Curativity Center
Published in

Curativity Center

The Creative Life Curation Project

A Possible book for the Life Strategy Project and the Creative Life Project

The above picture was designed for a possible book: Creative Life Curation: Turning Experiences into Meaningful Achievements.

The book is a collection of articles I wrote in the past month. See the list below:

Why did I write these articles? See the diagram below.

CALL stands for Creative Action Learning Lab. Its keyword is Creative Action and it refers to my approach to creativity research: the “Process as Product” approach. You can find more details in The NICE Way and Creative Actions.

Later, it led to the Path of Creative Life.

In the past 12 months, I developed a new structure of units of analysis:

  • Creative Projects
  • Creative Journey
  • Creative Life

I also mentioned these four units of analysis in the following possible books:

1. Ecological Practice Design > Creative Actions
2. Project Engagement > Creative Projects
3. Creative Journey > Creative Journeys
4. Life Strategy > Creative Life

Each book also introduces a theoretical framework.

1. Ecological Practice Design > The Lifesystem Framework
2. Project Engagement > The Developmental Project Model
3. Creative Journey > The ECHO Way
4. Life Strategy > The Anticipatory Activity Framework

These four books are developed for different purposes. Now I curate them together as a new meaningful whole!

Creative Life Curation is part of the series of “Aspects of Creative Life”. You can consider it as a part of Life Strategy, or you can see it as an independent possible book.

The Creative Life Project

In 2022, I used the Thematic Landscape Map to manage my knowledge projects. Though the Creative Life project is hosted by CALL (Creative Action Learning Lab), it also connects to other knowledge centers.

The Creative Life project became a collaborative project between the following four knowledge centers:

  • Life Strategy Center: “Life Strategy” for Knowledge Creators
  • Curativity Center: “Life Curation” for Knowledge Creators
  • Activity Analysis Center: “Activity Analysis” for Knowledge Creators

We can see the Creative Life Curation project as a sub-project of the Creative Life project.

The Creative Life Curation Project

From the perspective of Curativity Center, the Creative Life Curation project is part of the journey of building the knowledge enterprise of Curativity Theory.

In 2019, I wrote a book titled Curativity: The Ecological Approach to General Curation Practice.

I have been working in the curation field for over ten years. I was the Chief Information Architect of BagTheWeb which was an early tool for content curation (We launched the site in 2010). This experience inspired me to make a long-term commitment to the Curation theme. After having 10 years of various curation-related practical work experience and theory learning, I coined a term called Curativity and developed Curativity Theory which became a book.

The new term Curativity refers to “curating pieces into a meaningful whole” which means general curatorial practice. The reason why I coined the term is that I was not satisfied with the specific view of curation such as “professional curation means art and museum.” I argued that there is a need to redefine “curatorial practice” as a general social activity and a universal experience. In other words, I was calling for an interdisciplinary view of curation or curatorial practice.

Why do I use the term General Curation?

Museum curators and Art curators tend to use Curatorial Practice to refer to their professional activities. I consider Curatorial Practice as a subcategory of General Curation. From the perspective of Curativity Theory, the following social practices are considered part of the family of General Curation.

  • Event organizing and curating
  • Web content curation
  • Knowledge Curation
  • Publishing and editing a catalog or a magazine.
  • Toy Curation
  • Grocery shopping and other types of shopping
  • etc.

Thus, General Curation is about social practices which require selecting, collecting, organizing, presenting, and reflecting. It goes beyond the scope of traditional professional Curatorial Practice.

In the past three years, I worked on several general curation projects. See the diagram below.

The primary project was the Knowlege Curation project (Phase 1, 2020–2022). This project aimed to Connect THEORY and PRACTICE by turning Pieces into a meaningful Whole.

  • Closed on Oct 18, 2022

Now I am working on the Creative Life Curation project.

The Knowledge Curation project is about connecting THEORY and PRACTICE.

The Creative Life Curation project is about turning Individual Life Experiences into Collective Culture. It refers to both personal innovation and cultural innovation.

In 2019, I also developed a framework for General Life Curation.

