Week 2: A history of creativity

15 Aug

Although I fancy myself to be creatively minded, the ‘history of creativity’ is not an area I have given much thought to. This however is not due to lack of interest, more so that it is not a topic widely taught or discussed. I found the lecture that Dr Glenn Spoors provided so expertly on this topic compelling but also slightly overwhelming. There was a lot of information to receive in such a short period of time. Points he made that resonated with me the most involved the form of creativity in different periods in time and also how scientific advances influenced the process if creativity in thought and practise. The most interesting I learnt was that in the 17th century before the introduction of artificial light western civilisation sleeping behaviour has two sleep cycles, The ‘first’ sleep and the ‘second’ sleep.  In further readings, journalist Stephanie Hegarty also suggests that in between these two cycles there was a short period lasting approximately one to two hours that was often used to pray, reflect on dreams, converse with ones sleeping partner or engage in intercourse (2012).

This fact is interesting when related to the topic of creativity because in the 21st century it is not common for time to be put aside or any special attention been given to these activities (excluding that of intercourse). This makes me ponder how the absence of this dedicated time of reflection and interpretation of dreams. Has this affected and possibly hindered the new age creative thought process and how in tune we are to our inner psyche? The weekly reading At day’s close: Night in times past by A.R. Ekrich provided more detail on this topic. Ekrich focuses on the impact the industrial revolution had on society in the 17th century. Provided is a summary of my interpretations and reflections on this reading.

What I have learned from reading this text

  1. Before the introduction of artificial light western civilisation primary experienced segmented sleep (as discussed previously)
  2. Decline of magical beliefs night time lost its terror and became a source of beauty and wonderment
  3. Now with the technology of artificial light and change in sleeping patterns shops could stay open past nightfall, and night culture was established. People stay out late, visit the theatre frequent bars and shop at a time once before people would be well into their first sleep.

What I found interesting about this text

  1. It was common practice for people to discuss and decipher their dreams. This ritual has been lost in the shift to a single continuous sleep. Now people usually wake to an alarm and rush of to work or other commitments and there is no time set aside for this type of thoughts or discussion.
  2. Night time fast became a “fashionable hour” … describes “The pleasures of the evening and night are the ruling fashion in every large city, where luxury and the need to entertain constantly increased”. This activities they participated and how they socialised in the 17th century was very similar to the way we socialize now by dining, drinking, gaming and attending parties.

One posing question that I would like to further research

  1. I would be interested to know how the industrial revolution and the increase of social behaviour influenced the fashion industry. In today’s era we have separate ‘day time’ and ‘night time’ attire with night time requiring a more fancy and sophisticated form of dress. As the late night socialisation boomed quickly, how quickly did fashion change?


Brooks, D. G. (08/08/2012).    Creativity: A historical overview. Lecture.

Ekrich, A. R. (2005). At day’s close: Night    in times past (pp. 324-339). New York: Norton and    Company.

Hegart, S.    (2012, Feb 12). The Myth of the 8 hour sleep. Retrieved 07 20, 2014,    from BBC News: vhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16964783


2 Responses to “Week 2: A history of creativity”

  1. aking10 August 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    One of the great things about reading the blogs is getting another point of view on the same article; virtually reading it through another’s eyes. Your insightful point about how fashions and the concept of day and evening wear would be affected by the coming of night-light is something I would never have considered and so opens me to a new way of looking at the events of that time.

  2. nitroscity August 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    Hi Jess

    A fine start that shows an understanding of the reading, expanding into your own research and developing questions you could use as prompts for your creative work. as Andy remarks, it also provides your class mates with an alternative point of view on the subject. Keep it up!


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