everyday creativityExploring how WE are creative everyday.
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What is everyday creativity?
Everyday creativity (Richards, 1988) is a theory of creativity based on the understanding that we as humans are born with creative potential/abilities and that in our everyday lives we are capable of creating meaningful and original products and ideas that serve an intimate purpose for living and engaging with the world. Creativity in the everyday is manifested in our experiences; we express our EC abilities as we as individuals interact with our lifeworlds.
Runco suggests that all creativity begins on a personal level, only sometimes becoming a social affair, and that creativity is a part of being human (Runco, 2007). Although we are not always aware of it, we are creative in our everyday lives; "every choice we make in life is a decision and that decision has a creative basis" (Zausner, 2007, p. 76). We are more creative than we think. The theory of everyday creativity encourages a more realized view of the potential we have and how this is a trait we should use towards our further development.
Supporters of EC include:
  • Maslow, 1971, self-actualizing creativity
  • Richards, 1988, everyday creativity
  • Ripple, 1989, ordinary creativity
  • Gardner, 1993, little "c"
  • Runco, 1996, personal creativity
  • Craft, 2004, little "c"/ lifewide creativity

Why is it important?
Everyday creativity is based on the belief that creativity can be found in the domain of our everyday lives (Maslow, 1971; Ripple, 1989; Runco, 2004; Ivcevic & Mayer, 2009). It is not reserved for someone special, someone especially talented, or someone who is good at, say, art; it is for everyone, as it “concerns original and appropriate expressions in common life settings and interactions” (Ivcevic & Mayer, 2009).

Ruth Richards offers us this explanation of EC (2007):
  • It is everywhere and manifested within us all. It is not only about the arts/eminent creativity, but about new and flexible innovations throughout our lives.
  • It is beneficial- it makes us more alive, healthier, helps us grow and connect with the world. It helps us appreciate creativity in everyday endeavors.
  • It is freed from obstruction and is rooted in the ability to be open- the idea of openness towards experience and ambiguity. It requires that one is non-defensive and beyond self service, more integrated, and open to mind-body healing and inner unity.
  • It provides an overall happy path- a creative path of growth and development that feels good (!). It opens us to inspiration, brings deep self-knowledge/knowing/understanding, and adds meaningful contributions to life. It requires self-awareness, and acknowledges a “more mature knowledge tempered by childlike fun and joy” (Richards, 2007).

What is not characteristic of EC?
  • EC is not an “extra,” rather an essential capability for survival and ongoing development.
  • It’s not limited to special areas of life.
  • It’s not a light diversion from one’s everyday, rather a vital enterprise involving deep commitment and risk taking, resulting in possible personal transformation.
  • It is not simply focused on end products, rather a healthy way of approaching life through the process, the individual, and one’s environment. It connects us more meaningfully to our world, and it acknowledges that we can be actively creating or appreciating others’ creativity.
  • It is not an activity set apart from our being.
  • It’s not neutral, rather it requires deep personal reorganization and nonconformity, which can be challenging.

What roles do implicit/explicit definitions play in EC?
Explicit theories guide the exploration of implicit theories in that they take the researcher’s view of, in this case creativity in the everyday, and apply it to/compare it with what lay people recognize creativity to be in their lives. This balance of perception allows researchers to recognize commonalities in what creativity is believed to be, as well as recognize misconceptions about creativity. People have implicit theories about intelligence, wisdom, and creativity, and these theories are used to conceptualize these attributes and assess themselves and others (Sternberg, 1986). Our perceptions guide us and we act accordingly. Because of this, what we classify as creative, or who is creative and how, guides our assessment of creative acts, persons, and products. We may acknowledge some, and ignore others.

This is where implicit theories gain their power. For example, I have an idea of what creativity is, and so do you, but do these match up? I may find creativity to be one with the arts, and you may see it more with science or engineering. I may see an arts project as creative, and you may see a backyard invention as creative. I may see a mother fixing a meal from a limited supply of food more creative than a mechanic improvising with scrap tools, and you may disagree. Who is right? Why do we see creativity as manifested differently? Why do we value one over the other?

Enter the theory of everyday creativity. It acknowledges that all of these persons, products, and processes are creative- it is not domain-specific, rather a trait found in everyone. A tool. A way of living. A potential. But few of us are aware of the creativity around us, what it looks like, and how we are creative ourselves in the things that we do. Being more aware and awake is something that is required for everyday creativity to be embodied, which can be challenging- but who said living was easy?

