Creativity, Collaboration and Human Development
Last semester I enrolled in a capstone seminar Creativity, Collaboration and Human Development. A capstone class is meant to put to the test everything you have learned in your particular major, and showcase that you are ready to go out into your field as a professional representative of your chosen path. This capstone would have been my final class in my psychology major, and in this class I learned much about creativity that has changed my own thinking about psychology, my plans for the future, and creative expression in general. Creativity is about autonomy, but moderately so. If you are autonomous to the point where you cannot relate to society and society cannot relate to you, then your creativity will not make any difference to the status quo. However, if your creative thoughts or behaviors are just the right amount off-kilter from the norm, thought-provoking in their originality, but also commandeering in their common use and benefits to the general good—that is where true creativity lies. Creativity is about shifting perspectives, providing solutions and insights where none before existed. On a sociological level, creativity is about deviance from the norm, and to pull a lame Clarkie reference, challenging convention. As overused as that phrase may be, in it lays so much truth and importance that embodies Clark University in its entirety.
Whenever I talk to other psychology majors at other colleges about their curriculum, how much room they are left for growth, and how they are taught, I am truly amazed at how well Clark platforms their classrooms around the idea of challenging convention—and at how successful professors and administration are in helping Clark students do so. Because of the amazing opportunities I have been provided with here at Clark, the support that professors give us fledgling psychologists or students of any major, there is not a decision in my life that I am happier with than choosing to attend Clark University. Upon first visiting, I could feel the difference in the students and atmosphere here when compared to my high school, or even the myriad of other universities I visited; it felt like I was breathing the air of ideas. Upon coming to this university, this conjecture has only been proven time and time again.
In my capstone class last semester on Creativity, we were given an assignment of creating a wiki page about creativity to launch on the Clark website, a platform for students to learn and think about creativity in ways they normally do not. This was to be our semester long assignment which my professor, Seana Moran, had put a lot of thought and planning into. However, after learning about creativity for a month in this class, my teammates and I saw a flaw in this semester long project, as we did not think this project was deviant, challenging, or a holistic embodiment of the true creativity which we had been discussing and learning about all semester. In our dialogues during class these reservations began to show, and soon the four of us were bouncing ideas back and forth about better ways to change the way students view creativity, and our professor sat in quiet support of the new direction we were heading. In another school, a professor may have chastised us for our wanting to change the major assignment which she had created for us, but instead of trying to hold us back, she only supported the changes we wanted to make to the curriculum.
From our small deviance came REVERB, an event that is to take place on April 5th, which we have all put our minds and souls into creating, fostering, and developing. What was initially a semester long capstone seminar which would complete all of our majors in Psychology soon became a year-long class, a brand new privately instructed research project was created which has become my favorite three hours of every week this semester. Instead of creating a dormant website about creativity, we instead bore an event that we hope will become an annual event at Clark, which would not only teach students about creativity, but also have reverberating affects long after the event. REVERB is a celebration of creativity and collaboration amongst the Clark community by showcasing the creative endeavors of Clark students, alumni, faculty, staff, and administrators. Creativity can be showcased as: products (apps or software, pottery, games, puppets, candles, art, scrapbooks, recipes, maps, cards, film/video, poetry, word images, fashions, etc.), services (henna tattooing, hairdressing, troubleshooting technology, unusual uses of GPS, pet training, etc.), performances (music, magic, demonstrations, free-styling, rituals, drama, spoken word, spoken science, storytelling, sports, improv, etc.), activities or lessons (hip-hop dancing, science experiments, treasure hunts, event-planning, gardening, start your own business, etc), and so much more. We put this call out for applications a month ago, and to date we have received just under 50 applicants from creators who want to be a part of REVERB—students, faculty and staff who, like us, see the importance of creativity and collaboration for growth and development. For a first-time event, this response was staggering to us and only makes us more excited about what other surprises REVERB holds in stock for us in the future.