What is creativity?

  • Positive
  • Desirable
  • ‘A common ability enjoyed by most people'(Jones 1993)
  • ‘The making of the new and the rearranging of the old.’ (Bentley 1997)
  • ‘The achieving of tangible products such as works of art or science’ (Abra 1993)
  • ‘Creativity results from the interaction of a system composed of three elements: a culture that contains symbolic rules, a person who brings novelty into the symbolic domain and a field of experts who recognise and validate the innovation.’ (Csikszentmihalyi 1996)
  • As quoted by Anthony Storr ‘creativity has been defined as the ability to bring something new into existence.’
  • David Gauntlett described it as ‘involving the physical making of something leading to some form of communication, expression or revelation.’


It is also among other things:

  • Rule breaking and boundary testing but appropriate


The Roberts’ Report: Nurturing Creativity in Young People

  • ‘Creativity … should permeate everything children and young people do in and outside of school.’


  • Creativity involves thinking or behaving imaginatively
  • This should have an objective and be purposeful
  • Must generate something original
  • And the outcome must be of value in relation to the objective.


Questions [Banaji, Burn and Buckingham 2006]

  1. Is creativity internal cognitive or an external social / cultural function?
  2. Is it pervasive or reserved for particular domains of activity e.g. artistic?
  3. Is it an inevitable social good or capable of disruption or even anti-social outcomes?

They also suggested that ‘technological developments may well be linked to advances in the creativity of individual users.’


In the OCR Spec it specifies that creativity in media studies should:

‘Recognise and value the world and others in the study of representation of age, class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity’


Bournemouth University states that students on their MA in Creative and Media course should be able to ‘demonstrate the successful synergy of a theoretical position with contemporary media practice techniques in an original way.’


According a forum on Mark Readman’s blog a variety of respondents suggested that theoretical knowledge can actually hamper creativity. ‘Unlearning’ is the phrase they used.


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