Creativity: a politics free zone?

Creativity is a wondrous thing and who knows how many people have suggested that if only we could be a tad more creative in our human affairs then the world would be put to rights in the shake of a magician’s hat: schools would turn from being student factories into paradises of human endeavour and enquiry; the workplace would be filled with joyous humans extolling the virtue of their employers zero hours contract and the economy itself would take on a new lease of life filled with innovation, brand spanking new products and services which the world would be falling over itself to employ our bright new boys and girls who had managed to switch on their creativity genes and somehow avoided decades of dull conditioning which had turned them into monosyllabic monotrons, destined merely to being up their offspring, buy goods in winter sales and save up for their annual summer holiday in their nearest and dearest tourist hotspot.

Good old creativity: saving us all from a life of drudgery, compliance and good behaviour. If only we could all be more creative! If only schools didn’t knock it out of us! If only employers had an imagination! If only the government invested a fraction of what it invests into Trident into making us all more creative individuals! Then what a wonderful world that would be.

Up to a point. The trouble with creativity – one of the many troubles of creativity – is that it’s frequently called up in an absence of politics. Indeed, politics and creativity are distinctly uncomfortable bedfellows; one of them one went out the night before and returned home with the other one and looked at it first thing in the morning and asked itself, ‘How on earth did you get there?’

You can’t have too much politics in any conversation it seems these days about creativity as the mere mention of the P word in the C conversation tends to generate a whole load of awkward questions. Like, whose side are you on? Whose creativity is more important? If you’re A Creative then what does that make me? And the real give away: creativity isn’t about politics, so let’s keep it out of the conversation as you’re only ruining the mood of a good night out. A good night out which values creativity but leaves the politics out in the cold? That sounds more like a night spent watching the BAFTAs.

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