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Decentring the Creative Self: How Others Make Creativity Possible in Creative Professional Fields


  • Vlad Petre Glăveanu,

  • Todd Lubart


Since its inception, the psychology of creativity has been concerned primarily with the study of individual creators. In contrast, this research is dedicated to an exploration of (a) who has a significant impact on a creative professional's activity and (b) what the contribution is that others make to creative outcomes. The research included interviews with 60 professionals working in science and creative industries in France. The following categories of others emerged: family and friends, peers and students, clients and funders, critics and gatekeepers, and the general public – and they were related to themes depicting the interaction between these different others and the creator. Findings reveal both similarities and differences across the five domains in terms of the specific contribution of others to the creative process. Social interactions play a key formative, regulatory, motivational and informational role in relation to creative work. From ‘internalized’ to ‘distant’, other people are an integral part of the equation of creativity calling for a de-centring of the creative self and its re-centring in a social space of actions and interactions.