Creativity: Nature or Nurture?

This week on UX Design at Falmouth we’ve been exploring what creativity is and how we can use various creative philosophies and methods to inform our own practice.


I’ve been researching & reflecting on the varied definitions of creativity, and the misconception that creativity is a mysterious gift that some blessed people possess and other’s do not. I’d like to explore beyond the popular belief that creativity is solely applied in activities which have an aesthetic output such as music and painting, but affirm that creativity is a quality that we can all tap into for a myriad of end uses.


Creativity as a human quality

I see creativity as a human quality that we all have the potential to access, that we all experience differently. However it’s a quality that is often soley attributed to ‘the arts’, and that many people misunderstand or opt-out of, because they don’t consider themselves ‘artistic’.

“Creativity is a complex combination of attributes, including but not restricted to knowledge, personality type, and environment, and that it manifests differently depending on one’s motivation.” (HIRST, Leslie. 2013)

Hirst suggests that anyone can be creative, that various factors determine our level of creative success. She alludes to the idea that environment is a factor influencing creativity. I recognise that the opportunity to cultivate one’s creativity depends on one’s upbringing and culture, yet the manifestation of this creativity is subjective to the individual’s interpretation and inspiration.

For example my experience of creativity greatly differs from that of my brother’s. We were raised by the same parents, who encouraged and celebrated our creative explorations, yet our applications of creativity as adults is vastly different. My brother is a scientist. He’s used his creativity to train AI to record the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems. I graduated with a degree in Fashion design and have transitioned into Graphic design & UX, whilst maintaining a creative makers practice.

A Diverse Practice

I see the areas of science and visual arts as equally creative and complimentary to each other. Creativity, rather than just being attributed to ‘the arts’ is a key factor for facilitating social harmony, sustainable human development, technological invention and scientific revolution” (SHAO, Yong. 2019). It’s a field receiving increased attention and research as people in power perceive that the innovative solutions humanity needs to combat modern crises such as climate change lie in imagining new realities and coming up with world-changing ideas. After all, “creativity is imagination in action” (DOUST, Tom. 2019)

I’ll reflect on my own creative practice and how my recent studies are influencing its development in the following blog post.


HIRST, Leslie. 2013. The Art of Critical Making : Rhode Island School of Design on Creative Practice, edited by Rosanne Somerson, and Mara Hermano, John Wiley & Sons.

DOUST, Tom. 2019. Imagination = Creativity. Imagination Matters. Available at: [accessed 07/06/2021].

SHAO, Yong. 2019. How Does Culture Shape Creativity? A Mini Review. Frontiers in Psychology. [accessed 08/06/2021].

Fig 1: Featured Image. Artwork by author. 2021.

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