The stifling silence around scholarly creativity in doctoral education: experiences of students and supervisors in four disciplines
AbstractThe demand for developing creativity among doctoral students is found in a number of educational policies all over the world. Yet, earlier studies on Swedish doctoral education suggest that doctoral students’ creativity is not always encouraged. Based on a critical hermeneutic approach and cases in four different disciplines, the aim of this study was therefore (1) to explore different shapes of doctoral students’ creativity in Swedish doctoral education and (2) to reveal and find possible explanations to some of the conditions stifling doctoral students’ scholarly creativity. Interview data was collected from 28 participants, constituting 14 dyads of students and supervisors in four disciplines. Through hermeneutic interpretative analysis of the disciplinary cases, the results show that creativity kept on playing in musical performance, was an unexpected guest in pedagogical work, was captured in frames in philosophy and put on hold in psychiatry. Across the cases, students’ scholarly creativity was essentially encapsulated in silence. This silence seemed to emanate from controlling intellectual, political and economic agendas that enabled stifling conditions of the students’ scholarly creativity, where it was as follows: restricted by scholarly traditions, embodying supervisors’ power and unrequested in practice. Based on these findings, the article ends in suggestions for preventing such conditions, holding that it is important to establish a discourse on scholarly creativity in doctoral education, to view doctoral students as capable creative agents and to actually ask for their scholarly creativity.