Handbook of Research on Creativity
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Handbook of Research on Creativity

Edited by Kerry Thomas and Janet Chan

In this timely work, creativity is not defined by an ideal, rather it encompasses a range of theories, functions, characteristics, processes, products and practices that are associated with the generation of novel and useful outcomes suited to particular social, cultural and political contexts. Chapters present original research by international scholars from a wide range of disciplines including history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, cultural studies, education, economics and interdisciplinary studies. Their research investigates creativity in diverse fields including art, creative industries, aesthetics, design, new media, music, arts education, science, engineering and technology.
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Chapter 3: Presences and absences: a critical analysis of recent research about creativity in visual arts education

Enid Zimmerman


Over the years, I have noted changing support for creativity research in art education from a high point in the 1960s and 1970s, to its fall during the 1980s, and now to its very recent popularity. Creative self-expression in art education was a child-centered approach that had its roots in psychology and was dominant in the field as early as the late 1930s and lasted for over 50 years (Zimmerman, 2009). There was an intense interest in creativity, both nationally and internationally, in the late 1930s and 1940s and continuing into the 1970s. By the early 1980s creativity research in art education had fallen out of favor due in part to the influence of the Getty Center for Education in the Arts with its emphasis on a subject-matter-centered pedagogy through attainment of skills and understandings in four targeted visual arts disciplines (art history, art criticism, aesthetics, and art production). In the late 1980s and early 1990s, art education research focused on community-based and multicultural art education. By the late 1990s, with the advent of an expanding technological and social communication environment, research in art education turned its emphasis to themes of global, intercultural, visual culture, and arts-based practices.

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