My op-ed Using Tentacular Pedagogy to change the HE culture published on The Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE, 16 November 2022). Tentacular Pedagogy (TP) is an inclusive and heuristic (co-) creative teaching/learning praxis. It demands that creative arts in Higher Education (CA-HE) (and by extension, the arts and cultural sector) dismantle its elitist and insular structures and behaviours, to become more inclusive and more porous, and to mobilise its creativity and artfulness to pro-actively take on a leadership role and animate and learn from other species and disciplines (including and especially communities excluded/marginalised by Higher Education and society), to co-create positive change within and beyond the ivory tower and the arts and cultural sector, in order to nurture a more creative and compassionate future, amid a moment of multiple, perma- and omni-crises within UK HE and beyond. TP draws on various ideas I have had the privilege to rehearse and receive feedback on, including a keynote I gave in November 2021 to European League of Institutes of the Arts’ Teachers Academy (ELIA, with 300,000 members from 282 HEIs), and my film on BBC iPlayer on a neurofuturistic 2050 (How to Thrive in 2050!, 2021), as well as other explorations around the octopus-sy like this, this and this since at least 2017.

Citation: Tan, K.S. (2022) ‘Using Tentacular Pedagogy to change the HE culture’, The Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE), 16 November. Available at: 

Keywords: Critical Pedagogy, Creative practice pedagogy, Creativity, Higher Education, Leadership, Learning And Teaching In Higher Education, Artistic Research, Neurodiversity, Creative Pedagogy, Practice-led research in creative arts, Creative Leadership

Metrics: Views first two days: 273 views (between 16/11/2022 and 18/11/2022). Ranked 18 of the 374 posts viewed between 11/2022 – 11/2023. 


Despite calls for creative, interdisciplinary and equity, diversity and inclusivity (EDI)-centred approaches to tackle ‘wicked’ challenges, siloed, inequitable practices pervade the creative arts in HE, and HE at large. Drawing on emerging research about the creative intelligence, adaptability and resilience of the octopus, TP foregrounds creativity, neurodiversity (celebrating humans’ diverse cognitive/communicative processes) and leadership, to address EDI issues imaginatively and boldly. Inspired by the three hearts and 9 minds of the octopus, the op-ed will outline the ‘three hearts’ and 9Cs of TP. In doing so, and following artist-academic James Elkin’s call to use creative research to inform and transform HE (2009), TP rallies the creative arts to take on a more active leadership role in HE and beyond, and to nurture a more creative and compassionate future. TP thus takes on UNESCO’s call to ‘repair injustices while transforming the future’ by 2050, with a new ‘social contract’ that prioritises ‘human dignity and cultural diversity’, plus ‘care, reciprocity, and solidarity’ (2021). TP thus updates the mission of the study of art and design to develop ‘cognitive abilities related to the aesthetic, ethical and social contexts of human experience’ that ‘contributes to society, the economy and the environment, both in the present and for the future’ (QAA 2019).


Founded in 1966, The Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) is a UK-based international learned society concerned to advance understanding of higher education, especially through the insights, perspectives and knowledge offered by systematic research and scholarship. The Society aims to be the leading international society in the field, as to both the support and the dissemination of research. The blog has 187 followers and 500-1000 readers who are HE policy makers, researchers, managers and more. SRHE has 5,300+ Twitter followers.