CREATE Salon: Clusters of Creativity

The start of the new academic semester brings new and inspiring CREATE events! The first Salon takes place on Thursday 11 October between 3:00-5:30 pm (Turfdraagsterpad 9 BG 1 eLab (0.16). This month’s topic is Clusters of Creativity. We will explore exciting new directions in this field in presentations by:

Weixuan Li (Huygens ING, CREATE): Deep mapping artists’ locations in Amsterdam 
Through deep-mapping the production and consumption of paintings in seventeenth-century Amsterdam, this research visualizes the artists’ intra-city migration pattern across time. Information extracted from archival documents are layered on top of the historical maps of 1625 and 1724 by geo-referencing the descriptions of locations in the original sources. This research further links the biographical databases of agents in the creative industries in Amsterdam (ECARTICO), enabling a close look into the fabric of Rembrandt’s neighborhood, Sint Anthonisbreestraat. The result of the deep-mapping and the micro-analysis of the neighborhood challenge the commonly-held belief that this neighborhood declined as an artistic cluster in the 1640s after Rembrandt bought his house. Lastly, by layering paintings created in Sint Anthonisbreestraat onto the map, this research unveils the traces of imitation and emulation among artists living ‘around the corner.’

Michel Serafinelli (University of Essex): Creativity over Time and Space
The presentation starts with the observation that creativity is often highly concentrated in time and space. Dr Serafinelli explains the formation and decay of creative clusters using data on thousands of notable individuals born in Europe between the XIth and the XIXth century, and historical records on city institutions and population. He argues that the formation of creative clusters is not preceded by increases in city size or wages. Instead, the emergence of city institutions protecting economic and political freedoms facilitated the production of creative talent. The presentation provides suggestive evidence that the same institutions also aided the attraction of creative talent.