Polyphonic Orchestration: The dialogical dynamic of creativity (POLYORCH)

POLYORCH will develop a dynamic view of the creative process as the polyphonic orchestration of voices or perspectives in the form of dialogues taking place within the person, between people, as well as between creators and their material and symbolic culture. Going beyond static understandings of creativity whereby it is defined in terms of personal traits or characteristics of products, we will focus our attention on the dialogical nature of creating with and for others, within a socio-material and cultural context.


The project draws both on a sociocultural approach to creativity that considers as situated, culturally mediated action (a view advocated, among others, by Vygotsky, Sawyer, John-Steiner) and dialogical and pragmatist accounts of the mind (reflected in the work of Bakhtin, Mead, and Rommetveit). Further the project builds on an extensive ethnographic fieldwork of knowledge co-construction in organizational settings conducted by Dr. Ingunn Johanne Ness and highlighting the process characteristics of polyphonic orchestration, its outcomes, facilitators and obstacles.


A particular focus is placed on the role of leaders and facilitators within the group and the way they foster dialogical relations between members and cultivate a sense of openness and possibility specific for creative work. Our ethnographic fieldwork will help us to further conceptualize the notion of polyphonic orchestration as a key marker of creativity in both professional and everyday settings and reflect on its dialogical implications.


This concept portrays creativity as a dynamic process meant to articulate, at once, self and other, sameness and difference, the real and the imagined, with transformative consequences for creators, culture, and society.

Dec. 2016 -
Funded by SLATE
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Project Leader
Ingunn Johanne Ness
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