16. The Manifesto


For the first 10 years of my professional history, I have been a creative... and one who has done an awful lot of things.

I have invented machines. Designed creative tools. Composed soundtracks.

Painted canvases.

Named commercial smartphones.

Illustrated children's books.

...and binaural stories. Built interactive sculptures. Helped develop brand identities. An used creativity to educate learners of all ages.

But throughout all of those wonderful and exciting opportunities, there's one thing I have never done that well - I have never successfully defined who I am...

I have been a creative with an identity-in-flux.

I've come to believe that this issue has been largely brought about by the influence of the traditional definitions for established creative disciplines. I have actively worked under many different creative roles - but having never been a permanent fixture within any of them I often felt like an imposter within the worlds that I worked; a short-stay tourist to the island of specialism, as I sailed the seas of multipotentialism. ...or at least that's how it has always seemed. In recent years as I've begun to put my practice under the microscope, and into the particle collider, and through these processes I realised that there was a bigger system at play; a common thread that ran through all that I did, as an agile and reflexive creative freelancer...

I was telling stories, and I was creating experiences. Every time I drew on a certain set of creative skills or disciplines it was for exactly these purposes. But even this isn't where the redefinition of my practice lies. Not quite. It actually sits on the plane above this. My obsession with understanding how the discrete nodes of my creative skillset are interconnected and interdependent brings about one master role to rule them all if you will. Being a Systems Thinker. This new framing of my professional identity has brought with it a new line of enquiry within my creative practice, one that sees me focusing on two core objectives: 1). To successfully decode and materialise the systemic inner-workings of my practice as a creative generalist.

2). To disseminate a creative strategies framework that promotes organisation within the creative jobs landscape. Both of these aims sit behind my passion to catalyse the normalisation of the role of creative generalist and encourage a new movement of practitioners, of whom I am hereby referring to as the Systems-Creatives; creatives who understand WHY they create, and not just HOW or WHAT. Historically speaking, analogous practitioners have existed throughout our history, under many labels... The Greeks and the Great Thinkers. Plato. Aristotle. Eratosthenes. The Renaissance and the Polymaths: Ramon Llull. Leonardo Da Vinci. Johannes Kepler. The 20th Century and the Multipotentials: Buckminster Fuller. Brian Eno. Jaron Lanier. In the current era, I believe that a new wave of fully-acknowledged creative generalism is looming - and in a very very big way. This time, triggered by dramatic changes in the creative economic landscape and largely enabled by the affordances of new more effective resources and technologies, the barriers between creative disciplines are becoming fuzzy again, but in a way that has never been seen before. The increasing multimodality of new media is bringing about a more whole, ultimate neo-practitioner. The epic narratives woven by artists, moving towards planes of Transmediality. The phenomenon of creativity-in-total is rushing ever closer towards a singularity of Thirdspace.


...and before this new wave crests, I intend to be on the other side of the door when the wider creative community presses the buzzer to be welcomed in. ...ready to deal the cards, and provide everyone with an effective way to navigate this new landscape of the creative-whole.

Copyright © Leigh Davies 2020