About the beauty and difficulty of being creative

Radio host Julie Burstein has found the perfect analogy for creativity—raku pottery. A Japanese art form in which molded clay is heated for 15 minutes and then dropped in sawdust which bursts into flames, what makes this pottery so beautiful is its imperfections and cracks. Burstein interviewed hundred of artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers for her book, Spark: How Creativity Works, and heard many of them describe their process in similar terms — that the best parts of their work came from embracing challenges, misfortunes and the things they simply couldn’t control. As Burstein explains in this talk given at TED2012, “I realized that creativity grows out of everyday experiences more often than you would think.”

In this talk, Burstein identifies four lessons that creative people should embrace:

  1. Pay attention to the world around you, and be open to experiences that might change you.
  2. Realize that the best work often comes out of the life experiences that are most difficult.
  3. Get comfortable with the fact that pushing up against a limitation can actually help you find your voice.
  4. Don’t be afraid to explore loss — be it rejection, heartbreak or death — because making beauty out of these things is so powerful.

To hear how Burstein learned these lessons from filmmaker Mira Nair, writer Richard Ford, sculptor Richard Serra and photographer Joel Meyerowitz, listen to her wonderful talk. And after the jump, nine more talks on the nature of creativity.

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius
Author Elizabeth Gilbert is confused by how our culture regards writers and other artists—as people on the brink who are too easily undone by their talent. In this talk from TED2009, Gilbert reframes how we think about creativity—that rather than there being “geniuses” among us, that all of us have a bit of genius within us.
David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence
David Kelley of IDEO fully agrees with Elizabeth Gilbert. In this talk from TED2012, he shares why he believes it is problematic to think of society as split into the creatives and the technical-minded. Here, he shares how people who think of themselves as the latter can build up their creative muscles, as we all have them — whether we know it or not.
Isaac Mizrahi on fashion and creativity
Where does Isaac Mizrahi get ideas? From pretty much everywhere. In this talk from TED2008, Mizrahi shares how his creative process heeds him to pay attention to tarot card readers and to the unique coloration of film, as well as to hop out of cabs and follow people who strike him as interesting on the streets of New York City.
Amy Tan: Where does creativity hide
Amy Tan became a writer because she found herself fascinated with one question: why do things happen the way they happen? In this talk from TED2008, Tan shares why it is so appealing to be the creator of her own universes — the one responsible for pulling strings and creating meaning.
Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from
When people tell the story of an invention, they usually describe a “eureka” moment. But author Steven Johnson wonders if that might be a fallacy. In this talk from TEDGlobal 2010, Johnson looks at how breakthroughs are slow to build and usually happen in dialogue with other thinkers of the time.
Janet Echelman: Taking imagination seriously
Artist Janet Echelman is known for creating enormous, undulating sculptures out of fishnets. So how did she come up with this unconventional form? In this talk from TED2011, Echelman explains that she found her voice when her paints went missing on a trip to a fishing village in India, and she was forced to work in a new medium.
Kirby Ferguson: Embrace the remix
In this talk from TEDGlobal 2012, Kirby Ferguson unleashes a bold idea: that maybe creative types shouldn’t be so concerned with originality. As Ferguson sees it, creativity is all about copying, transforming and remixing things that already exist. In Ferguson’s eye, everything is a remix.
Malcolm McLaren: Authentic creativity vs. karaoke culture
The manager of the Sex Pistols, Malcolm McLaren helped shape the counterculture of the late ‘70s and ‘80s. In his final speech before passing away in 2010, McLaren shares his fears about what he calls “karaoke culture,” where success is about mimicry rather than emotional honesty. Because as McLaren sees it, no one should be shielded from the messy, difficult struggle of creating something new.
Tim Brown: Tales of creativity and play
What is the difference between being a designer and just playing around? Not as much as most people think, says Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO. At Serious Play 2008, Brown shares how building a successful firm was as easy as giving employees a place to experiment without fear of being judged — just like kids do on a daily basis.


David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence | via TED


Is your school or workplace divided into “creatives” versus practical people? Yet surely, David Kelley suggests, creativity is not the domain of only a chosen few. Telling stories from his legendary design career and his own life, he offers ways to build the confidence to create… (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)

David Kelley’s company IDEO helped create many icons of the digital generation — but what matters even more to him is unlocking the creative potential of people and organizations to innovate routinely.

Come join UTSpeaks: Shapeshifters – Culturing Creativity | UTS News Room

When: 23 May 2012 – 6:00pm8:00pm
Where: The Great Hall, Level 5, UTS Tower, Broadway, Ultimo UTS is a ten-minute walk from Central Station, Eddy Avenue and Railway Square bus stops.
RSVP: 22 May 2012 RSVP NOW PDF

Is today’s hyper-connected world changing the way we create?

