Conceptualizing Creativity in Research and Practice

IAMCR Madrid

In this presentation, we will argue that creativity is (or should be) a broadly conceived benchmark for scholarly practice, studies and education, with a triple implication: creativity is a concept that informs what we are looking for when educating or doing scholarly work, it is a guide for the range of pedagogical and research methods at our disposal, as well as an inspiration for the kind of stories we can tell about our projects.

Creativity tends to perceived as either romantic, inspirational, or rational: as a mystical stroke of genius, as some kind of external force acting upon you, or as the result of hard work and commitment to the craft. In terms of politics and the economy it must be noted how the concept of creativity has been hijacked – especially since the late 1990s rhetoric of ‘creative industries’ and third-way politics – to capitalize on the romantic and inspirational attraction of creativity. Critically we also have to note how these views on creativity tend to ignore or bypass the distinctly networked, communal and social nature of creativity – as any creative act takes place (and is therefore produced by) a context (or caregiving, nurturing, challenging, pushing, encouraging, and otherwise instrumentally engaging others).

It is our contention that we have wrestle back control over the concept of creativity, and reclaim it as a crucial part of the craft of being a socially responsible academic. By way of example, we will highlight the role creativity plays in the work that we do in securing financing for our research, finding multiple ways to publish and disseminate our work, establishing a more or less healthy work-life balance, and embracing non-conventional students and pedagogies.

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