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A question: Is creativity only for the artistic?

Photo credit: Frankie Cordoba on Unsplash

Is creativity only for the artistic?


There is only one answer to that question (which is basically how most of my friends see creative activity) and the one question I am fighting to try to help people see is just not true!

Artists are creative, yes. Craftspeople are creative, yes. Actors are creative, yes...

...Scientists are creative, YES!

Doesn’t quite fit, does it? Makes you think, maybe even frown or take a second read… scientists?!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will know that creativity is the product of problem-solving, thinking outside the box, making mistakes but trying again to create something you believe in or can imagine. My dictionary states two words: imagination and inventiveness.

With science, yes, there is a huge amount of knowledge and understanding involved, but there is also a huge amount of experimentation and exploration. Like any creative subject, in simple terms, scientists go through the stages of finding out how things go together and how when something “fits” it can create stunning results – just think of all the remedies and vaccines that have been developed over the last century – eradicating some diseases like polio, tetanus and measles, highly dangerous infections for children. Think about the fast turnaround for developing the COVID vaccine and how quickly the continuing research is creating new medicines. Without the ability to problem-solve and have the resilience to keep trying, scientists would not be able to achieve these feats. Are these skills not creative?

In these days, the word creativity is linked so much to the arts in all its forms, that we forget that we all have creative skills and whatever we do, we can be creative. The sooner we realise this the more confident we will feel about trying new things and stop worrying about making mistakes. It’s exactly what I was talking about in my recent webinar and what we want to develop in our children. We are not trying to make them artists, we are just developing creative thinking – and that can take them in any direction!

So, when you are faced with the question “Is your child creative?” (or even worse “Are you creative?”!!) the answer, I can tell you, is always YES! Even if they don’t like art or making, even if you struggle to get them off a screen, even if they spend all day looking for bugs in the garden and refuse to do anything else. They ARE creative and will be learning in different ways to explore, experiment and make decisions that might be wrong, but they will sort it out.

The serious bookworm will be exploring worlds beyond their home, whether that be imagined or real; the Maths fiend will be experimenting with numbers and trying out new ways of working with them; the computer whizz will be learning from making mistakes as they work out how to move around a screen and develop systems that create results; the garden explorer will be just that, an explorer – the garden is a miniature world they are experimenting with – can I make a bug house that spiders like? Will this plant grow here? Why does that butterfly only go to that flower?

Photo credit: Gary Bendig on Unspalsh

In our adult world, these children may become a book editor, a statistician, an IT analyst and a biologist. How many of these jobs would you call creative?

Now think about you. What do you do now? What did you enjoy as a child? Is there a link? Is there a creative link? It doesn’t have to be tenuous, I bet it’s there somewhere.

Happy hunting!

Share your thoughts in the comments and see you again next week 😊

Debbie x

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