From line managers, corporate CEOs, urban designers, teachers, politicians, mayors, advertisers and even our friends and family, the message is ’be creative’. Creativity is heralded as the driving force of our contemporary society; celebrated as agile, progressive and liberating. It is the spring of the knowledge economy and shapes the cities we inhabit. It even defines our politics. What could possibly be wrong with this?
In this brilliant, counter intuitive blast Oli Mould demands that we rethink the story we are being sold. Behind the novelty, he shows that creativity is a barely hidden form of neoliberal appropriation. It is a regime that prioritizes individual success over collective flourishing. It refuses to recognise anything - job, place, person - that is not profitable. And it impacts on everything around us: the places where we work, the way we are managed, how we spend our leisure time.
Is there an alternative? Mould offers a radical redefinition of creativity, one embedded in the idea of collective flourishing, outside the tyranny of profit. Bold, passionate and refreshing, Against Creativity, is a timely correction to the doctrine of our times.
Oli Mould is Lecturer in Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. His work focuses on issues of urban activism, social theory and creative resistance. He is the author of Urban Subversion and the Creative City (Routledge, 2015) and blogs at taCity.co.uk.