The relationship between creativity and Studio Thinking

Authored by: Lois Hetland , Ellen Winner

The Routledge International Handbook of Creative Learning

Print publication date:  July  2011
Online publication date:  July  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415548892
eBook ISBN: 9780203817568
Adobe ISBN: 9781136730047


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The arts are often directly equated with creativity, but the connection is not self-evident. We do not draw a one-to-one correspondence between creativity and art, both because creativity exists outside the arts, and because the arts are not always creative. Derivative and routinized art (perhaps we should call it “stale” or “bad art”?) is more common than creative art that moves viewers beyond the edges of current practices, understanding, and beliefs (which we might call “fresh art,” a component of “good art”). Despite these caveats, art at its best requires creativity, and serious artists must develop a creative stance toward the world and their work in it. This suggests that serious art teaching and learning also require teachers to focus on creativity and require students to develop creativity. In our own work, we have looked to the practices of such serious visual arts educators and defined eight interacting Studio Habits of Mind that visual arts educators teach (Hetland et al., 2007). Could these “Studio Habits” support creativity’s development if teachers used them to guide planning, teaching, and assessing? Here we explore this question.

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