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7AAICC17 Contextualising Creativity

Module convenor: Professor Nick Wilson
Credits: 20
Teaching pattern: Ten two-hour workshops
Module description:

We can only really understand creativity in context. This module offers the chance to explore the ontological, relational, cultural, aesthetic, causal, instrumental, entrepreneurial, educational and future contexts of creativity. Particular attention is given to addressing the extent to which creativity in the context of the creative economy can and should be employed for personal, societal economic and social good. You will undertake a self-initiated creative project, reflect critically on what you learn from the experience of ‘being creative’, and ask whether we take creativity seriously enough, or, as some might suggest, too seriously.

Draft teaching syllabus

  1. Creativity in context – an introduction
  2. Ontological context – discovering creativity
  3. Relational context – individual talent or social creativity?
  4. Cultural context – creativity and culture
  5. Aesthetic context – creativity and the arts
  6. Causal context – when are creative constraints enabling?
  7. Instrumental context – managing creativity and creative thinking
  8. Entrepreneurial context – creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship
  9. Educational context – creativity and knowledge production
  10. Future context – putting creativity to work

Module aims

This module aims to:

  • provide a detailed understanding of creativity based on research from a variety of analytical and disciplinary perspectives and contexts, notably those relating to the arts, cultural and creative industries;
  • encourage an in depth exploration of what (and who) is involved in the process of creativity;
  • investigate the applicability of key tools and approaches in promoting creativity and creative thinking in an organisational context;
  • explore the extent to which creativity is (and could be) recognised and applied as a force for good in society.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, the students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a Level 7 module and in particular will be able to:

  • discriminate between the major analytical and disciplinary approaches toward creativity;
  • assess the problems and challenges involved with defining creativity and being able to recognise it in practice;
  • critically evaluate the usefulness and applicability of a range of creative thinking and creativity management tools and approaches used in an organisational context;
  • criticise the widely held view that creativity depends upon the particular talents and skills of certain individuals, recognising the relational and social nature of the phenomenon;
  • question the potential for creativity to be applied for positive benefit in a variety of contexts including education, the arts, policy-making, commerce and society in general.

Core reading

Indicative readings to include:

  • Craft, A., Gardner, H., and Claxton, G. (2008) Creativity, wisdom, and trusteeship, Corwin Press: Thousand Oaks, CA. Esp. Claxton.
  • Jackson, N., Oliver, M., Shaw, M. and Wisdom, J. (2006) Developing creativity in higher education, Routledge: Abingdon.
  • McRobbie, A. (2015) Be Creative: Making a Living in the New Culture Industries, Polity Press: Cambridge.
  • Puccio, G. and Cabra, J. (2009) ‘Creative problem solving: past, present and future’, In Rickards, T., Runco, M.A. and Moger, S. (eds) The Routledge Companion to Creativity, Routledge: London, Chapter 27: 327-337.
  • Sternberg, R.J. and Lubart, T.I. (2007) ‘The concept of creativity: prospects and paradigms’, In R.J. Sternberg (ed) Handbook of Creativity, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, Chapter 1: 3-15.
  • Stokes, P.D. (2006) Creativity from Constraints: The psychology of breakthrough, Springer: New York.
  • Wilson, N. (2018) Creativity at Work - Who Cares? Towards an Ethics of Creativity as a Structured Practice of Care. In L. Martin and N. Wilson (Eds.) Handbook of Creativity at Work. Chapter 30. London: Palgrave.


Formative assessment – a self-initiated creative project

Summative assessment - 1 x 4,000 word essay (100%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

 The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

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