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"Creativity Offers People a Path Back to Themselves and Importantly to Others"...

30 June 2017

Dr Val Huet, CEO of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) and Director of the Oxford College of Arts and Therapies (OCAT), participated in a debate on “What is creativity?” at the International Arts and Health conference in Bristol on the 20th June. Here is what she said...

Creativity is a profoundly human attribute, that has the potential to make us joyful, elated, engaged as well as despairing, anxious, confused but never apathetic or predictable. However we describe it, creativity is not the remit of experts or specially gifted people and does not just happen with arts – science, gardening, cooking, etc., are all included – ordinary, everyday creativity is also part of what makes us human. Creativity is the act of giving shape even abstractly to something new, whether an idea, an object or a concept, which is then taken up and evolved by many others. It allows us to find and lose ourselves in a process that takes us to new places. It is always dynamic and never leads to a full stop. One of the aspects of creativity I feel passionate about is its relational quality.

Turning back to art , Bourriaud (2002) stated: ‘art is a state of encounter’. He did not mean it as an encounter just between artist and viewer, but also amongst viewers, as this state of encounter is not just about the self, it is about meeting others. For me, good art offers a mirror of the familiar and the new, it takes something known and changes it, extends it to new realms, opening our imagination and our potential for play. This is where relational processes happen, when we encounter each other’s minds through engaging with artworks, stories, music, etc., and we playfully explore our diverse viewpoints.

Creativity offers people a path back to themselves and importantly to others...

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Bourriaud, N. (2002). Relational Aesthetics. Paris: Les presses du Reel