School of Communication and the Arts
Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art (MFA)
Creativity, Worldplay, Imagination, Worldbuilding, Play
Art and Design
Abbott, Nicholle Kimberly, "The Creative Laboratory: Embracing Childlike Imagination to Develop Lifelong Creativity and Cognitive Ability Through Worldplay" (2021). Masters Theses. 741.
There is a decline in creativity that occurs in children around the sixth grade. Although it is commonly agreed that creativity is a valuable skill, the playful activities of childhood that naturally develop creativity are often discouraged once the child reaches middle school age. This thesis investigates methods of generating creativity that can be introduced to children as a way to combat the slump. Specifically, it analyzes worldplay, the act of creating an imaginary world, as a potential tool for building creativity. To test the viability of worldplay as a creative tool, the thesis used a literature review to establish existing methods of generating creativity, particularly exploratory play, constructive play, and roleplay. Then, case studies and content analysis were employed to examine the worldplay activities of known worldbuilders. The results showed that many of the common activities involved in worldplay naturally incorporate the methods of generating creativity, supporting the idea that worldplay can function as a laboratory in which children can practice and hone their creative abilities. Therefore, the thesis visual deliverable was the construction of a worldplay guidebook for middle school age children, demonstrating the process of worldplay through the creation of an imaginary world, with a focus on teaching and implementing the methods of play that foster creativity.