On Saturday, 5 May, I will be giving a talk about the importance of creativity in cities at the Urban Gardening event in Aarhus. This is a key issue for me and for Centre for Cities and Creativity.
In a radio interview Grayson Perry listed the following five (untrue) myths about creativity, which I always find a useful point of departure for a discussion about creativity:
1) Eureka moment
2) Anyone can do it – we can’t all be brain surgeons…
3) Drugs are good for you
4) Creative people are a bit mad
5) Britain’s got talent – the notion that there are geographically some countries where creativity is more inherent
Basically this sums up to one thing – you can do it, but you need to work hard for it and there are no shortcuts.
In his think piece What makes cities creative?, Charlie Leadbeater offers a useful distinction between a “narrow” and a “broad” understanding of creativity in the city. The narrow definition mainly focuses on the creative class, ie. people working within the creative industries, to provide creativity in the city and for this relatively small group to act as a kind of driving force for creativity. However, Leadbeater argues that cities will in the future need to look at a much broader understanding of creativity to tackle the complex challenges they are facing. This creativity will not only deal with culture but will look at all aspects of life in cities. It is still unclear exactly how this will look like. The Urban Gardening workshop in Aarhus tomorrow may be a good first step to get people to realise that creativity can applied to many spheres of city life.