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.
Creative Conversations
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...

‘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...

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...
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...

On play and constraint

When thinking about creativity, particularly in a university setting, we often face the question of thinking versus doing. What are the roles of theory and disciplinary structures in projects centered on experimenting, making, and iterating? How do we maintain a holistic approach to creativity that integrates theory and rigor with experimentation and making? It can...

How to talk about process

At a recent Creative Scholars meeting, I brought up an article that appeared in the New York Times earlier this month. The article examined the idea of “creativity as academic discipline,” focusing on specific undergraduate and graduate programs that aim to teach creativity. The article was interesting, but the reader comments were what really drew...
Lessons in Legos

Lessons in Legos

What better sight for sore, rainy-morning eyes than an ocean of Legos? We arrived, we chatted, we launched—for forty minutes of Friday’s Creative Scholars Project meeting, we focused completely on creating. There was no assignment, and there were no rules. Just play. Ian and Adam built spaceships. From the start, they sought appropriate blocks (the...
So we're creative... What does that mean?

So we’re creative… What does that mean?

Creativity is everywhere in current dialogue – leaders and thinkers across disciplines are calling for greater creativity in education, entrepreneurship, social change, urban planning, and so on. But what does that mean? Creativity is a word that can be difficult to pin down. As new conceptions of innovation shape approaches to higher education, programs and units...