Investigating Creativity in the Production of Australian Children’s Literature: Implications for Teaching and Learning

By Chloe Killen.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The term ‘creativity’ is often used as though it’s meaning is obvious. However, we repeatedly mistake “part of the phenomenon…as the whole phenomenon” (Sternberg, 1999: 12) and consider the final product as separate from the process undertaken to produce it. Moving past traditional notions of creativity as the singular product of divine inspiration, genius or madness, we should then be able to move towards a more empirical and rational examination of this phenomenon. With this in mind it is proposed that, drawn from the accumulated research into creativity over the last sixty years, the theory used to consider creativity for this paper is a confluence approach, that is, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s systems model of creativity (1988, 1996 & 1999). Using this model as a basis for research, instead of ascribing creativity to one singular force, it becomes clear that creative producers operate within a system of circular causality whereby they are influenced and affected by multiple factors including the cultural and social contexts in which they exist. Through a small case study of 5 producers of Australian Children’s Literature it can be seen that individual writers engage with a domain of knowledge and a field or social structure that regulates that knowledge in order to produce ‘novelty’ (Csikszentmihalyi 1999, Boden 2004, Sternberg & Lubart 1995, Weisberg 2006). With this evidence in place it can be argued that the implications for reconsidering creativity in a rational context are therefore important in influencing the way creativity is taught and learnt.

Keywords: Creativity, Children’s Literature, Csikszentmihalyi, Creative Writing, Systems Model, Teaching

International Journal of the Book, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.93-106. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.227MB).

Chloe Killen

PhD Candidate, Faculty of Design and Information Technology, School of Design, Communication and Information Technology, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Chloe Killen is a PhD candidate investigating creativity in the production of Australian children’s literature. Her research examines the creative process of contemporary Australian picture book authors, illustrators, agents and publishers in an attempt to demystify creativity myths. In addition to teaching into the discipline of Communication and Media at the University of Newcastle, Chloe has worked as a copy writer, editor and production assistant for television and radio, as a project co-ordinator for a writers centre, a marketing assistant for an independent record label, and a research assistant for several academics.


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