The creative small group – towards a framework of collaborative creativity within the creative sphere

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Bartels, Gerald
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Zur Methode wird nur der getrieben, dem die Empirie lästig wird. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Maximen und Reflexionen”) Creativity, its manifestations, and its consequences are both nuanced and elusive. As a “floating participant,” I dashed on a scooter through the Lebenswelt (lifeworld) of my participants and, for a while, abandoned the behaviour of a social researcher, a more or less passive observer of the moment. Grounded in the qualitative paradigm, this ethnographic study explores and interprets the various processes and means of communication used by a creative small group and strives to understand how the group members are influenced by and simultaneously define an environmental space that I call the creative sphere. This understanding of creativity considers the various interactive and communicative acts and the diverse environmental attributes that constitute the creative sphere. Similar to the overlapping character of the pieces of a kaleidoscope, the interactions within the creative sphere provide colourful interrelations between its social elements. Thus, creativity refers to a contextual capability for meaningful novelty or novel ideas, which emerge from interaction. The theoretical framework further develops previous understandings of creativity as only the relationship between creative individuals and their social environment. My work stresses the importance of the collaborative aspect of creativity. Consequently, I refer to communication as the driving force of the emergent phenomenon of collaborative creativity.
small group communication , collaborative creativity , ero-epic (free) dialogue , qualitative research methods , ethnography