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Contributing to a better future with creativity

Radical creativity is my elixir, it motivates and revitalises my interest in research and the world at large, says assistant professor Elisa Mekler.
Associate professor Elisa Mekler. Photo: Matti Ahlgren
'In my research, we have discovered that interacting with a radically creative game is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also opens up people’s mind to new ideas and perspectives' says Elisa Mekler. Photo: Matti Ahlgren

 

According to philosopher Martha Nussbaum, a life worthy of human dignity requires, among other things, the capability to be creative – and not only if there are tools for people to be creative with. But are these tools accessible and if so, for whom? The implications for s  our work at Aalto are truly radical: We must ask ourselves if our work supports or stimulates people’s capability for creativity.

Personally, radical creativity is my elixir – I think for many other people too – it motivates and revitalises my interest in research and the world at large. Engaging with art, deep ideas, or work in bridging communities showcase that despite all of our global societal challenges, there is inspiration and perhaps even hope for a better future, and that we can contribute to it.

My work centres on how technology, video games, for instance, can support meaningful and aesthetic experiences. Practising creativity is of course a source of fulfilling experiences, but in my research, we have discovered that interacting with a radically creative game is not only aesthetically pleasing but also opens up people’s mind to new ideas and perspectives, transforming them in a positive way. In that sense, radical creativity begets more radical creativity.

Aalto encourages experimentation and a lot of autonomy. We see that in the world-renowned artistic output, in the boundary-pushing scientific and technical innovations – or in my case, that the Aalto Computer Science department hired a psychologist as faculty! In hindsight, it’s pretty wild that I started out as a student of the humanities, graduated in psychology, and now am surrounded by world-class computer scientists and designers.

If you look for it, it is also very easy to find inspiration everywhere at Aalto: exhibitions, Aalto books and theses, and facilities that enable students to be creative. I admire artists and researchers that keep reinventing themselves, tread new ground, and raise novel yet deep questions over and over again.

 

Elisa Mekler
Assistant Professor, Computer Science
School of Science

Radical creativity

We build an outstanding creative community for new thinking.

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Radical creativity illustration, showing wave and some details from campus architecture, illustration by Anna Muchenikova
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