Taking Creativity Out of Art Class
Energy. Photo: Sam Portelli, via Flickr
If you had known me during my high school years, I excelled in the arts. I would spend my recreational time, painting, drawing, playing the guitar, piano etc. My high school electives were dominated by ‘more creative’ subjects than science ones. Looking forward, my teachers were expecting me to head into the ‘creative space,’ with the marks and folio to do so, yet something changed.
I am now a month away from completing a Bachelor of Science, something no one expected. If anything, science has allowed me to use my creativeness more than a design degree would have. Although creativity is a crucial component in everyone’s lives (whether you know it or not), our degrees are not teaching us how to use creativity in the scientific field.
There is an immediate and important point for design in science.
Book Report. Photo: Juhan Sonin, via Flickr
What many people don’t realise is the formatting of reports, and presentation design can make or break your work. This is something often overlooked in the academic space, despite the first thing your audience will notice is the visual presentation of your work. There have been many group projects where members of my team would have no idea how to format a slide. Highlighted by people like David JP Phillips on TEDx, ‘Death by PowerPoint’ is a common occurrence within science.
It is also important to note that poor presentation skills is not an issue exclusive to students. Many of my lecturers really lacked experience in designing PowerPoint presentations. Often this would make the content more difficult to understand. For something that isn’t rocket science, its surprising how many rocket scientists struggle with creating a presentation that is well structured and actually engages the audience.
Creativity is more than visual representation
Brains! Photo: Hey Paul Studios, via Flickr
Creativity teaches you to think about things from a different angle. There is a strong misconception both within the science field and outside that pipettes and paint brushes don’t mix. As a biologist, there are many aspects within the scientific field that I have needed a creative flair in. Art requires patients and perseverance, these are two key skills which I have consistently used throughout projects.
As a scientist, I believe creativity drives new hypothesises and abstract thought. There have been countless times where I have conducted an experiment and the results were not as expected, where logic can go out the window. Creativity drives these new ideas an explanations, to think outside the box when explaining why something happened the way it did and then to retest that new hypothesis.
An inability to draw a fish doesn’t mean you’re not a creative person. Creativity is not an object, rather an expression. Anything where your imagination is working shows creative intellect. Unfortunately, schools portray Science as a field which requires memorising facts, rather than problem solving. There is little difference between creating a new painting, composing a piece of music, or solving a problem in a lab. Creativity needs to be looked at more broadly than ‘Art Class,’ rather the inventor of our future and scientific pursuit.