• Our Speakers

  • A Network of Expertise

    Over the past few years, GIoCT has invited leaders in schools, universities, research institutes, and employer companies to share their perspectives on creative thinking as advisors, trainers, partners, guest speakers, and mentors, etc. It is through these inspiring figures that we are able to bring together the best research and practice in K12 education that help to further generate impactful and scalable work in schools.

  • Prof Bill Lucas

    Chair of GIoCT, Co-Chair of the OECD PISA Creative Thinking Committee

    Bill Lucas is Professor of Learning and Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning (CRL) founded CRL in 2008 and Chair of Advisory Board of the Global Institute of Creative Thinking.


    In 2017 Bill was appointed by the OECD as co-chair of the strategic advisory group for the 2021 PISA test of Creative Thinking which will draw on the work of the CRL. In 2018 he was invited to join the Durham Commission on Creativity in Education as an academic adviser and was subsequently co-author of its first report in 2019. He is currently curating an online platform, Creativity Exchange, for Arts Council England. Bill is an international adviser to the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority in Australia, to Vinnvard in Sweden and to the OECD/CERI research into critical and creative thinking in France. Bill co-leads the Fellowship Programme of THIS, the Healthcare Studies Institute at the University of Cambridge.

    Russel Ellicott

    Head of Pate's Grammar School

    Russel Ellicott has been Headmaster at Pate’s Grammar School in Cheltenham since 2012. Russel started his career as a teacher of History and before moving into leadership positions. He is a National Leader of Education, serves on numerous regional and national education advisory boards and leads training for Senior Leaders and serving Headteachers in the U.K. and overseas.


    Pate’s Grammar School is an Outstanding school, currently recognized as The Sunday Times Secondary School of the Year. It is also a Teaching School, and committed to sharing ideas with other schools, developing the best teachers and school leaders and 'Nurturing Excellence'.

    Rachel Thorpe

    Headmaster of Alcester Grammar School and Former Director of Odyssey Teaching School Hub

    Rachel Thorpe, MA (Educational Leadership and Management), NPQH, PGCE, BMus (Hons), LRSM, is a highly experienced educational leader and head of Alcester Grammar School. Rachel was previously in post at Pate's Grammar School in Cheltenham as deputy head and Director of Odyssey Teaching School Hub include ITT, ECF, NPQ and CPD delivery for 140 schools across Gloucester, Tewkesbury and the Forest of Dean. She was also responsible for School Self-Evaluation and Ofsted, Staff CPD, Performance Development & Teaching and Learning at Pate's Grammar School.

    Sarah Thomas

    Former Head of Bryanston School

    Sarah Thomas was Head of Bryanston from 2005 to 2019. She read classics at Hertford College, Oxford, took her PGCE at King’s, London, and came to Bryanston after helping to run two of Britain's most successful co-ed public schools. She was deputy head at Uppingham for six years and before that spent 13 years at Sevenoaks teaching classics, housemistressing and heading the sixth form. During her 14 years at Bryanston, Sarah oversaw a number of changes, which includes a significant development programme on campus, the migration to an online version of Bryanston's distinctive paper ‘chart’ and the successful introduction of the IB to the sixth form. In 2015 the School was rated as excellent across the board by the Independent Schools Inspectorate. Sarah Thomas has been awarded Best Head of a Public School at the Tatler Schools Awards 2017.

    Edrys Barkham

    Former Director of Admissions Bryanston School

    Edrys started at Bryanston in 1984 as a one-year academic resident in Greenleaves. She left to do a PGCE at Cambridge and worked in the state sector before returning to Bryanston in 1991 as Housemistress of Hunter House, tutor and biology teacher. She enjoyed 13 years as housemistress at the 'Hunter Hotel' as it was known at the time, looking after the pastoral welfare of many generations of Hunter girls - probably some of the best years she spent at Bryanston. Edrys was Head of Biology during the building of the Sanger Science Centre before being appointed Senior Mistress and later developed into Director of Admissions. She helped to develop a more international intake into the school to positively reflect the global nature of the world our pupils will enter at university and for their careers.

