[A]ll teachers know by experience that … creativity is a myth. The myth is generous … [a]nd as long as the myth functions, why denounce it? The problem is that it doesn’t function anymore. – Thierry de Duve, 1994
Dr Michael Newall assumes most art school teachers still understand de Duve’s antipathy. Yet, since he railed against creativity, talk of it has only increased – in culture, and in artist training. Influenced especially by the discourses around the “creative industries”, “creative” and “creativity” have come to appear in the names of programmes, faculties and institutions, and as requirements in programme outcomes.
In this session, Newall discusses three different senses of creativity:
• First, Duve’s “mythical” creativity, which still attracts many students to art schools, but can obstruct a student’s growth and engagement.
• Second, the instrumentalised – and monetised – creativity of the creative industries.
• Third, creativity that lies at the core of ambitious contemporary art: a capacity to develop new artefacts and ideas in which the communities that form around contemporary art can find value.
Looking at how these three kinds of creativity can be entangled in uneasy alliances and tensions in art schools, Newall concludes by exploring how the third kind of creativity can be protected, nurtured – and perhaps even taught.
Guest speaker: Dr Michael Newall
Dr Michael Newall is author of A Philosophy of the Art School (Routledge, 2019), which won the American Society for Aesthetics 2019 Outstanding Monograph Prize. His work spans philosophy, art history and aesthetics. He was Head of the History of Art department at the University of Kent from 2014–18, and Director of the University of Kent’s Aesthetics Research Centre from 2018–20. Currently he is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of South Australia, and Honorary Academic at the University of Kent, UK.
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