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Sociocultural Enablers and Inhibitors of Musical Creativity: A Cross-Cultural Comparison


"Why does creativity flourish in some music scenes? What makes other scenes seem creatively stifling? And what can educators, administrators, and policymakers do to provide and enhance enabling conditions for creativity?

This project examines the sociocultural factors that enable and inhibit creativity in music. The majority of previous research on creativity analyzes internal processes – more research is urgently needed to examine external influences on creativity. Using ethnographic field research methods, which have rarely been applied to creativity studies, I will investigate how ideology, learning methods, social pressures, financial infrastructures, and copyright practices encourage or restrict musical creativity.

Primary case study data will come from fieldwork on music-cultures in Finland, which offer exemplary models of creativity enhancement strategies. Comparative fieldwork will be conducted in contrasting musical environments in California, and analyzed with reference to published ethnographic data on music scenes in diverse cultures. Cambridge University and the Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice will provide training in creativity research in musicology, psychology, education, arts policy, and copyright. I will synthesize these multidisciplinary perspectives with cross-cultural data to develop new theories of musical creativity. These theories will be relevant and applicable to creativity in other domains and sectors. Results will be disseminated through a monograph published at a major university press and through publicly accessible online materials designed to train educators and policymakers in the enhancement of creativity enabling conditions.

This research answers the European Council's recent (2007, 2009) call for more research on how culture, policies, and education stimulate creativity, for models of good practices and strategies for enhancing cultural creativity, and for more evidence to inform policymaking"

Call for proposal

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Trinity lane the old schools
CB2 1TN Cambridge
United Kingdom

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East of England East Anglia Cambridgeshire CC
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Renata Schaeffer (Ms.)
EU contribution
No data