You are not Creative


Participatory Creativity by Edward Clapp
Routledge, December 1, 2017

Edward Clapp believes that individuals are not creative; ideas are creative. While traditional perspectives reserved creativity for a select few, Clapp’s capacious view welcomes all to the creative process. This text reveals a systems-based perspective where creativity is socially distributed and involves the merging of individual agency and collective participation. According to this perspective, no one person is ever being creative or “doing creativity;” instead, everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the creative process with his or her unique skills and perspectives. Most important, everyone must contribute because creativity cannot be achieved in isolation. The development of creative ideas is “purposeful work” that is neither “fixed nor unidimensional.” So, for educators to foster this participation, we need to embrace social and cultural agility and thoughtfully facilitate collaboration. The latter is especially crucial because creativity is not immune to social tensions. Embracing Clapp’s perspective will help educators to build agency in, and a sense of community among, their students. Creativity, Clapp concludes, is “neither a spark nor a flash of insight” but a system that unites parts, people, connections, thoughts, and feelings; creativity encourages all to rethink how things, ranging from objects to speeches to organizations, are made. In dynamically reframing innovation, this text assists educators in providing a more equitable creative learning experience for all.

Submitted By: Sarah Shepherd, Ed.M. Candidate, Klingenstein Center, New York, NY

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  1. Lisa Bostwick | Jan 31, 2017

    This sounds like a strong guide book for curriculum design. If you are ever in San Francisco I'd love to have coffee. My interest in design thinking is coupled with years and years of successful art teaching. Looking forward to purchasing the book when it becomes available.


    Lisa Bostwick

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