Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology Lecture Series - Vlad Glaveanu: Culture and the power of creativity and imagination

Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Venue: JO 2.604
Admission: Free
Season: 2017-18

About the Lecture:

This talk explores the multiple intersections between creativity, imagination and culture in order to understand human agency and social empowerment. Adopting a sociocultural approach, it starts from the basic premise that culture offers much more than the “context” for the development of imagination and creativity; in fact, it is what makes both these processes possible. This is the case because cultural signs and tools essentially mediate our connection to the world and, through symbolic mediation, culture enables us to adopt multiple perspectives on reality.

In other words, the cultural worlds we live in are intrinsically perspectival and the perspectives they offer us are the work of imagination. It is our imagination that “frees” us from the here and now and, in doing so, transforms our relationship with what is “present” or “real” – infusing the way in which we relate to others, to objects, to institutions, to the collective and, last but not least, the way we understand our own self.

Creativity is, in this context, the psychological, social and material process that mobilizes imagined perspectives towards the generation of new and meaningful outcomes, from ideas and things to practices and performances. Creativity is imagination in action and, in exercising our creativity, we are not only reproducing or appropriating the given perspectives of our culture but adding to them, multiplying and transforming our shared reality.

In this talk, I will focus on three instances to illustrate the points above. One of them is early development and the emergence of cultural experience and creative imagination within episodes of pretend play. The second one is the creative experience of participating in cultural traditions, in particular craft activities. Last but not least, I will focus on collective action and the “art of protest” in order to argue that creativity and imagination empower us to reflect on and to ultimately renew the cultures we live in.

About the Author:
Vlad Glaveanu is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology at Webster University Geneva, Switzerland, and Associate Professor II at the University of Bergen, Norway, and Associate Researcher at Paris Descartes University, France, and Neuchatel University, Switzerland. He received his PhD in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.

His work develops the cultural psychology of creativity and has been published in over 100 articles and chapters. His books include: Thinking through creativity and culture: Toward an integrated model (Transaction, 2014), Distributed creativity: Thinking outside the box of the creative individual (Springer, 2014), Rethinking creativity: Perspectives from cultural psychology (Routledge, 2014, co-edited with Alex Gillespie and Jaan Valsiner), and Creativity: A new vocabulary (Palgrave, 2016, co-edited with Lene Tanggaard and Charlotte Wegener).

He is editor/co-editor of three major handbooks: the Palgrave Handbook of Creativity and Culture Research (Palgrave, 2016), the Oxford Handbook of Imagination and Culture (Oxford University Press, 2017, co-edited with Tania Zittoun), and the Cambridge Handbook of Creativity across Disciplines (Cambridge University Press, 2017, co-edited with James C. Kaufman and John Baer), as well as editor of the upcoming Creativity Reader to be published by Oxford University Press. Vlad Glăveanu is co-editing the book series Palgrave Studies in Creativity and Culture for Palgrave Macmillan and is the Editor-in-Chief of Europe’s Journal of Psychology, an open access peer-reviewed journal published by PsychOpen (Germany).

He is editorial board member for the main journals in the area of creativity research, board member of the American Creativity Association, and co-editor, with James C. Kaufman, of an up-coming journal Creativity, Innovation and Social Change.



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