Affectivating environments in creative work

Vlad Petre Glaveanu

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Creativity has been traditionally understood in psychology as an individual, cognitive process leading to the generation of notable, oftentimes revolutionary, creations. In this perspective of the phenomenon there is little space for an ‘environment’ or a ‘world’ outside the creator and also for affect outside of creative cognition. And yet this presentation will argue that processes of affectivating environments are situated at the core of creative production by means of relating creators to their context (the role of affect) and activating both creator and context through their relationship. Illustrations of these processes are offered from a study of craft creativity, more specifically the decoration of Easter eggs by Romanian folk artists in the historical region of Bucovina. Decorators learn their art through social interaction and observing their environment which is symbolically rich in ornaments commonly used for adorning houses, costumes, carpets, etc. This environment however is not only observed but ‘lived’ through by artisans, experienced emotionally since their work of decoration requires a strong bond with the materials and traditions specific for their community. Such a bond is primarily affective, not cognitive, as demonstrated by the fact that knowledge about the exact symbols of decoration is secondary to what artisans call ‘working with soul’, the quality of investing oneself into the artistic activity of decoration. This quality is considered in fact to be the characteristic feature of creativity by folk artists and a guarantee of their meaningful and experiential relation to the world surrounding them. Affectivating is consequently not only a process of constructing oneself through the world but also establishes the premise for constructing the world through the creative engagement of the self.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventDialogue and Debate in the making of Theoretical Psychology , Santiago, Chile - Santiago, Chile
Duration: 3 May 20137 May 2013
Conference number: 15th Biennial ISTP Conference


ConferenceDialogue and Debate in the making of Theoretical Psychology , Santiago, Chile
Number15th Biennial ISTP Conference

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