Defining Creativity Podcast                  [October 4, 2022]

S1E14  A Social Work Program Director—Social Worker—Teacher of 
                  Social Worker's Definition of Creativity with:

Carlene Quinn

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Carlene Quinn is the BSW Program Coordinator for the Indiana University School of Social Work in addition to her roles as social worker and teacher of social workers. She makes a strong case for how creativity is immersed in every aspect of social work. Additionally, she taps into creativity as an educator and both sees and appreciates it as well in others as well.

“A social worker can’t be a very binary thinker, right? We work heavily in the gray—the 90%. We’ve got 5% on one end of extremely wrong and 5% on the other extremely right. So being able to work in that gray space where a lot of folks aren’t comfortable, makes it easier for a person to feel seen heard and valued.”

“In education, creative expression—any form of it—can be channeled well and I think educators if, you know, you’ve got a kid that’s creative and their brain’s just always doing creative things like reading or doing art or making noises, making songs or… to channel that is better than to squelch it, because squelching it is just gonna teach them they have lousy ideas and that’s super unproductive for everybody and so hurtful.”

“A lot of times when folks have challenges in their life, they fill like they need to fit a box, because that’s how we learn, right? If I ask people what the thirteenth letter of the alphabet is, they normally have to run through the first twelve to figure that out… Our brains kind of work to acquire information quickly is to put things in boxes so we can move on and store it away, but in social work we can’t do that. We have to constantly pull things from the past, new experiences, support and challenge tools that the client—we might even teach them if they don’t have, so that they can feel confident to use those tools as they need. And so social workers really do enhance a lot of those opportunities and I get to have the privilege of not only being a social worker, but teaching people how to be a social worker, so it’s a blast to watch.”

                                 —Carlene Quinn

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“[Social workers] don’t take things for granted because of what the folks we work with have been through, stuff that people should never have to deal with… so seeing the little things… It’s obnoxious, but I pull over for sunrises and sunsets all the time…”

                 —Carlene Quinn

“Social workers can often pull out those little things that make a person unique, that maybe they just have kept really kind of covered up and quiet because it hasn’t been safe."        

                                                                                      —Carlene Quinn