Embedding the affective and relational dimensions of creativity in social work practice

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Threaded throughout Scottish social policy discourse practitioners are being tasked with working in more creative ways to co-produce social care with service users and carers. This paper argues that the prevalence of references to creativity in policy and practice should be contested. All too frequently creativity is interpreted in economic terms, doing more for less, which can productively
    lead to innovative and new ways of working. Whilst valuing this as an approach to integrating change into professional practice, it can lead to a disconnect from the experiential and affective dimensions of creativity and ‘art as experience’ (Dewey, 1934). Drawing on empirical findings from a study based on artists working with people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) in a learning centre in Scotland, the paper will argue for realigning creativity with
    experiencing art as affective.
    This appreciative inquiry used qualitative data from reflective diaries and semi-structured interviews with artists, carers and learning centre management, collected over an eight month period. The affective and relational dimensions coupled with motivating practitioners, ‘giving permission’ for them to work differently and be inspired by their work, were fundamental to the impact of enhanced wellbeing of service users and practitioners. It will be argued that this approach to creativity emerges when there is an openness and flexibility within health and social care policy and practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
    EventEuropean Conference on Social Work Research - Leuven University, Leuven , Belgium
    Duration: 10 Apr 201912 Apr 2019


    ConferenceEuropean Conference on Social Work Research


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