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Behind the Scenes of Artistic Creativity

Processes of Learning, Creating and Organising

Tatiana Chemi, Julie Borup Jensen and Lone Hersted

Throughout the literature of creative learning, many assumptions and even stereotypes about the artists’ creativity are nurtured, often according to myths going back to the Romanticism. The authors have been investigating and describing outstanding artists’ creativity and learning/working processes, asking the question: how do artists create, learn, and organise their work? This book explores these questions by means of original empirical data (interviews with 22 artists) and theoretical research in the field of the arts and creativity from a learning perspective. Findings shed an original light on how artists learn and create, and how their creative learning and change processes come about, for instance when facilitating and leading creative processes.
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Chapter 2: Artists defining creativity


This chapter deals with the artists’ own definitions of creativity. We asked them to define creativity in the ways they understand it in their own practice and according to their own values and experience. Their responses were various and express broad perspectives on creativity and its connection with the arts. Their diverse takes on creativity and their sundry approaches to the very task of defining creativity directed our attention to a couple of straightforwardly related implications: the artists’ effort in defining creativity at all, and the conceptualisation of art as a form of language.

Meeting definitional challenges

When met with the challenge of defining creativity, our artists started by emphasising the effort involved in such an enterprise. Some of them even reacted strongly to the broadly open question “what is creativity for you?” For instance theatre director Kirsten Dehlholm tried to quickly liquidate the task with a matter-of-fact reply: “Creativity is creativity”. Others laughed, raised their eyebrows or got perplexed at the impossibility of definition. Musicians from The Mira Quartet admitted that they never use this word and that they do not feel any connection to it, but still they can understand that looking at their work “from the outside” it can be defined as creative. Designer Rosan Bosch spoke of a sort of “unconscious creativity” because “it’s not something you think of in your daily life”. As a creative maker she is involved in the process of crafting and does not engage in...

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