The Geography of Creativity
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The Geography of Creativity

Gunnar Törnqvist

What is creativity and who exactly is creative? In this insightful and highly readable book, Gunnar Törnqvist attempts to answer these questions by arguing that geographical millieux are hotbeds for creativity and renewal – places where pioneers in art, technology and science have gathered and developed their special abilities.
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Chapter 1: Prologue

Gunnar Törnqvist


Creativity made the world we live in. If everything not produced by the creative mind was taken away, we would find ourselves standing naked in a primeval forest. Every culture and civilization is defined by the creative heritage passed down to it.1 1.1 Creativity ‘Creativity’ is a popular word these days. ‘Créativité’ did not appear in Francophone countries until after World War Two.2 The same is true of other languages. The English word, ‘creativity’ was very rarely used before the war. According to The Oxford English Dictionary, it made its first appearance in an 1875 book about dramatic literature, in reference to Shakespeare. Alfred North Whitehead used the word in the 1920s speaking of God.3 Older texts relied on words such as ‘imagination’, ‘invention’, ‘discovery’ and ‘genius’ instead. The use of the word ‘creativity’ has grown exponentially. A Google search generates almost half a billion hits for ‘creativity’ and ‘creative’. Research on various types of creativity has blossomed. What lies behind these changes? Two 1 M2809 - TORNQVIST 9781781001509 PRINT.indd 1 16/11/2011 14:10 2 The geography of creativity interpretations, which are complementary rather than mutually exclusive, come to mind. The more frequent use of the word ‘creativity’ is linked to general social and economic transformation. Skills that we now associate with creativity were once consigned to the realms of philosophy and art. Innovative ability is nowadays regarded as a key source of productivity that pervades the expanding knowledge-based economy and requires marketable new skills. ‘Creativity’ has...

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