Creativity in the Arts and the Sciences - Althea Ocomen

International expert in creativity and innovation, UniSA's Professor David Cropley, is encouraging Australian schools and universities to emphasize teaching creativity as new research shows it is a core competency across all disciplines and critical for ensuring future success careers. Conducted in partnership with visiting Ph.D. researcher Kim van Broekhoven from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, the research explores the nature of creativity in determining if specific differences exist between creativity in the sciences and creativity in the arts. The researchers found that creativity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is very similar to creativity in the arts, indicating that a holistic approach to teaching creativity in schools and universities would benefit students in preparation for their future.

UniSA's Professor David Cropley says the study provides valuable knowledge into how education systems might assess and foster students' creative talents: "The big change for education systems would be moving away from a rather fragmented and haphazard approach to teaching creativity, to a much more holistic and integrated approach," Prof Cropley said. "To prepare the next generation for the future, we need to understand the gaps in the market — the human skills that computers, artificial intelligence, and automation cannot achieve — and this is where creativity fits.

"Until this research, we didn't know whether creativity in STEM was the same as creativity in anything, or if there was something unique about creativity in STEM. If creativity was different in STEM — that is, it involved unique attitudes or abilities — we'd need to teach STEM students differently to develop their creativity. "As it turns out, creativity is general in nature — it is essentially a multi-faceted competency that involves similar attitudes, disposition, skills, and knowledge, all transferrable from one situation to another." So, whether you're in art, maths, or engineering, you'll share an openness to new ideas, divergent thinking, and a sense of flexibility.

This realization has greatly empowered women to step up and take on challenges in different STEM fields. Women around the globe are realizing their potential and developing their capabilities to become exceptional leaders in their respective careers.

"This is great news for teachers, who can now confidently embrace and integrate heightened levels of creativity across their curriculum for the benefit of all students — whether STEM or arts-based." The study surveyed 2277 German undergraduate students aged 17 to 37 (2147 enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses; and 130 enrolled in art courses) to explore how creativity differed in terms of self-expression thoughts and perceptions. In 2020, the World Economic Forum identified creativity as important as artificial intelligence in future jobs.

"Students in the 21st century must be open to the amazing diversity of possibilities available to them in further education and careers when they leave school. And, while every student will create their own unique path, a solid and common grounding that embraces creativity is essential," Dr. Patston says. "Working with the University of South Australia, we've been able to truly embrace creativity as a core competency to ensure that our students not only succeed but flourish."


Which is more creative, the arts or the sciences? (2020, October 13). Retrieved October 26, 2020, from

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