Creativity can strike at any time, and can even be borne of nightmares

Our increasingly complex and interconnected world needs creative thinkers now more than any other time in human history.

According to Professor Liane Gabora who runs a research lab studying creative processes ‘in times of change we need to bump up creativity levels — to generate the innovative ideas that will keep us afloat’. Creativity often comes to us not only in the ‘doing’; it is entangled in the ‘thinking’ about. It’s difficult to define what creativity ‘is’, and to say what makes someone ‘creative’.

Does one have to be an artist, a photographer, a filmmaker, an inventor, an Instagram influencer, a fashion designer, an actor, a creative writer, or a designer, for example, to be creative? No. One can be a scholar, a thinker, an activist, a scientist, a teacher, a carpenter, or a worker in the production of creative industries, for example, to be a contributor to the end creative product.

A commonality I see with ‘creative’ people is curiosity about the world and about others. Often our best ideas don’t begin perfectly. Creativity doesn’t exist merely in ‘end products’; it’s in the ‘in-betweens’ and the messy bits. It can even strike by waking one up in the dead of night with ideas as happened to Mary Shelley who birthed Frankenstein after a nightmare!

According to Professor Tara Brabazon, ‘the creative industries actively critiques the notion of high culture –the arts-- as being of intrinsic value…there is nothing in opera than makes it better than death metal. There is nothing in Beethoven than makes it any better than trance. Full stop’.

At the School of Communication and Creative Industries at University of the Sunshine Coast where I work as an academic in Creative Industries, students and academics work in and across the disciplines of Creative industries, Communication, and Design. Here we research and create in film, TV, feminisms, queer cultures, children’s media, creative writing, design, literary studies, drama, music, gaming, journalism, social media, and many more areas. We are often engaged in critiques of high/low cultural binaries, and use our creativity and critical thinking skills to create, advocate, and activate change in socio-cultural, political, and economic arenas.

I speak to many people who worry that they are not ‘creative’ enough, as though they are not authentically creative compared to others. Lose this pre-conceived notion! Work and play with your creativity. And be curious! As the late American poet, Dorothy Parker once said, ‘creativity is a wild mind, and a disciplined eye’.

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