aged between 6-17 took part in this year’s CTY programme, attending a wide variety of classes including medicine, criminology, advertising, vet science and architecture.

Director of CTYI, Dr Colm O'Reilly said:

"CTYI courses cover a broad range of topics in both the humanities and science fields. One of the binding links between all these subjects is creativity. This lecture highlights the importance of nurturing creativity in this group to help them to solve the big issues that exist in society today."

Professor Plucker also spoke about Creativity with Miriam O'Callaghan on the Sean O'Rourke show. To listen back visit

Pictured at the lecture are CTYI students Hugh Bowers (Medicine), Audrey Zhao (architecture), Cormac Hannon (Criminology) and Audrey Cleere (Vet Science).

31st July, 2019