A Grounded Theory of Creative Identity
It is no small irony that studies of creative identity have themselves tended to lack creativity. Drawing on interviews with participants who self-identify as creative, this study goes beyond conventional notions of creative identity as either a fixed reality or a mere state of mind, or both. Creative identities are formed and reformed constantly, over time, as individuals enact their own role repertoires. Role repertoires, in turn, are created, expanded, and altered as individuals relate and react to an array of primarily social factors unique to the creative enterprise—threat of failure, partial social inclusion and exclusion, artistic collaboration, and reward. A constructivist grounded theory design was employed to examine the meaning of being a creative individual and the associated creative processes utilized by the self-identified participants. The data collected were used to develop a theory of creative identity for the self-identified participants. In this study the researcher was additionally interrogated through the use of heuristic inquiry. The theory constructed from data reports on the social construction of the meaning of being a creative individual. The data on the meaning of being a creative individual revealed three subprocesses that contributed to the participants’ construction of a creative identity: role repertoire, role performance and self-efficacy. The analyses of the data on creative process revealed three conditions for creativity: isolation, collaboration and creative constraints.