    Prof Antonios Tsourdos

    Head of the Centre for Autonomous and Cyber-Physical Systems, Cranfield University

    Professor Tsourdos obtained a MEng in Electronic, Control and Systems Engineering from the University of Sheffield (1995), an MSc in Systems Engineering from Cardiff University (1996) and a PhD in Nonlinear Robust Autopilot Design and Analysis from Cranfield University (1999). He joined Cranfield University in 1999 as a lecturer and was appointed Head of the Centre for Autonomous and Cyber-Physical Systems in 2007, Professor of Autonomous Systems and Control in 2009, and Director of Research – Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing in 2015. He was a member of Team Stellar, the winning team for the UK Ministry of Defence Grand Challenge in 2008, and an IET Innovation Award in 2009 (Team category).


    Prof Tsourdos supported the Creativity Education Summit in 2020 as a key speaker delivering two speeches in learning and talent development in the field of engineering from a university perspective.

    Prof Benzhong Wang

    Dean, Beijing Shengtao Education Development and Innovation Research Institute

    Mr. Wang Benzhong is Chair & Dean of Beijing Shengtao Education Development and Innovation Research Institute with the title of Professor (Senior rank) in the national academic rank system. He sits as a member on high-level national educational committees, including the National Education Advisory Committee, the National Education Examination Steering Committee, and the National Primary Education Curriculum and Textbook Working Committee and serves as Deputy Director of the Advisory Committee on National Primary Education Information Resource Development.


    Previously, Mr. Wang worked as Director of the Beijing Research Department of the National Computer Education Research Center for Primary and Secondary Schools under the Ministry of Education, advisor to the Education Project Review Group and the Informatization Education Evaluation Group at the National Education Planning Office, and member of the National Expert Group on School Development and School Innovation of Five Northwest Provinces initiated by the World Bank and the Bank of Asia. He received the honorary titles of "Beijing Education Advanced Worker" and "Headmaster of Excellence in Beijing". In 2017, he was named “Famous Educator in Contemporary China”.

    Abigail Docherty

    Award-winning playwright, Lecturer at Cambridge University

    Abigail is a playwright, working in theatre and for BBC Radio 4. She teaches performance and creativity at ICE. She is co-director of the MSt in Writing for Performance which opens in September 2020. Her creative research interests lie in dramatizing the voices of women and children who have experienced high-conflict/war-zone situations. She was the 2012 Pearson Bursary Writer in Residence at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Her play One Thousand Paper Cranes won the Best Scottish Contribution to Drama at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011 and has been produced all over the world. Sea and Land and Sky, based on the oral testimonies/histories of World War I nurses won the 2010 National Open-Stage Playwriting Competition at the Tron and is published by Methuen Drama. She teaches Writing for Performance, Undergraduate Diploma in Creativity Theory, History and Philosophy and MSt courses in Writing for Performance.


    Abi has been a main contributor to the 2020 online creativity workshops, delivering talks and QA sessions for primary and secondary school teachers.

    Andrew Barnes
    Director of Technology, Bryanston School

    Andrew Barnes is experienced in the foundation stages of a new international boarding school and running large international teams both expat and nationals within a technology context. He has a proven tack record of delivering positive educational outcomes through the use of IT in a school wide context and extensive experience developing relationships with both local and international partners to enhance opportunities within the sector. This includes consultation roles for large international organizations on adoption of virtual learning environments and the use of mobile technologies in a wide range of different curriculum contexts (NC, GCSE, iGCSE, A-level, IB).


    Andrew has overseen the 2019 summit on creativity education as well as the teacher training in the same year and provided key support as one of the main speakers and a member of the organizer team.

    Prof Liu Jian
    Dean of China Education Innovation Institute (CEII)

    Professor Liu Jian is Dean of the China Education Innovation Institute (CEII) at Beijing Normal University and at the same time the founder of the China Education Innovation Expo. As someone who started his educational career in 1984, Mr. Liu has devoted himself to promoting curriculum reform and educational innovation for many years. Liu also works as the Chief Academic and Deputy Director at the Chinese Primary Education Quality Monitoring and Collaborative Innovation Center. He is Professor of Education at Beijing Normal University who oversees master and doctoral programs and thesis writing. He is Director of the Central Education and Culture Committee of Jiusan Society in China.

  • "Young people need more than subject knowledge to thrive - they need capabilities. A key capability is 'creative thinking' which is to be the focus of a new 2021 PISA test."

    — Bill Lucas, Chair of GIoCT, Co-Chair of the OECD PISA Creative Thinking Committee