Even a small own space can guarantee an experience of invigorating creativity during crises and insecurity, writes Senior Lecturer Risto Niemi-Pynttäri.

Creativity is nowadays understood otherwise than still a couple of decades ago. This traditionally arts-related mode of working, creating something new, was soon expanded to many areas. First, creativity was associated with ideation, then innovation: it was extended to marketing and new technologies. Now, however, we may have at hand the third turn of creativity, the need for healing and invigorating creativity.

The prospects have changed, security is deteriorating. We do not know if the outrageous war will be going on still in next winter, or in what kind of turmoil we will be due to environmental crises. If insecurity increases, it leads to regression, which is by no means creative.

The sense of security is a prerequisite for creativity, at least from the pedagogical and therapeutic point of view.

Admittedly, creative solutions can be generated in crises, but only where people have inner resources, sense of opportunity, and courage. But for traumatised, disappointed, depressed people, crises are dead ends that block their personal development.

It seems that the focus pertaining to creativity is changing. Especially the pedagogical concept of creative learning has been talked about. For example, Anne Harris suggested in her book Creative Turn (2014) that the third turn of creativity could take place in the field of education, in particular. At that point, she did not yet know about the current crises, nor about the need for invigorating creativity related to well-being.

When creativity is changing, its foundations are revised and reinterpreted.

In the current era of insecurity ”creative freedom” can be experienced as particularly essential.

I must admit that I have not fully understood earlier the meaning of well-being and security. These are similar to freedom; you feel the need for them when they are missing. If insecurity becomes a normal condition, free spontaneity decreases and is replaced with being on the alert.

The invigorating aspect of creativity may not reside in problem solving, rather it is about an experience such as creative flow. Interestingly enough, the term ’flow’, which has for long dominated the creativity speech, has now a denotation different from its original meaning. Flow, which referred to fluent but demanding action, is now expressing a personal experience. The outcome does not need to be particularly innovative; the most important thing is that the stream has carried along and the feeling of fluency invigorates the agentive person him-/herself.

From the viewpoint of invigorating creativity, a creative condition, which is usually understood as a state of mind, can be a quite concrete condition.

When one feels empty and having no power oneself, one can get it from the environment . This can be referred to with the term ’accommodation’ in the sense of activities embedded in the environment. It is free action where the surroundings have the function of invigorating creativity.

One might say that this kind of invigorating creativity is kin of free playing; it goes smoothly when the setting is free and unforced. By the same token, children will not start presenting their toys if the atmosphere feels threatening and frightening. But even a small private space is enough.

Risto Niemi-Pynttäri works as a Senior Lecturer of writing and literature at the Department of Music, Art and Culture Studies, University of Jyväskylä.


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