Week 1 – Getting started

1st July 2015 marked the start of the Get Creative research project, and we have begun as we expect to continue: at pace, energetically, and with a spirit of adventure! The research team has ambitious plans for the coming year, and we couldn’t be more excited to launch our investigations into everyday creativity in the UK. This blog will accompany the research over the next year (and beyond), and here we will provide a weekly update on the progress of the project, as well as more extended reports and reflections at key moments along the way.

The day before the project officially kicked-off the research team met with colleagues from the BBC to talk further about our hopes for the research, and to explore the range of data that the BBC may be able to make available to the research team. The intention is to develop a mixed methods approach, drawing together qualitative techniques (including interviews, focus groups and participant observation) – employed in strategically selected sites across the UK – along with the analysis of quantitative data derived from the BBC’s Get Creative campaign, and from other large scale data sets.

During this meeting we also made plans for members of the research team to visit Broadcasting House during the coming weeks: to continue these conversations, to have the opportunity see behind the scenes at Get Creative HQ, and to meet members of BBC staff helping to run the campaign.

Two members of the research team – Anna Bull and Jonathan Gross – are joining Kings College London from Goldsmith’s College and the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds, respectively, and so part of this week was spent in orientation to a new home. Anna and Jonathan will be working from the Virginia Woolf building on Kingsway, whilst Nick Wilson’s office is in the Chesham building on the Aldwych. During these first few days the three of us have enjoyed several extremely generative discussions in bright sunshine – as we walk between the two offices – and long may these blue sky conversations continue!

The research team spent much of the rest of the week deep in First week musings flip-chart diagrams (see left!) – further exploring our research questions and design. The team is full of excitment about the project’s potential to open up key questions concerning everyday (and latent / unrecognised) creativity, and about the (arts and cultural) creative ecology in the UK. It has been a pleasure to dive into these discussions, and we look forward to opening these up still further over the coming weeks and months.

One of the many exciting features of these initial conversations has been that – whilst there are extensive areas of theoretical and methodological affinity shared across the three members of the research team – each of us is bringing to the project a distinct intellectual history and set of commitments, and our own histories of creative practice. Even within these first few days, the differences between each of our intellectual and creative formations – as well as the many areas of shared expertise and interest – have helped move our thinking along at pace, as we bring the project off the page and into the world. We very much look forward to sharing these discussions with you as the project develops, and to making use of this blog as a space to keep you in touch with our activities, ideas and findings!

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This e-bulletin is the first of a weekly series that will accompany the Get Creative research project. We will use these posts to provide a regular update on the progress of the research, and to invite comments, queries and suggestions from all: including ‘everyday artists’, cultural organisation staff, researchers, policy professionals, and the casually curious. Whatever your interest in our work, we’d love to hear from you!

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