Defence of doctoral thesis in the field of Visual Communication Design, MA Laura Valojärvi

Valojärvi’s doctoral research offers a new way to think about creative resources that will help people to achieve and sustain creative well-being.
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Title of the doctoral thesis: The Cycle of Creative Resources: The creative process and creative well-being from the perspective of picturebook illustrators

Opponent: Docent Maria Lassén-Seger, Åbo Akademi

Custos: Professor Masood Masoodian, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media

Defence is held remotely via Zoom:

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The dissertation is publicly displayed online 10 days before the defence at:

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It is typical for creative professionals to “overfish” their creative resources, which easily leads to feelings of unenthusiasm, powerlessness, and even burnout in creative work. Laura Valojärvi’s thesis examines creative well-being and the complexity of the creative process from the perspective of picturebook illustrators. Before making the thesis, Valojärvi worked as an illustrator herself for several years. For her study, she interviewed eight other picturebook illustrators, and as a result, created new theory not only for the creative illustration process, but also, for how professional creativity works.

The thesis concludes by providing two visual models that have emerged from the studies presented in the thesis. The first – the Picturebook Illustration Model – presents the four-stage process followed when illustrating picturebooks. The second – the Cycle of Creative Resources – proposes that creative well-being could be observed as a cycle of six states of creative resources that have been identified in this thesis. Where on the Cycle of Creative Resources a creative professional finds herself has a direct impact on how fulfilling or draining she experiences the creative process. The thesis proposes that creativity in itself does not increase or diminish in a person – it is always there, ready to be used and explored. What changes is the creative resourcefulness. This, Valojärvi proposes, is at the core of creative well-being.

The risk of severe work-related burnout has doubled in Finland in the past five years. Furthermore, recent studies show that people working in the creative industries are almost three times more likely to suffer from mental health problems (for example, anxiety and depression) than the general population. Yet, there has been surprisingly little discussion of creative professionals who have lost their work motivation and creative spark. Valojärvi’s work offers a new way to think about creative resources that will help people to approach, achieve, and sustain creative well-being.

More information: Laura Valojärvi, [email protected], tel.+358 45 630 6111

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