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We are delighted to announce the appointment of Laura Baxter as our new Creative Learning Director.

Laura comes to the SCO with over 20 years’ experience of leading creative learning and cultural engagement activity. She has led learning and engagement teams within several cultural organisations, including Denver Art Museum and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and has also developed and managed large-scale engagement projects with a number of cultural organisations, including Glasgow Museums and Historic Environment Scotland.

Laura joined the organisation earlier this month and will lead our award-winning Creative Learning Department. Laura kindly agreed to take a moment out of her already busy schedule to answer our quickfire questions and shares with us her early musical experiences, love of Japanese food and her happy place.

What was the first concert you remember attending?

I spent some of my childhood living in Detroit, USA and when I was six, I was part of the Wiggle Worm Club which met every Saturday at the famous Fox Theatre in Detroit to take part in live music activities. One of my earliest – and best – memories of the Wiggle Worm Club was a performance of Peter and the Wolf by musicians from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. I was transfixed by the musical characters of Peter, the duck, the bird, the cat and of course the wolf! Even now, when I hear Peter and the Wolf, I am transported back to Detroit’s Fox Theatre, sitting with all the other little Wiggle Worms…

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

I am a keen student and practitioner of mindfulness and my first mindfulness teacher ended every session by reminding us all to “be here now”. That reminder of the importance of being in the present moment – rather than worrying about the future or thinking too much about the past – is something I try to hold onto in my daily life.

What does creativity mean to you?

Creativity is, for me, about being curious and open to the unexpected. Curiosity leads to experiences that can open up new ways of thinking and being and doing – that’s creativity in action! The less wrapped up in thinking we are, the more we can notice and experience the world and all its possibilities. As a child, I was always asking why – and I think we all need to hang onto that sense of wonder and curiosity as we grow. It really is the jet fuel for creativity.

Creativity is, for me, about being curious and open to the unexpected. Curiosity leads to experiences that can open up new ways of thinking and being and doing – that’s creativity in action!

What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

Hit the snooze button. It takes me a little while to get going!

What is your favourite season of the year and why?

I love the Spring, particularly in Scotland, when there can still be snow up in the mountains but a riot of colour from the daffodils and bluebells that are starting to bloom. I also like the return to longer days after the dark nights of winter.

What is your favourite cuisine to make, or just eat and enjoy?

I spent five years living in Japan and developed a real love of Japanese food. I really enjoyed exploring the distinct four seasons in Japan through food and grew particularly fond of the sakura or cherry blossom flavoured desserts you could get in Spring (another reason for Spring being my favourite season). I also really enjoy Mexican cooking although I am a more enthusiastic than competent chef. However, I do make a mean guacamole! I was recently introduced to a Mexican-Japanese fusion restaurant – it was an absolute taste sensation and, for me, the perfect culinary combination.

Where is your “happy place”?

There is a beach near my mother’s house that is beautiful and secluded and a perfect place to sit for a while, whatever the season. If I am feeling a little stressed or anxious, I imagine walking along this beach and it calms me down.

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