Creativity

 

I am interested in the potential but also the challenges of co-producing our ideas of creativity, culture and economy. This sounds very similar to longstanding calls for interdisciplinarity, and perhaps more specifically for geography as a discipline to continue to take seriously the underpinnings of recent decades of cultural economic scholarship. Currently I am thinking about two areas in these terms; politics, and the potential of ideas of creativity to provide much needed re-thinkings of the idea of culture.

The relationship between creative practices and politics has long been contentious: holding both promise and disillusion for scholars, activists, politicians, economists and the “public” alike. Drawing together critical thinking on the politics of creativity from across geography opens out important dimensions of these discussions, whether this relates to putting policies into practice, the politics of creative labor, or the embodied politics of creative practices. “Culture” is acknowledged as a tricky concept, and in an era where cultural geographers recognize the need for critical reflection on the idea of culture, to enrichen these ideas by turning to other fields of geography – economic geography, and political economy for example – seems like an important opportunity.

Working with David Harvey and Nicola Thomas at the School of Geography, University of Exeter on an AHRC funded project that explored the Poetics and Politics of Cultural Identity in the Creative Industries in South West of England we responded to questions of  ‘what next for creative industries research?’ within geography. We did so by exploring the possibilities offered by an agenda based on situating perspectives offered by social and cultural geography alongside an engagement with the economic and political perspectives on this field.

Two ongoing areas of work in this field revolve around ideas of “curation” and “atmospheres.” Specifically, in relation to the first I am working with Brian Hracs, Melanie Fasche and Priya Vadi (RHUL, PhD student), to think through the intellectual co-production of the idea of curation. This involves bringing cultural geographical and art world theorizations together with economic and social perspectives on curation, to think about the value of such an expended definition of the practices, materialities, spaces and economies of curation. Secondly, I am interested in the potential of recent cultural geographic workings on the idea of “atmospheres”. This relates to concepts of curation with respect to the experience economy, but also to creative economic geographies of production, wherein “atmospheres” might offer new perspectives on concepts such as “buzz” and the creative climates of places, as well as Marshall’s nineteenth century observation of there “being something in the air.”

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Publication: Creativity (Key Ideas in Geography)

16 October 2016

Creativity, my contribution to Routledge’s Key Ideas in Geography series has finally been released in October 2016, with a sneak preview for those at the RGS in September. Thanks to…

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Event: Thinking Landscape: Data, Geography, Arts, Writing, Patterns, Collecting and Interdisciplinarity 16/9/16, University of Wollongong

28 August 2016

From data to drawing, to writing and collections of material culture, scholars and practitioners have long developed a suite of ways to think and imagine the landscapes and environments in…

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Creating Earth Futures: AHRC Leadership Fellowship

10 April 2016

On 1st March 2016 I started a new two year research project ‘Creating Earth Futures’, funded by the AHRC. The project is funded under the AHRC Leadership Fellowship Scheme and…