A headshot of Ph.D. candidate Jessica Hunter-Larsen.
Student

PhD

PhD candidate Jessica Hunter-Larsen is associate director of innovation at Colorado College.


The Creativity Immersion seminar flooded me with intellectual challenges; provocative discussions; and wildly creative experiences that have formed a delicious, transformative tangle in my brain. My ways of thinking are forever changed.

Dissertation

"Movement/ Disruption: Art, Perception, and Expanding Possibilities"

In a series of interrelated essays, my dissertation explores how engaging with the ambiguity that art specifically offers can disrupt our thinking habits, shift our perspectives, and unlock possibilities for creative new forms of thought and action. Layering memories and impressions drawn from my personal experiences as a curator and educator, discussions of specific artists and works of art, and analyses of various theoretical perspectives, I seek to reveal how art both mirrors and challenges our perceptual processes. Using examples drawn from my personal experience and supported by theories of perception, attention, and creativity from neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, I explore why and how encounters with art can push our capacities to see, think, and feel beyond their typical functioning. Neither a map for tracing a direct route nor an authoritative guide, the dissertation instead represents a collage of overlapping and diverging narratives that, in combination, suggest an interconnected network of relationships between art, perception, and creativity. In this way, the dissertation's structure parallels one of its central ideas: the experiences of disruption and reorganization that contribute to creative thought and action are deeply interconnected, yet we experience them in a nonlinear and atemporal manner. Lapses, detours, tangents, and time lags comprise constitutive elements of the process. The stylistic choice to include my own creative responses to the art and ideas I present another of the dissertation's premises: creative responses to something observed can function as interpretive acts capable of accessing ways of knowing and understanding. By remembering, reflecting, and responding, I attempt to make sense of how my ideas and experiences intersect with others'. Through this discursive, creative sense-making process, I seek to make space for discovery, inviting the reader into my exploration of how art can disrupt and reorganize our perceptions and expand creative possibilities. Bringing my personal, intellectual, and creative selves into the process of its creation, I hope to perform the complex convergences of perception and possibility that I explore within the dissertation.

Committee

Dr. Yael Katz, Executive Leader, Educator and Creativity & Innovation Advisor; Former Vice-Provost, Academic at Sheridan College, Canada

Buzz Spector, Visiting Faculty, The PhD in Creativity at the University of the Arts

Ronald A. Beghetto, PhD

Publications

"When Uncertainty Becomes Possibility: VTS and Creative Problem-Solving," Visual Thinking Strategies