Same but Different? Distributed Creativity in the Internet Age

Ioana Literat 1  and Vlad Petre Glăveanu 2
  • 1 Teachers College, Columbia University, United States of America
  • 2 University of Aalborg, Denmark


This article aims to contribute to a better understanding of the impact of the Internet on distributed creativity. While the social mechanisms that are fundamental for creative expression are not radically different online, and while we want to avoid overly romanticizing the role of the Internet or falling prey to technological determinism, we argue that there are, nevertheless, significant shifts that must be acknowledged and examined. In order to achieve a more nuanced and analytical account, we suggest a simple framework centred around five questions - who, when, where, how and why - that allow for a differentiated understanding of the range of changes in creative expression in the Internet age. To model the application of this framework, we use the example of crowdsourced art (participatory online art) as a creative practice that illustrates some of these key shifts. In thinking about creativity in online spaces, we suggest that the consideration of actors (who), times (when), places (where), processes (how) and motives (why) facilitates a valuable multidimensional understanding of these significant and complex changes.

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