Ruth Richards on Everyday Creativity

multicolor-spiralsWhen we think of creativity we tend to think of Beethoven, Frida Kahlo and Edison and the talent of a select few. Or we fall into the trap of thinking it’s the domain of ‘the arts’ or people who write copy, devise content, or make films for a living.

Psychologist and leading creativity researcher, Ruth Richards, is keen to spread the message that creativity concerns all of us. She argues that humans are born with creative potential and it is fundamental to our survival. Instead of thinking about creativity with a capital ‘C’ and the realm of innovative breakthroughs, she urges us to think about ‘Everyday Creativity’.

Everyday creativity is dispersed across our daily activities from managing interpersonal relationships, raising a child, creating a comfortable living environment, using humour, problem solving, cooking, doing crafts, to structuring leisure and social activities. We are more creative than we think as in our everyday lives, “every choice we make in life is a decision and that decision has a creative basis” (Zausner, 2007: 76).

All too often, everyday creativity is overlooked and subject to the three “U’s”. Our creativity is often underrecognized, underdeveloped, and underrewarded in schools, at work, and at home.

Instead, Richards celebrates everyday creativity and encourages us to reflect more on its potential and to develop it further. In her book Everyday Creativity and New Views of Human Nature (2007), she writes:

Seen as a process, and even a way of life, our everyday creativity offers whole new ways of thinking, of experiencing the world, and experiencing ourselves. It can pull blinders from our eyes, and bring us alive, making us more conscious participants in our lives, aware of the dynamic of life moving about us…It can offer us joy, energy and challenge…We may even have a chance for fundamental transformation.

We need everyday creativity in contemporary life and need to encourage each other to move toward positive change. In short, we can use our everyday creativity to build a better world.



33,000 Everyday Artists nominated for a King’s Award

33kEAlogoI’m excited to announce the project I’ve been working on over the past year called 33,000 Everyday Artists at King’s College London has been nominated for a King’s Award in Innovation and Impact. It’s great that the project has received the recognition it deserves. We find out whether we’ve won in November.

Here’s some information on how the project fits the award’s criteria:

An innovative and cost effective initiative which benefits others 

33,000 Everyday Artists, a collaboration between the Cultural Institute, 64 Million Artists and researchers Dr Nick Wilson and Dr Laura Speers (CMCI), sought to recognise and realise the creative potential of all 33,000 students, staff and academics who comprise King’s. By utilising a digital artwork where participants shared their passions and hobbies, and a month of daily creative challenges, the project aimed to embed creativity in everyday work and study life. The project was inclusive by engaging all faculties, across all five campuses, and was free to participate in. The research conducted alongside the project has produced a report that addresses the individual and institutional barriers to creativity at work.

A positive impact on the university’s reputation internally or externally

By drawing attention to both the need for, and the challenges of nurturing, an everyday culture of creativity, the project has had a positive impact across many of the diverse constituent departments that comprise King’s. As one respondent put it: ‘It was great seeing the diversity of interests and passions around KCL. Everyone has a story!’ Discussions are underway with the Student Education Directorate and Organisational Development about bringing a more localised and tailored version of the initiative to specific segments of King’s. The project has also gained traction outside King’s, including coverage in the leading arts magazine Arts Professional.