Gallery: Innovation labs with SHiFT

Forty Marlborough College pupils recently participated in an immersive outdoor learning experience which focused on developing innovative thinkers and shaping pioneers for our future.

The event was led by SHiFT, a global collection of passionate teachers, designers, and creatives from around the world that inspire and empower the next generation. SHiFT uses unconventional approaches to learning by continually challenging the norm and breaking routine. This involves pupils taking a step out from their comfort zone and pushing their skillsets to the next level.

Over three days and two different labs, pupils were given a chance to work in teams that crossed multiple year groups and diverse departments in the school. The participants had the opportunity to collaborate in the unique environment atop of a Neolithic 4,500-year-old man-made mound located in the heart of Marlborough College’s campus. The day’s events merged the magic and legends of the past into the experiences of today.

Design teacher Jacob Kleinman Phillips commented, “I have experienced nine unique SHiFT experiences, and each one has empowered and pushed me to embrace many valuable lessons. This foundation has allowed me to be a leader of change and pass forward the joy of creativity and collaboration to the young minds at Marlborough College.”

The activities focused on the collaborative creative process and helped pupils find their voice, self-confidence, and build critical problem-solving skills. Every lesson builds upon another, allowing pupils to grow a strong foundation for learning throughout each day. In one activity, you could see pupils fully immersed, covered in paint, tasked with re-imagining creative solutions only using their fingers and the nature around them. In another, they were challenged to create transportation systems by redefining the means of communication and technology. They could even be seen searching for hidden clues throughout the campus uncovering clues to a creative scavenger hunt.

Jack Harper-Hill (SU Sh) explained “We learned a lot about ourselves in those two days; both were equally as good as the other, leaving us with great lessons that taught us skills for life.”

Throughout the three days, we also had an incredible lineup of inspiring speakers that came to impart their knowledge and perspective. Will Matthews, a teacher of Design and Technology and worldwide traveler, shared insights into exploring the wild ideas in design and how creativity is the foundation of your imagination. Maria Wheatley, a master dowser and geomancer, took a hands-on approach to teach how the Earth’s ley lines connected to historic sites across the world and how they shaped the stories of the past. Owen Foster, an educator and co-founder of SHiFT, captivated everyone around the campfire on the importance of having a mentor and how to be the best you can be by continually learning. Each speaker shared thoughts from the heart and truly helped fuel deeply engaging discussions and meaningful reflections.

Finlay Rees (TU Sh) expressed, “At SHiFT, I learned how to become a better person and not give up. My mentor [Owen] told me failure is the first attempt in learning – F.A.I.L. It’s not a bad thing – it helps you get better.”

For more info about SHiFT please go to

(Photos supplied by Victoria Tapper and the SHiFT Team)

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