Is the threshold between the public and private sectors disappearing as use of social media soars? How is innovation shaping and changing our understanding of culture and humanity? How should we navigate a world of accelerating change and increase our understanding of creativity and the importance of taking risk? This next ‘shapeshifters’ interactive public forum explores how creative industries embrace multiple disciplines from design to technology and science, driving innovation and the creative economy and it asks what impact is this having on global culture?

Hael Kobayshi (MC)
Hael Kobayashi is the Executive Director, Creative Innovation at UTS and the Associate Director, Creative Industries Innovation Centre. He has more than 30 years’ experience in film, digital and new media, design and performing arts, held senior management roles with Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light + Magic and DreamWorks Animation. He was a producer for Animal Logic’s Oscar winning Happy Feet. Hael is a senior adviser to INDEX: Design to Improve Life in Copenhagen, and a member of the international advisory panel of DesignSingapore.

Professor Dick Rijken
Dick Rijken is a professor of Information Technology and Society at The Hague University of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands. He is Director of Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music. He is the chairman of the e-culture committee of the Dutch Culture Council, co-chair of the European Union working group on Cultural and Creative Industries, and a board member of NoAcademy – Laboratory for Art & Society, a post-graduate program in social design.

Craig Davis
Craig is revered as a creative leader world-wide. He is Co-Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Australia and New Zealand at Publicis Mojo and founder of the world’s first brand-centric social media platform, Brandkarma.com. He is Chairman of AWARD and a board member of the Communications Council whose mutual mandates are to champion commercial creativity. Craig was the former Worldwide Executive Creative Director for JWT and Regional ECD at Saatchi & Saatchi Asia. He is an Adjunct Professor at the UTS Business School and a lifelong shapeshifter with a personal mission to improve the quality of life for all.Theresa designs and delivers courses in the Communication and eLearning Programs at UTS.

Dr Theresa Anderson
Theresa Dirndorfer Anderson is a Senior Lecturer with the UTS Centre for Creative Practices and Cultural Economy. Her research explores the relationship between people and emerging technologies with a particular interest in how information systems and institutional policies might better support creative-analytic activities.In 2010 she was awarded a national teaching prize for sustained innovation in relation to her socio-technical curricula.

UTSPEAKS: is a free public lecture series presented by UTS experts discussing a range of important issues confronting contemporary Australia


Kulturpark Project Berlin Art + Creative Innovation | via Kickstarter

What would you do if you discovered an abandoned amusement park?
From June 28-July 1, 2012, Kulturpark will re-open an abandoned amusement park located in the sprawling Treptow Park in Berlin. Throughout the entire month of June, Kulturpark will host a creative investigation of this jungle of recent ruins that will embrace histories, illuminate presences, and imagine cultural futures. The Kulturpark project will activate this magical site as a place for creative exchange, site-specific art, urban design, historic memory, social connection, and public imagination.
How can we imagine new futures from histories?
Built along the Spree River in the Treptow Park forest, Kulturpark Plänterwald was an idyllic and unusual site for leisure built by the GDR in 1969. After the fall of the wall, the park was privatized as Spreepark, and ran until financial collapse in 2001. The surrounding Treptow District contains a complex history including the site of the 1896 Berlin Trade Exhibition, the Archenhold Observatory where Einstein first lectured on relativity, and the Soviet War Memorial with its Stalinist architectures and cold war ceremonies. Today, the Plänterwald landscape inspires reflections on public memory, resistance, leisure, amusement, ceremony, commerce, and technology.
Can I get involved?
In June 2012, Kulturpark is inviting students, artists, and creatives from Berlin and around the world to join us for an extraordinary experience. Collaborators will build upon the unique energy of Berlin’s urban, social, cultural, and political landscapes. Come park with us!
  • Creative Camp | June 1 – 21 | The Berlin-born and based visionary team will collaborate on site-specific works inside the park.
  • Kultur-Exchange | June 22 – July 1 | Kulturpark invites groups from the US and Germany for lectures, workshops, projects, and research.
  • Public Opening | June 28 – July 1 | Join us for a public interactive opening including a 2-day conference, public exhibition, and civic exchange
What comes after?
Together with experimental architects from Berlin, researchers from Harvard, and placemakers from the Urban Art Institute, we are creating an Urban Plan for this abandoned park. We are utilizing the process of producing artistic site-specific visions, combined with ideas and memories of publics, to create a grassroots proposal for the park’s future.
via kickstarter.com