Drawing Breath: Creative Elements and Their Exile from Higher Education.
Arts and Humanities in Higher Education: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 9(1), 42-53. 2010
“We are all creative now. Where once creativity was thought to be the preserve of the arts and humanities, we now find creativity has become a ubiquitous aim of higher education in the twenty-first century. Our ills will be resolved as long as we can release our latent creativity and perform. The discourse of higher education strategic management now sees an apparent paradoxical coupling of notions such as creativity, performance, blue skies with targets, outputs and productivity. In the midst of such active creativity-making it is worth asking ourselves some basic questions regarding the nature, purpose and desirability of such forms of creativity. Who is served by the renewal of a discourse of creativity? Does it exist in practice? How do we know it when we see it? Is it good? Where and how might it happen? In this article Alison Phipps returns to some early stories and myths of creativity from the arts and humanities and considers the elements of fire, water, earth and especially air and their symbolic status in sourcing creativity. In order to offer counter-stories to those which may chock the flourishing of learning she draws on alternative metaphors, parables and imagery and considers the kinds of futures which may be worth creating. These elements provide understandings of creativity as resourcing life, ordering the myths of human endeavour and education. This article draws on work by Heidegger, Irigaray, Carson, Ingold, Brueggemann and Barnett. In particular, it considers work of anthropology, poetry and theology which offers singular, disciplined perspectives on the possibilities for creativity and the heavy, determined work which accompanies its apparent ease and flow.”