Creativity and arts policy

Has [creativity] become yet another specious item of jargon?

This question, posed by Negus and Pickering’s article creativity and cultural production (International Journal of Cultural Policy volume 6 number 2, 2000) was a key inspiration for my work on creativity. The end point of my creativity research, which was conducted in collaboration with Taryn Bloom, is summarised in Creatvitiy and arts policy, published in the Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society, volume 34, number 2, 2004:

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Creativity, health and arts advocacy

This paper, written with Taryn Bloom and published in the International Journal of Cultural Policy, volume 10, number 2, 2004, builds on the ideas outlined in Advocating Creativity. The themes explored in the paper are:
1.    The links between artistic creativity and therapeutic benefit.
2.    Arts advocacy, or more specifically arguing for government support of the arts.
3.    Strategic issues surrounding arts advocacy.

As with our previous research, this paper challenges the dominant view that creativity is about new ideas (the ‘invention-cognition’ view of creativity). The paper argues that this view is too narrow to be representative of artistic creativity, as it downplays emotions and traditions that are integral to a full understanding of artistic creativity. The paper pursues what it means to recognise that artistic creativity involves emotions, or ‘affect’ by reviewing evidence from the art therapy literature.

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Advocating Creativity

This paper, written with Taryn Bloom and published in the International Journal of Cultural Policy, volume 7, number 3, 2001, brings together three aspects of my research at the time:

  1. The links between art and creativity
  2. Arts advocacy, or more specifically arguing for government support of the arts
  3. The economics of the arts

The paper examines how the concept of creativity is used by to advocating government expenditure on the arts. It  paraphrases the main creativity argument used by arts advocates – that, through encouraging creativity, the arts encourage innovation and economic growth. It then critically examines the argument, first by clarifying what creativity is and how it relates to art, then by evaluating the argument against theory and evidence from Psychology and Economics. The argument is found to be weakened both by a lack of ‘hard’ evidence and by the way in which it is used by arts advocates. The analysis suggests ways in which arts advocates can improve the persuasiveness of their creativity arguments and provides insights into the design and delivery of arts policies.

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