Bring in the arts and get the creativity for free: A study of the Artists in Residence project
Journal article, 2008
In the literature on creativity and innovation, there is a tendency to idolize great contributors to the liberal arts as extraordinarily creative individuals. Such ex post facto accounts of ‘great men and women’ are, however, of limited value for everyday practices in organizations. This paper reports insights from a Swedish project named Artists in Residence (AIRIS) wherein artists, including musicians, painters, actors and directors, dancers and choreographers, collaborated with a regular company or workplace during a ten-month project, aimed at helping the co-workers think in new and creative ways. The study concludes that there are many benefits from making the world of artists and the world of work intersect, but there is also a demand on the participant to fully commit to the project. Even though the culture project was positively received among co-workers, only a limited effect on workplace climate could be reported for the 2005 evaluation, while the 2006 evaluation indicates more positive effects. Still, the amount of texts advocating artists' creative skills and experiences outnumber the cases of actual projects bringing the two groups together. Studies of projects like AIRIS show that there is a great potential in bringing artists into industry.