Conceptualising Creativity: Methodological Issues

Clarity out of chaos....?

My return to England at the beginning of this week presented me with one inevitability; the need to analyse the data I have so far collected. Prior to this I was blissfully unaware of the pivotal role that elementary analysis will have on my whole understanding of my subject. The site of Surčin initially presented itself as a pilot study for the recording of the Belegiš urns. The preliminary data that I have now offers a chance for experimentation in the dissection of it. Analysis is proving even more challenging and mind-boggling than I anticipated.


I have already mentioned that each of the urns is different yet the same. The question now is how on earth can I draw this out of my data without my analysis turning into yet another structuralist study of stylistic variability?


The key I think is in the theory. Creativity is bound up with notions of conceptual spaces in the brain/body. It is my job therefore to pinpoint these conceptual spaces by extracting certain stylistic themes from my vessels. These are elements of the vessel that are repeated in their crafting, for example specific motifs or the presence of symmetry. These components I believe act as cognitive visual anchors or reference points for the potter to return to and/or deviate from. Currently, I’m still not entirely sure how this works and so for the foreseeable future will be scrutinising my photos/ drawings and written notes for each urn in the attempt to figure out how such visual anchors shift and what it is exactly that makes each urn different; it is not enough to just state that it is! For the moment I am ignoring the chronology of such stylistic elements; this will be incorporated at a later stage once I have my head around what it is that I’m doing.


I’ll let you know how I get on. In the meantime, any comments, suggestions or ice cold beverages would be much appreciated!


3 thoughts on “Conceptualising Creativity: Methodological Issues

  1. check out video – really interesting – Judith Schaechter: Surviving your Creativity
    also perhaps ( but ever so slightly more abstracted:
    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Creativity, fulfillment and flow

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