It's time to collaborate:

Listen up friends! I have made a blog that we can all contribute to! As we live out our lives day-to-day, I want you to become more actively aware of human creative endeavors explored by individuals of all shapes and sizes. Yes, look for creativity! Or do you really have to? It may surprise you. You may be unaware of how you, your mom, your roommate, or your grocery bagger is creative in their everyday! With this, I want us all to share. Share what you have come to notice as creative.

Here's a preview of the blog!
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Hop on over to our class blog. Feel free to contribute images, narrative stories, videos, links, articles, etc. that you think contribute to the theory of everyday creativity. The username is my email (kingui@uga.edu) and the password is CRAMOND. Also, when you finish your post/searching through everything, be sure to log off so others can log in! We're in this together. If you have any questions- email me: kingui@uga.edu.

As of the 28th of November, over 40 entries have been made on the EC blog, highlighting individuals, products, processes, and environments that all influence everyday creativity and the development of creativity within different domains. I am so proud and thankful for all of the help with this blog, all of the contributions, and all of the support. Aside from this, I enjoyed writing and reflecting publicly about my struggles and my inquiries about creativity as it is manifested in one's everyday actions or thoughts or experiences, and how this is significant. I have learned a great deal about identifying EC- what it is, what it looks like, what it may or may not include- and how this differs from my opinions about it before the blog creation. I have broadened my understandings, as have I complicated them. But I guess that's what in-process really means, huh.

The idea that every individual has the potential to be creative within the everyday, and that creativity is not reserved for certain people, gives me great hope for humanity. I plan to teach for creativity in my classroom in the future (I move to Cortona in January to teach art to little elementary children) and to encourage students to be different, to try new things, to risk, to wonder, to imagine, to explore, to mess up, to make a mess, and to create things that make sense to them and are personally significant. To teach for creativity, I realize I must create an environment that promotes and facilitates creativity- it must be comfortable, stimulating, and energetic. I, the teacher, must model creativity in my everyday actions- something that I now have a better idea of, as it is manifested in everyday decisions, conversations, and choices, as well as my permanent mindset towards creative development and expression.

Richard E. Ripple, 1989:
"It should be observed that the notion of ordinary creativity, embodying the view of creativity as differing in level and degree and existing on a continum, does not deny the validity or investigation of singular acts of creativity at the upper end of the distribution. It may enrich our concept of unique, rare, or extraordinary creativity by emphasizing the distinction in degree rather than in kind. Viewing creativity as the special province of special individuals at rare moments in time has the allure of mystery and the attractiveness of observing "great moments in creativity." It leads little more than awesome admiration and is an overly restricted view of human resource potential from the perspective of an educational psychology of creativity."

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How am I creative in my everyday? How do I express this and what role do external factors play?
All this reflection of what EC is and how it affects our lives encourages me to reflect on how I am creative in my everyday, how this makes me feel, how this affects my life, and what it has offered me as an always-developing and changing individual.

I have already introduced my most obvious form of EC to you in our poster presentations, but let me again state how I find myself creative in my everyday and how this both has meaning, originality, and significance to me and my life... Food photography and blogging!

Let me just say that I love food, I love trying new things in the kitchen, and I get this from an honest source of inspiration- people and places around me, their love, and their role in sharing it with me.

I have found myself documenting various creative endeavors via photography, journaling, interacting with others, and drawing this back to theory and empirical studies within my research. I enjoy learning about works of art, no matter the medium, and I aim to share my art and ideas with others so that I can connect with others within the community. With this, I have created deep relationships based in authentic interests and joys.

I have found myself documenting various creative endeavors via photography, journaling, interacting with others, and drawing this back to theory and empirical studies within my research. I enjoy learning about works of art, no matter the medium, and I aim to share my art and ideas with others so that I can connect with others within the community. With this, I have created deep relationships based in authentic interests and joys.

The blog I have created highlights individuals and groups who work together to create and share their creative ideas, products, and processes, and how these come together to have meaningful significance and originality within a culture or environment. I like to gather examples from all sorts of domains, as everyday creativity does not discriminate against who, what, when, and where individuals create. Like I have stated, everyday creativity is for everyone, about everyone, and in everyone.

What role does my environment play? Let's just say Athens is home to some of the most fantastic food operations in the Southeast. People come from all over to eat and drink here, and chefs and culinary experts do the same. It's not just the experts that make up this decadent population- it's the individual efforts, the everyday people who contribute to this great movement of good food, good drinks, and good times. I find inspiration and encouragement in this theme, and I have been motivated to create and contribute my personal creativity.
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