Wednesday, July 15, 2009

[Yasmin_discussions] How drafts reveal the creative process?

Dear All,

I've been a member of this list for a while, and have a question about
the creative process which might be of interest. Apologies for
cross-posting to New Media Curating, if you got a dupe.

Many of us believe that creative works are generated by the artist in
a flash of insight, a special moment when the work appears in the mind
fully formed.  Then, all the artist has to do is execute this vision,
using the techniques of his or her medium.  But is this really how
creativity works? There have been many in-depth studies of the
creative process in recent decades. These studies have used methods of
biography, of history, and of empirical observation.  All of these
studies show that this "flash of insight" view is false.  Artists
start working without a fully-formed vision or plan for the final
work; the work changes dramatically, often more than once, during the
work; and what we see at the end is something that has emerged from
the process of working with the medium, a process that has many drafts
along the way. Artists generate works over long periods of time, with
many smaller "mini insights" occurring to them along the way.  The
best way to understand this process is to examine closely snapshots of
the work as it unfolds: by looking at drafts.

To educate the general public and students about creativity, my
colleagues and I are planning a new online exhibit about drafts. We
may lose ourselves in a gripping novel, get goose bumps from an
historical speech, or become mesmerized by a brilliantly composed
symphony, but most people give little thought to the creative process
that fuels great and lesser-known works in the arts, humanities,
social sciences, and sciences. Initial drafts and subsequent versions
of any work are where vision and skill combine to form the creative
process, yet even those in the academic, art, music, or literary
arenas rarely address the iterative process that shapes final pieces.
Exhibiting, interpreting, and evaluating the changes creators make
between drafts pulls back the curtain on the creative process, and
provides a sense of context, discovery, and invention for students,
educators, and the general public.

For our exhibit, topics are still taking form, and will include:
Governance: Political Speeches, Legislation, and Constitutions
The Arts: Visual Arts, Music, and Literature
The Physical World: Science, Mathematics, Technology, and Cartography
Other: Business Models, Military Conflict, and Architecture

* What do you think about iterative vs. a flash of insight?

* Do any particular ideas or case studies come to mind which are
illustrative for the public? (e.g., Gettysburg address, Beethoven's
ninth symphony, etc.).

* We are also looking for additional advisors on this project, with
expertise on various topics, please let me know if any possible
advisors leap to mind.



Michael Douma
Executive Director
Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement

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