The Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Possible

Living Edition
| Editors: Vlad Petre Glăveanu (Editor-in-Chief)

Collaborative Creativity

Living reference work entry


In this entry we suggest that a shared view of the possible has accompanied the development of successful creative collaboration both in modern time, in the historic past, and from the viewpoint of deep history. The concept of the possible in collaborative creativity is distributed, in rather than predicated on an individual, at times this possible is unknown by all until the moment it becomes actualized. The possible, when considered in this way, becomes a relational phenomenon existing in a shared future both inspiring collaboration and also inspired by it. This entry will start by drawing a distinction between creativity in groups and collaborative creativity before moving to examine how a distributed sense of the possible drives commonly collaborative ventures such as in music or science and how collaboration unfolds across multiple time scales. Finally, we will move to an aspect of creativity more rarely considered from a psychological perspective – that is how creativity appears in the archaeological record. The study of creativity should have great appeal to prehistorians: The remarkable creativity of our species appears to be one of the defining features that separates humans from the rest of the animal world, but an individualist view of creativity has stymied previous study. Our review of the current evidence suggests that the fundamental building blocks of the development of human creativity lie in demographic and neural changes relating to social engagement. This points to the tantalizing suggestion that all creativity should be considered as collaborative.


Collaboration Deep History Distributed Creativity Demography Social intelligence Extended Mind Entanglement 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyKingston UniversityKingston upon ThamesUK
  2. 2.Department of Social SciencesOxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK
  3. 3.BIMM InstituteBrightonUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Ingunn Johanne Ness
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology, Centre for the Sciences of Learning and Technology (SLATE)University of BergenBergenNorway