Cultural Diversity as a Factor in Creative Development


Several UNESCO reports have identified cultural difference as a potential catalyst for creativity in a community. This is reinforced by research on cultural policy and creativity, including the work of Professor Richard Florida and Sir Ken Robinson, as well as contributors to the 2006 Vienna Conference on Cultural Policy Research.

It is more than forty years since the theoretical framework of a creativity based on the intersection of diverse elements of knowledge was postulated. The linking of disparate pieces of information to build something that is independent of either, has become integral to our thinking about creativity. Further, our understanding of the role creativity plays has vastly diversified, extending from the arts into all aspects of knowledge development. In this context, multicultural societies provide a vast potential resource for creative development in art and industry and across the social spectrum; but we require strategies to harness the potential of this resource.

Dr Helen Andreoni’s report ‘Outside the Gum Tree’, 1992, found many artists who migrated to Australia, bringing skills and visual traditions from outside the core notions of an Australian art, had little opportunity to practice their art forms. With reference to examples of ways in which diverse cultural sources have contributed to the creative richness of contemporary visual culture, this paper contends that to maximise the creative potential of a community, it is necessary to support a diverse cultural mix.

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Bernard HOFFERT:

Bernard Hoffert is a professor, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Associate Dean for External Affairs in the Faculty of Art & Design at Monash University. He has written four books, numerous articles and essays and hundreds of art reviews and has exhibited paintings and installations internationally. He is a former world president of the International Association of Art-UNESCO.