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 8: Playing to the gallery: myth, method and complexity in the creative process

Chris Bilton


Cognitive theories of creativity highlight the complexity of creative processes and suggest that artists succeed in reconciling very different, even contradictory, ways of thinking and frames of reference in their work. Yet in the presentation of creative practice, artists are often complicit in the selective misrepresentation of their own work by markets and institutions. These selective misreadings of the creative process disconnect the creative act and the creative person from the contexts which give them meaning and value, resulting in a simplified, individualised portrait of the artist’s work. The chapter begins by reconsidering Raymond Williams’ concept of culture as ‘structure of feeling’. In the shift from ‘cultural’ to ‘creative’ industries, we are in danger of overlooking the important interaction between individual talent and collective cultural values highlighted by Williams. This shift will be considered in relation to the political rhetoric of the ‘creative industries’, the commercial imperatives of branding individual artists, and the self-doubt and evasiveness of individual artists.

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