Creative Research Center

About the Center

“What we’re focused on is creativity. ‘Genius’ is a state, but creativity is an activity: It’s stuff you’re doing.”
— Cecilia A. Conrad, Director of the Fellows Program, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The Creative Research Center (CRC) is a born-digital, dynamic, nimble, open-source, collaborative space — a Web forum to stimulate, reinvigorate, promote and publicize “Very Large-Scale Conversations.”

Since our pioneering launch in April, 2010, the CRC has lived in the College of the Arts of Montclair State University; however, the arts are by no means the sole proprietors of imaginative thinking. The reason-for-being of the Creative Research Center is to inspire discussion of the imagination and creativity across all fields of knowledge. The environment of Montclair State as an aspirational public university is the ideal place to incubate such a Center.

The CRC continues to be energized by curatorial, editorial and outreach intentions to break down the so-called “silos” among academic colleges, departments and programs. Outside our familiar academic culture lies a vast and endangered world. Daily occurrences on the big stages of our overstressed society and natural environment effect – in ways writ large and small – the way men and women in the post-9/11 millennial generation live their lives.

The first challenge of the new CRC was to spark engaged, interactive (and intergenerational) discourse, crossing over academic boundaries to address real-world issues. The first great American trans-disciplinary (transcendental) thinker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said it well, back in 1862: “It is impossible to extricate oneself from the questions in which your age is involved. You can no more keep out of politics than you can keep out of the frost.”

The CRC encourages communication across the permeable membrane between public and private worlds and spheres; and explores the impact of large contexts upon the intimate content of our thoughts and character, no matter what intellectual and imaginative roads are pursued.

This year, borrowing (with admiration) a provocative question posed by the Museum of Modern Art, the CRC is likewise asking, “What happens at the intersection of precise knowledge with infinite possibility?”  We are going to explore the revival of “The Long Form” as a way of expression in our “tweeting” world. We are going to encourage the intelligences of MSU faculty doing new work to think of our site as a blank canvas existing for the exercise of their imaginations.