Creativity Molded by Environment

“Creativity isn’t a divine gesture. It’s a messy, often highly political social process,” reads an especially provocative line from John McCreery’s article in Popular Anthropology, which is titled “Creativity, what is it?” Indeed, that seems to a question quite frequently asked across the arts (and all fields of study for that matter, and as McCreery points out: the answer may relate much more to the social setting of the creator and their experience with the medium. Often, especially relating to science, creativity is thought to be the application of “new combinations of materials from diverse sources,” with an original product in mind. McCreery argues in part that aspects such as the individual’s social setting can play a highly influential role in the creative process, and that often times creativity is centered around one’s ability to react to a specific set of guidelines. In this way, anthropology can begin to be used to look at the creative processes of individuals, as the groups they are in and lives they live can often prompt creative thinking through limitation or inspiration. If a client needs X, Y, and Z in a product, and on top of that you are limited in your resources and must manage your personal time as well, your creativity will be tested in ways that otherwise would not be seen. Perhaps your client needs a very specific product, or you are working in a group that doesn’t cooperate, or your cultural surroundings hinder your creativity; all of this can be fuel with which to spark a creative energy that is in fact even more powerful.