Interview withSaybrook Creativity Studies Specialization Student Hamish More
Tell us a little about your background.
I am originally from Scotland, and moved to NZ 14 years ago to take advantage of the clean, green and very safe environment – and also to be in a country where I didn’t have a 2-3 hour commute to work. My first degree was in technology, and I worked in IT and business consulting for the majority of my “first career” and in the last 15 years have moved increasingly into work that for me has a greater sense of meaning, purpose and contribution – work that makes a difference. I have spent the last 5 years working in the environmental/ecosystem/species protection area, and absolutely love it.
What made you decide to apply to the Creativity Studies program at Saybrook University?
I wanted to extend my learning, and chose creativity studies for a few reasons: The Saybrook programm it was part of an overarching psychology curriculum and that was important for me; the learning would require me to work in an area that was outside my ‘normal’ area of study and therefore push/extend my own learning boundaries; I was keen to learn from Prof Pritzker, and finally the programm allows me to follow areas of interest and is done via distance/on-line learning which is essential – as frequent trips from NZ is a bit of an obstacle.
What do you plan to do with the knowledge and experience you're getting in the program?
I currently use many aspects of my background in psychology, coupled with systems-thinking, complexity-thinking and other areas – and apply these to current “wicked-problems” – these are the big, complex unsolvable problems such as environmental degradation, pollution – the ones that have no easy-fix, merely a state of better or worse. I plan to become even more immersed in these, and use aspects of creativity and multi-disciplinary thinking to see what inroads can be made to making them ‘better’. I also love working with teams and large groups to explore “what might be” and the learning in the programme is enriching my understanding of many of these aspects.
What does creativity mean to you?
The act, and process of bringing something new or different into being, that is of benefit to all living things, and the environment.
Are there any particular areas of creativity that you've been interested in?
Organisational creativity, the still or quiet “state of mind” that is conducive to creative thinking and reflection, cross-disciplinary exploration, visual-literacy in organizational contexts and the application of creative approaches to ‘social-good’ initiatives and approaches. I am fascinated by the emerging research that suggests we need to slow down, respect the need for stillness, and that our unreasonable and increasing pace of life is detrimental to health, wellbeing and creativity.
What do you do for fun?
Read about psychology, the psychology of environmental issues, and read about stuff I want to learn more about; for me, learning is fun. I am currently teaching myself digital/graphic design, and am playing with this to see if I can create more compelling information on environmental matters and behavior change with regard to sustainability and ecological mindfulness.
I also am pretty passionate about getting out into the natural environment - being in New Zealand this is pretty easy to do. I’m also pretty keen on retaining a healthy mind-body connection, so am a regular gym-goer, practice yoga, and mindfulness meditation.
How does creativity inform your day-to-day life?
Pretty much in every aspect, when I remember to be mindful of it.
What is a piece of advice you would give on how to enhance creativity?
Study diverse areas – draw on thinking and expertise that is outside yours, and beyond the immediate problem you are focusing on. Follow hunches, and most of all – play; approach things with a questioning sense of “what might I be able to do with this that might surprise myself, and be fun?”- be open to serendipity and synchronicity – indeed actively look for them.
How is studying for your MA a creative process?
Creatively making more hours in the day, creatively balancing a full-time demanding role with study; creatively balancing the needs of my family; and also deep immersion into aspects of creative processes that are new.
Which creative person do you admire? Why?
I have huge respect for people who cross-disciplines – those who have the self-courage and determination to forge links where others see none, or refuse to entertain the idea of being limited in their thinking. I also admire those who champion causes that benefit the environment and all living things.