Art and Copy

I’ve argued before that teaching, to borrow the title of a Seymour Sarason book, is part performance art. The title of this blog is a testament to the personal nature of it, the performance aspect it benefits from, and the central role creativity plays in the teaching and learning process. I think these statements are held as self-evident by most practitioners, and by many researchers in the field, too.

But recently I saw a documentary, Art and Copy, about creative types that made me reflect on the latter term in the blog title. The documentary – centering on the advertising industry – is a joy to watch, but suffers from an adoration of all things creative. It seems to suggest that advertising is mercurial; that success or failure is resting (solely?) on the genius of the creative superman. And moreover, that you would have a hard time measuring ‘success’ even if you wanted to.

But I wonder: isn’t there some way to determine ‘best practices’ of advertising beyond the ego of those creating it? Aren’t most fields a mix of technique and inspiration? If we applied the creative superman myth to all fields, what would the results be?

We’ve all seen the results in teaching – and through that looking glass are occasionally troubling images indeed.

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