In honour of Valentine’s Day, the day of lurveee 💕 in the West, which was *technically invented by Pope Gelasius I in AD 496 to commemorate the martyred saint who died on that day over 200 years before, we’ve put together a “How To” article on the value of creative questioning … specifically the question “What colour is love”?
Because, indeed, what colour is love? How can we attribute a single colour to something so human, so raw, so intense, so confusing and so magical, all at the same time?
Humans can see around one million different colours (each), and yet what is particularly intriguing is that research has shown we likely don’t see colours in the same way. My strawberry red might be another person’s banana yellow, for example.
Just like love, there is nothing objective about colour; research has found that our perception of colour is different based on gender, ethnicity, the language(s) we speak, where we grew up, our ethnicity, as well as national origin.
Most of the merchandise surrounding Valentine’s Day is red, but what if we were to reframe the norm, and cultivate our own conception of what colour love should be?
After all, there isn’t just one type of love. The love we have for friends is different from that we have for family members, our pets, loved ones, and even deep fried mars bars.
There is so much you can do with this one question: “What colour is love?” Bringing the question to life by illustrating a response through language and art does immense things to one’s creativity.
But the creative spark must come from somewhere, and creative questioning can be one way to probe the spark from learners. ⚡️
Creative questioning is used as a process to explore concepts to which there is no (right or wrong) answer. Academia defines this as “the process of exploring issues, objects or works through the collection and analysis of evidence including combining or synthesizing existing ideas, products, or expertise in original ways to answer an open-ended question or achieve a desired goal.”
When I posed this question to a group of teenage Chinese students, this is how the lesson unfolded (based on my own notes, as well as participating in the lesson alongside the learners).
Spoke about the time(s) we’ve been in love. Illustrated it. How did it make you guys feel? What images, symbols, words, phrases, colours do you associate with experiences of love? Colour-code different types of love. Write a poem. Dump all the words on a page and re-arrange them back into something with structure. Doodle and let your mind wonder. Revert back to why. Why are you opting for this colour? How does it make you feel? What else do you associate with that colour? Discuss and compare with a friend - are they from another country? Do you have enough adjectives in your vocabulary to express that emotion? Thesaurus. Revert back to the poem, add in another language to articulate yourself better. Finalise.
Below we have written a mindful writing exercise that we recommend for students aged 12+ (of any language abilities). Share with us your final piece of work and we will display it to our readers in the weekly, multilingual newsletter, The Olea!
Olea Mindful Writing Exercise
You will need:
2 x A4 pieces of paper
1 x A3 piece of paper
Scrap paper for doodles
At least 8 different colours
A quiet, comfortable space
Tea 🫖 and yummy snacks 🍫
Step 1. Write down the names of the 5 most important people in the world to you.
Step 2. For each of these special people, write down a) 3 qualities they possess that you admire the most b) 3 adjectives to describe how they make you feel c) 3 ways you love to spend time with them.
Step 3. On a separate piece of paper, develop your own rainbow of love, loosely categorised into the following: strangers - acquaintances - friends - special friends - family - significant other(s)
Step 4. Create a doodle / artistic piece to illustrate these 5 people in your life using the colours you associate them with, and the words you have written about them. There is no structure for this. Take some time to reflect on your notes and let your thoughts guide you. Start over as many times as you need to.
If you’re feeling good vibes in the lurveee headspace, we recommend blasting Billy Ocean’s “What is the colour of love” on repeat
Olea Education Ltd.