The Creative Impulse

sculpture in Cast GalleryThe Creative Impulse Symposium, sponsored by the Center for Arts & Humanities and coordinated by the Museum of Art and Archaeology, takes place on the first Friday afternoon of each month during the academic semester. This interdisciplinary, informal and highly collaborative group is meant for actors, artists, authors, musicians and poets—that is, anyone who ponders the nature and notion of “the creative impulse.” Since its inception in fall 2007, the Creative Impulse Symposium has explored a wide range of issues involving this intriguing and increasingly important phenomenon. These issues include the nature of human creativity, the role of social networks in fostering human creativity, how creativity and academic scholarship relate to one another, and the rapidly emerging public policy issue of “creative communities”.

The Creative Impulse Symposium grows quite naturally out of the Museum of Art & Archaeology’s long-standing role as a teaching museum for the University of Missouri, because a key dimension of the Museum’s mission involves providing meaningful contexts for considering our cultural heritage. In that regard, the Symposium (we provide refreshments and food for thought, but no wine!) demonstrates an interesting application of what the late Ernest Boyer, President of the Carnegie Foundation for Higher Education, referred to as the Scholarship of Integration, by helping scholars from many academic fields and disciplines place their own original data and research into broader, meaningful contexts. Please join us in person or online to help us create new knowledge about The Creative Impulse.

Please contact Symposium coordinator Arthur Mehrhoff for meeting times and places, or with any additional questions you may have about The Creative Impulse Symposium.

5 Responses to “The Creative Impulse”

  1. Arthur-

    There is a terrific article entitled “Teaching Cops to See” [] by Neal Hirschfeld in the October issue of Smithsonian Magazine about using art to improve criminal detection skills. In a related vein, the Missouri Arts Council sent an email about a program through the Daum Museum about VTS-Visual Thinking Strategies. The VTS website is and has lots of information and downloads. Great stuff!

    Karen Onofrio

  2. Creatives,

    I’d like to share information about an upcoming conference that may interest you. It is on “The Academy and the Marketplace” and hosted by the Society for Values in Higher Education on July 22-26, 2009, at Elmhurst College (Illinois).

    There will be a variety of workshops and speakers, and papers will be presented exploring the consequences of thinking of education in market terms, considering the successes/failures of radical or revolutionary pedagogies, and more.

    I’ve been involved with this organization for a couple of years through my work at MU’s Center on Religion & the Professions (and was invited to present on our religious literacy initiative last year). They are a good group of people who enjoy intellectual discussion, creative pursuits, and disciplinary cross-pollination – interests shared by our Creative Impulse members. At Creative Impulse, we’ve discussed the relationship of creativity to scholarship and how increasingly humanities are forced to justify their worth in today’s marketplace. I imagine these will be topics discussed at the conference as well. It may seem like a luxury these days – both in the economy and the academy – to devote time to focusing on these issues, but as the enthusiasm of the Creative Impulse group has made clear, it is both enriching and important that we do so.
    • See more about SVHE here:
    • See more about the conference here:
    • Contact SVHE here:

    As an added bonus, there will be special sessions this year exploring an innovative pedagogy developed at Barnard College called “Reacting to the Past.” This is a role-playing game pedagogy and conference attendees will be able to participate in themes such as “The Threshold of Democracy: Athens 403 B.C.;” “Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor, 1587;” or “Defining a Nation: India on the Eve of Independence, 1945.” For more about this, see

    The program committee shared that this year’s theme was influenced by trends evidenced in recent publications such as:

    • “The Knowledge Factory: Dismantling the Corporate University and Creating True Higher Learning” by Stanley Aronowitz
    • “The Future of the Public University in America: Beyond the Crossroads” by James J. Duderstadt, Farris W. Womack
    • “Science for Sale: The Perils, Rewards, and Delusions of Campus Capitalism” by Daniel S. Greenberg
    • “Academic Capitalism and the New Economy: Markets, State, and Higher Education” by Sheila Slaughter, Gary Rhoades
    • “Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education” by Derek Bok

    Similar questions are raised by Marc Bousquet in his book, “How the University Works” and Web site,, and in his Chronicle of Higher Education column, “Brainstorm;” and on The Education Conservancy Web site at

    I’m hoping to attend the conference and do believe it’s important to come together to talk about these issues (and, as you may gather from the “role playing” sessions, this is also a fun group that doesn’t mind getting a little outside its comfort zone for the sake of creative teaching). Thanks for “listening” to this pitch – and I look forward to talking more about the Creative Impulse at our next meeting!


    Amy White
    Outreach coordinator
    Center on Religion & the Professions
    University of Missouri, Columbia
    307B Cornell Hall
    Columbia, MO 65211
    (573) 882-2770

  3. I wanted to pass this resource along for your consideration. On Thursday, March 20 @ 5:30 pm in the Conley House, Professor Jo Stealey from the MU Art Department will give a presentation entitled “Collaborative Creative Research in Process: Multi-Media Performance Art.”

    According to the Center for Arts & Humanities webpage, “This lecture will highlight the collaborative, multi-media, creative research project, that artist Jo Stealey, and the performance art team, Eklektika (Pedro Guajardo and Rebecca Choate from Spain) will present in late April on the UMC campus. She will focus on how the project began and how it has evolved during the last year.”

    Funny how when you highlight a topic like creativity, all of a sudden you start seeing examples everywhere. This presentation sounds like an excellent resource for those interested in The Creative Impulse.

  4. Anthony says:

    John Gardner in On Moral Fiction writes that all art begins in a wound. It is the wound to which the artist creates in order to address.

  5. Hephaestus

    There is a fascinating discussion of the Wounded Artist as Creator in this website about the lame Greek god Hephaestus, who is depicted in this painting (Accession No. 61.78) from the Museum’s wonderful Samuel H. Kress Collection in the European & American Gallery.

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