Observe uniquelyImagine more vividly

I'm a curious visual-thinking specialist, facilitator of tailored learning programs and a passionate observer. I created an iterative, modular framework to help people learn better.

“M. Seth Jones demonstrated the deepest knowledge and understanding of Photoshop and digital image editing that I have yet encountered in a colleague.”

Mark Galer

Adobe and Sony α Ambassador

Essential Skills series co-author

Over the past eleven years I've delivered more than 2000 tailored workshop sessions to just north of 1000 students, scattered across 35 different countries. Sharing my specialist insights on the art of creative representation, I've helped learners utilise visual thinking to challenge both themselves and their medium, enhancing their abilities to translate the notional into the concrete.

I've delivered this tailored training to organisations like the BBC, ABC, Rolex, RMIT University, Ogilvy, Adelaide University, Australian Centre for Photography, Photography Studies College and MYER. Developing programs with senior staff and delivering them to production artists, I gradually began to expand the potential of my teaching beyond simply instruction. Working closely with individuals one-on-one and organisations of all sizes spanning a range of varying industries, the complexity of each and every group at an individual learner level became the biggest obstacle for traditional instructor-centred training.

Learning how others learn

From vastly different social and cultural backgrounds, to being at wildly varying stages of their lives and careers, every individual learner required a unique approach to address their learning needs. My role put me in a unique position to emphasise open communication over closed instruction, to listen to what both organisations and individuals had been struggling with.

Understanding more about how they had learned in the past, meant that I could help them disrupt the established patterns that would limit their capacity to learn in the future. Through this process of helping people to learn better, I was able to gain unique insights into how individuals not only learn, but think about the act of learning, specifically with more abstract fields like creative expression and visual representation.

Encouraging iterative learning

Further to this, many learners I worked with were increasingly getting the majority of their instruction from online sources: scripted, pre-recorded, static classes that did well to address a discrete topic, but often did little to encourage iterative learning. As I worked closer with more online and tutorial learners, I discovered many of them had not discovered how to transfer their learning beyond the discrete topic.

Creative learners were assembling their personal workflow habits from hundreds of detached, often conflicting sources. Instant access to a seemingly infinite supply of simplified, single-serving online tutorials meant that individual workflows were less likely to be designed cohesively. Instead they had been assembled by layering discrete, disjointed techniques progressively until a task had been completed.

Rather than attempt to dismantle everything they had learned, I focused instead on helping students construct a more cohesive workflow that seamlessly integrated all the disparate techniques they had learned. To do this, I needed to interrelate all their discrete approaches into a unifying principle. I needed to learn how to better encourage iterative learning.

The Engine of Creativity

Based on my successes (and failures!) facilitating these sessions, I started to believe it was possible to encourage deeper reflection and promote natural curiosity through the mechanical techniques of creative visual media practises. Incorporating all of this into a fluid, modular learning framework, students were exploring the underlying principles of visually imaginative creativity, deriving unique interpretations of how to interrelate these insights with discrete, seemingly disconnected applications. They began to question assumptions rather than using information to pad out their biases. I was using the art of visual thinking to refocus learners away from seeking answers, towards helping them learn how to ask better questions.

Through the application of physical, mechanical processes, Engine's fluid, flexible framework enabled me to more deeply investigate the conceptual principles of visual imagination and creativity. Interrelating these discrete ecologies, students began to condition what Paul Strand referred to as 'a free way of living' - a refined capacity to discover your own interpretation of the world, disentangling it from others feelings and established ideas. Strand believed this could not be taught or given to us, however I was slowly watching it develop in students as we explored lesson content, session by session. It was this quality, Strand felt, that fused with mastery of ones craft, to produce an object or an idea with a life of its own.

Through classes designed to refine the techniques and processes of graphically communicating the notional, students began to independently connect their findings to more than simply the task at hand. Iterative learning was being organically promoted, and I found that students were effectively learning how to learn better. Through teaching creative graphic media workshops, I discovered the power of using artistic techniques and principles to promote innovative, lifelong learning.

Contact me

I don't prescribe to the notion that there is a singular 'best' way of learning. I do believe, however, that when it comes to authentic, meaningful learning, what you learn matters less than how you learn it. The Engine of Creativity is my approach to teaching, the method I use to help people learn better. Innovate and Thrive are not the only workshops you'll ever need, but because of the way I've designed them, and the manner in which I deliver them, they should help you get more out of every other workshop, brief, meeting, pitch, proposal and conversation, every personal and professional insight you've uncovered in the past, and any more you discover in the future.

If you would like to learn more about how the Engine of Creativity can help you or your organisation, or want to discuss how I can tailor Innovate or Thrive to your specific needs, send me an email.

“M. Seth Jones demonstrated the deepest knowledge and understanding of Photoshop and digital image editing that I have yet encountered in a colleague.”

Mark Galer

Adobe and Sony α Ambassador

Essential Skills series co-author