How collaboration in creative work impacts identity and motivation

Moran, S. & John-Steiner, V. (2004). How collaboration in creative work impacts identity and motivation. In Miell, D. & Littleton, K. (Eds.), Collaborative creativity: Contemporary perspectives (pp. 11-25). London: Free Association Press.

The essay looks at identity – “Who am I?” (p. 13) and motivation – “Why am I doing this?” (p. 16) in light of the complementary synergy and creative tension between collaborators. They cite instances of merged identities between collaborators, as well as complementary yet distinct approaches (i.e. copy writers and graphic designers in advertising). While the process of collaboration externalizes creativity, it also strengthens the internal process of identity formation. As the authors ask “How does collaboration aid this reciprocal creativity-identity process?” (p. 14) Each artist has to speak about their internal own process in order to work with their collaborators, making some areas of the process more external and visible.

In their discussion of motivation, the authors note that collaborators provide encouragement, especially when an artist is pushing the boundaries in their field. Sometimes collaboration results in tension and the participants must find a way to express differences without spoiling their relationships with each other. When the identities of the individuals are dependent on the group in a more intense collaboration, the possibilities for tension are increased. Even when the group members agree to share credit for the collaboration, external methods of recognizing contribution are often not as equalitarian. Conditions for successful collaboration allow all partners to contribute within a framework of trust and recognition of others’ contributions, providing a bridge through conflicted territories.

(My publication)Posted:Jan 01 2004, 12:00 AM by smoran
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