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Submitted by caroline on Sun, 2020-08-23 10:32

Farewell to our beloved Patron and champion of the arts Sir Ken Robinson

We are devastated to hear of the passing of our Patron Sir Ken Robinson. Sir Ken was one of our most treasured supporters of our work at The Place and of dance, its place in the world and within life and humanity. Skilfully speaking on behalf of this 'always least respected discipline within the arts', he was one of the most influential and important advocators for the value of creativity in education, proficiently arguing for a wider perception of intelligence, ability and talent outside of the narrow concepts within formal education systems. 

Sir Ken discovered The Place whilst living locally as a PhD student and became a life-long friend, ambassador and Patron, always available to listen and help guide and so deeply generous with his time and intellect. Only last year, he visited us for an animated conversation about the inherent value of dance as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations. His Cohan Lecture “Why Dance is as important as Maths”, delivered at The Place in 2016 remains the most watched video on our channel. His brilliant mind and quick-witted humour could engage and ignite anyone to listen and to discover the joy of learning. He shared his wisdom and wealth of experience generously, always curious, and always with tremendous charm and joy for life. He had an inimitable gift to translate complex ideas into the most delicious anecdotal amuse bouche, while effortlessly revealing great truths; every lecture, every talk or casual conversation a eureka moment of discovery that would enrich and transform the listener, that made you think as well as feel – and of course, laugh. That he used his great influence and esteem to advocate for dance and creative education was our absolute privilege – and now an immense loss. Our thoughts are with his wonderful family, his wife, children, and grandchild. 

"I first met Ken when with LCDT we toured in the early & 70s. He was in the Theatre Department at Warwick University at that time and was very taken by how we generated excitement in his students. Of course we were, as an organisation, exactly what he was teaching: a place where you could find your element. 
Although his message is clear, well understood and accepted by everyone who hears it, it is so easily forgotten in the comparative safety of academic marking and needs to be constantly reenforced. I hope someone else will take his place and continue his invaluable work." Sir Robert (Bob) Cohan, Founder of The Place

“Sir Ken Robinson has touched the lives of millions through his unique understanding of creativity, the world and of people. For many in the arts who have felt marginalised or misunderstood, Sir Ken made you feel that you belonged,  that you had a place and your work was needed. His philosophy on creativity and cultural education,  bought to life by his lectures that made us laugh and reflect in equal measure - are unparalleled and unsurpassed. Now more than ever, it is beholden upon those of us who benefitted from Sir Ken’s great wisdom and inspiration to carry forward his legacy about the importance of a creative life. We will however, miss him endlessly. - Clare Connor, Chief Executive of The Place

"I was so incredibly sad to hear the news that Sir Ken Robinson had died. He was one of the most inspirational creative thinkers I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to meet, and such a beautiful human being. I was thrilled when he agreed to become a Patron of The Place. I remember him sitting in my office when I asked him. I thought he’d want to go away and think about it, and suggested as such, but he turned his head and looked quizzically at the photo of The Place’s founder, Robin Howard CBE, on my wall, who had two walking sticks. Sir Ken looked down at his own walking stick and then at me, saying with a twinkle in his eye, that he thought The Place should always have at least one dignified person with a stick, firmly attached to it. Alongside his great intellect Sir Ken had such a great sense of humour - both reasons I expect, why he and Sir Robert Cohan got on so well, and why any time spent in my namesake’s company, was not only an inspiration, but almost inevitably full of laughter & joy. He will be deeply missed by so very many. My heartfelt condolences go to Sir Ken’s family and loved ones, from ‘the other Ken’." - Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp CBE, Director, The Africa Centre (former Chief Executive of The Place, 2007-2016).



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