Art of Record Production Conference
May 17-19, 2019
Berklee College of Music, 921 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215
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Sunday, May 19 • 10:30 - 11:00
Inside Out and Outside In: how should we be discussing collaborative creativity in record production?

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How do the ways in which we conceptualise creativity affect the process of analysis? The theorisation of knowledge, connectivity, power and judgment can be divided into two broad approaches – representing these phenomena as internal psychological processes or as external social or cultural entities. Approaches such as Csikszentmihalyi’s system approach to creativity or Bourdieu’s notion of different forms of capital, treat knowledge, connectivity, power and judgment as reified social phenomena which people own or interact with. Approaches such as Latour’s Actor Network Theory or Clark’s Joint Activity Theory treat these phenomena as individual and internal psychological processes. Both of these approaches have advantages and disadvantages and they both encourage us along different trajectories of thought about the nature of creativity and understanding.

Looking at examples of record production analysis by Richard Burgess, Isabel Campelo, Marian Jago, Nyssim Lefford, Phillip McIntyre, Sophie Stévance & Serge Lacasse, Paul Thompson, Albin Zack and Simon Zagorski-Thomas, the paper will discuss some of the implications of considering creativity from either micro or macro perspectives. How does the reification of social phenomena have implications for discussing different individuals’ or groups’ access to them? On the other hand, surely the attempt to understand social phenomena in terms of individual psychologies leads to endless reduction?

This paper starts from the position that theoretical models in the humanities and social sciences are metaphorical rather than descriptive in nature. For example, Bourdieu is not suggesting that a physical entity called cultural capital exists but that it is a metaphor that allows us to understand the world better; that power relationships can be understood ‘as if’ there is a phenomenon called cultural capital. How do these different metaphorical ‘as ifs’ encourage us to conceptualise the processes of creativity in record production and what do they suggest in terms of affordances for interpretation?

avatar for Simon Zagorski-Thomas

Simon Zagorski-Thomas

London College of Music, University of West London