Creativity in Context

In analysing the relationship between creative practice and the site/context in which it is presented, I have chosen to discuss music, as it is something I am directly involved in. The context of a creative project – in where it is created and where it is presented – can vary how successful it will be. The surrounding influence of a works context has a powerful – yet perhaps subconscious influence – on the final outcome of the project.

Music is a hard field to be successful in. It is partly a game of chance, yet also dependent on context. For example, a masterpiece can be created, yet will never be ‘successful’ or be on the charts as the context is not right for the song. Let’s say a classical music piece is created, to the same complexity and quality of Mozart. There is a large chance that this song will not be heard by many people, as ‘classical’ music is not at the forefront of popular music in 2018. However, if the song was to be conducted in the seventeen hundreds, it may have been more successful (in regards to making money, and performing). My band Mal De Mer Is due to release a single in June, to ensure that the launch is successful, we have had to analyse our context. For example, most people that would be interested in attending the launch would be around the 18 – 25 age gap. We hence figured that placing our launch in the inter-semester break would prevent Uni work clashing with people’s availability. We have also lowered the price of entry to accommodate the financial income of this age bracket. In understanding our peers/audience, our project can be more successful. It is important that we understand our context and our audience’s needs – finding the right context for our work will aid us in the final outcome of the show.

Sometimes an artist’s goal is not success, but is to challenge the context it is within. It is in this that confronting and powerful works are created that are successful in their own way. Trending at the moment is Childish Gambino’s music video for “This is America”. The video and the song collectively tackle issues of gun violence, and both cultural and political issues in America. The video is a raging success due to the controversy it sparks within its context. Hence a works context can be manipulated to make a statement.

It is important to understand how a context can influence a creative practice. The world and environment we are surrounded by will influence the creation of our works whether we are conscious of it or not. The effect of collaborating with our peers – even if it occurs subconsciously – will usually result in more mature and complex work.


Sources –

Brummer, C. (n.d.). The Importance of Context. Retrieved from Artist Strong:

McAvoy, B. (2016). Music: Why Context is Everything. Retrieved from Campaign Live:

Pledger, D. (n.d.). Circles of Context: Giving a Work of Art its Meaning. Retrieved from The Conversation:

Törnqvist, G.. (2004). Creativity in Time and Space. Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography, 86(4), 227–243.).




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