Developing psychological resources for creative writing through challenging stereotypes in Australian food history: A creative work and exegesis
thesisposted on 30.11.2018, 00:00 by Charmaine O'Brien
The necessity for innovative responses to sustain our natural environmental, social and cultural wellbeing and economic prosperity is a constant refrain in contemporary society. Creativity is the prerequisite for innovation and creativity is a driving force in the modern economy. creative skills will be key assets for individuals, organisations and communities into the future and creative people will be seen as the source of innovative ideas. Developing creative capabilities in individuals is therefore of vital importance and advancing knowledge about creativity is essential to achieving this growth. Studying the practice of creative individuals holds significant potential to progress understanding on how to develop creativity more widely. Situated in the field of creative writing, using a food history project as the vehicle, this thesis seeks to demonstrate through the example of an individual writer’s experience of creative process and performance, how creative writing research contributes to wider understanding of creativity and how it can be developed. Through investigation of primary resources, supported by secondary material, the creative work of this thesis, ‘The Colonial Kitchen’ mounts a compelling challenge to the accepted notions of Australia’s colonial food history – that the colonial diet was abominable and colonial cooks incompetent. It argues as a main theme that social aspiration and defence of class privilege had a significant influence on the reporting of colonial foodways. Additionally, it notably demonstrates colonial literature as a rich and largely untapped source of culinary reference. In doing so, the work offers a new, more nuanced and considered understanding of the food production, cookery and eating practices of colonial Australians, thereby making a contribution to food history. Creativity is largely a psychological phenomenon. During the process of producing the creative work, the author documented her psychological experience in a journal with the aim to capture direct experience of the creative challenge of producing a work of measured contest to established historiography. The data resulting from this experiment was the starting point for the exegetical component of this thesis that explores the psychological resources that are utilised in the creative process and how these might potentially be developed. The exegesis employs a mixed methodology including practice led and phenomenological elements. A review of the literature of the psychology of creativity furnishes the theoretical tools through which the psychological material of the writing journal is explored in a series of coaching sessions between the author and a psychological coach. Through this exploration, the exegesis concludes that focused human-centered support, informed by understanding of the complex multi-factorial nature of creativity, offers a valuable approach to creativity development. A set of guidelines derived from the research findings is offered as tool for supporting the development of psychological resources for creativity in individuals.