The Creative Scholars Project is a weekly discussion group – hosted by the Creative Mind Initiative and the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts - which examines creativity as it plays out in the teaching and research of faculty and students across academic disciplines at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. These conversations are a critical engagement with our creative processes in our teaching, research, and scholarship. We are interested in promoting interdisciplinary and interinstitutional conversations about what creativity is, how to better foster conditions for promoting it, and how to translate these insights into more effective pedagogies for teaching creative process within our respective disciplines.
Latest entries
Quantum Walking by Guillaume Riesen

Quantum Walking by Guillaume Riesen

  I often go on walks to clear my head, but they didn’t always work as well for me as they do now. At first I struggled to truly relax. I became aware of a certain breathless blurriness pervading my walks. No matter how calm and centered I tried to be, I couldn’t rid them...
Playtime - How to Think About Games

Playtime – How to Think About Games

We just can’t stop thinking about games. Over the course of the semester, our discussions and workshops have centered on word games, board games, computer games, and how each has the potential to shift (or explode) our mode of thinking. Michael Stewart, lecturer in the Brown English department, employs Surrealist parlor games “to make the writing...
The Architecture of a Syllabus

The Architecture of a Syllabus

Kali Quinn and TJ Kalaitzidis floated a prompt: “When we think about learning, what do we love, what do we fear, what do we feel?” During a Friday Creative Scholars meeting, they challenged us to peer through this visceral lens as we mapped the architecture of a class-term. But rather than launch directly into a...

‘Mother of all dialectics’ — the push and pull of creativity

The pursuit of creativity can seem baffling. When you ask someone how she manages to “be creative,” you may hear descriptions of everything from an ephemeral burst of inspiration while hiking to a brainstorming meeting in a regulated office context. This isn’t just the fault of our fuzzy language around creativity—even in psychology, creativity is...
You can steal the secrets of this truly creative school

You can steal the secrets of this truly creative school

Adam Tilove is the Head of School for the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island. We at the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island pride ourselves on being an institution that “inspires creativity.” I was asked by the folks at the Creative Scholars Project “how” we do that on a practical level. Here...
Gained in translation: one student’s interdisciplinary discoveries

Gained in translation: one student’s interdisciplinary discoveries

Hanna McPhee is Brown senior, completing an independent concentration in “Biologically Inspired Design.” Her thesis explores the scientific process alongside design methods with the goal of finding a more holistic approach to problem solving for interdisciplinary collaborations.  I am sitting across the table from my thesis advisor. We stare at one another in silence, our...

Creativity, critical thinking, and social change

Brown is known for its passionate, independent, and socially-minded students—that’s been evident in portrayals of the university everywhere from the nightly news to “The O.C.” (one step onto College Hill and a party girl was transformed into an environmental activist). With all these do-gooders in one place, where does creativity fit in? As it turns...
Post-Its and Prototypes: IDEO comes to town

Post-Its and Prototypes: IDEO comes to town

I knew I was in the right place when I heard someone exclaim, “Yay! We have more Post-Its!” The place was the Brown Design Workshop, and the Post-It enthusiasts were hard at work prototyping wearable technology products as part of an all-day event titled “From the Bottom of My Fuel Cell.” The event, which brought...
Spotlight on Scholars: Michael Stewart, English

Spotlight on Scholars: Michael Stewart, English

“It’s like going to Wikipedia and just clicking things randomly—that’s how I feel about Creative Scholars, and that’s more than enough reason.” What is creativity? To Michael Stewart, lecturer in the English Nonfiction Writing Program, it’s “curiosity applied.” “It’s a flippant response,” said Stewart, who has been grappling with the definition as part of the...

What’s revealed in the lapse of time

If globalization is a double-edged sword, photographer and documentary filmmaker Daniel Byers draws his inspiration from the edge opposite our own. The self-described “expedition artist” said in a Creative Mind lecture this evening, “I realized, as a documentarian and as a human, that I was really interested in exploring not the cutting edge of what...

Prof. Krueger and “The Psychology of Creativity”

Last semester, Psychology Professor Joachim Krueger offered a first-year seminar titled, “The Psychology of Creativity.” I was eager to hear about the course and get his take on creative process. While Professor Krueger’s course was framed around psychology and featured academic readings, he described it as largely experimental and intended to encourage exploration. A core element of...
Flying (Jr.) High - Airplanes and iteration

Flying (Jr.) High – Airplanes and iteration

“Who knows anything about design?” This morning, Ian ran a couple workshops with middle school students as part of the “Day of Academic Discovery and Exploration” for Brown’s 250th Anniversary. Two groups of around 15 seventh and eighth graders, from Del Sesto Middle School, Aldrich Jr. High School, Trinity Academy, and Martin Middle School, sat...