Now we see a path:

1) Knowledge Curation -> 2) Creative Life Curation -> 3) General Life Curation -> 4) General Curation Practice

The Art of Knowledge Curation

The Creative Life Curation project produces two results.

  • A Model of Creative Life Curation

The first one is about the art of knowledge curation while the second one is about the art of experience curation.

In the past several months I developed several frameworks for creative life development from different theoretical perspectives. This led to a challenge:

How to curate these perspectives together for the Life Strategy project?

The answer is Ping-keung Lui’s theoretical sociology. I used it as a reference frame to curate three paths and four frameworks together.

The structure of Lui’s theoretical sociology is a nested structure. See the diagram below. According to Lui, “The realism comprises a subjectivist structuralism and an objectivist stock of knowledge, while the hermeneutics is an interpretation and an analysis. Second, I shall present an ontology that nests the realism within its boundaries.” (p.250, 2016, Aspects of Sociological Explanation)

Source: Aspects of Sociological Explanation (Ping-keung Lui 2016, p.251)

I used Lui’s nested structure to connect my four frameworks:

  • The Life — History Complex
  • The Creative Life Curation framework
  • The Path of Creative Life

See the diagram below:

It’s clear that these frameworks are located at different layers.

  • Realism: The Anticipatory Activity System (AAS) Framework
  • Hermeneutics: The Creative Life Curation Framework

Lui’s approach also offers a brand-new tool called “Semiotic System Diagram” which is a set of concepts that are connected together. He used the same method of mapping the semiotic system of theoretical sociology to map other sociological theories. By comparing different semiotic system diagrams with the semiotic system diagram of theoretical sociology, he can use his theoretical sociology to support and contain many empirical sociological theories.

I also made two semiotic systems diagrams for the new theoretical framework. The first one offers a global view. You can find more details in Three Paths of Creative Life and A Semiotic System.

The second one expands the third part which offers details of the Creative Life Curation framework. See the diagram below. You can find a large-size picture in A Semiotic System Diagram for Creative Life Curation.

This is an amazing theoretical knowledge curation project!

While the primary theme is claimed, the concrete solution is not clear. The primary theme is the transformation between individual actions and collective culture.

From three different theoretical approaches, I developed three paths for understanding the primary theme. How can I curate these paths into a meaningful whole?

I need a new knowledge container to contain these three pieces.

The solution is clear. I can use a meta-theory as the container. Lui’s theoretical sociology is a such meta-theory.

The Art of Experience Curation

The second semiotic systems diagram also refers to the Creative Life Curation framework.

In the past three years, I worked on the Knowledge Curation project. On Sept 18, 2022, I designed a cover image for a possible book Knowledge Curation and used it to close the Knowledge Curation project (phase 1). After reflecting on the journey, I made the above diagram.

I roughly use five movements to model my journey of the Knowledge Curation project. These five movements form a basic model for understanding Creative Life Curation. I also use First-wave, Second-wave, and Third-wave to describe the dynamics of the model. All these dynamics can be found in my journey.

You can find more details in The Creative Life Curation Framework.

The notion of “Creative Life Curation” refers to turning Life Experiences into Developmental Resources, and Meaningful Achievement.

I consider “Creative Life Curation” as a specific life strategy for knowledge creators.

Why did I choose this picture?

It refers to a metaphor:

First-order Experience and Second-order Experience

First-order Experience refers to normal life experiences. The girl sees the ocean.

Second-order Experience refers to Creative Life Curation. We need to curate pieces of normal life experiences into a meaningful whole.

How can we do it?

According to Curativity Theory, we need a container to turn pieces into a meaningful whole.

We need a frame to frame life experiences.

The frame brings us Second-order Experience.

I also developed five units of analysis for the Creative Life Curation project:

Action > Project > Journey > Landscape > Lifescape

I have developed a Creative Life Curation framework containing five analysis units.

1. Creative Actions
2. Creative Projects
3. Creative Journey
4. Creative Landscape
5. Creative Lifescope

The framework also highlights the following three types of “Curativity”:

  • Curativity 2: Turning pieces of Projects into a Landscape as a meaningful whole
  • Curativity 3: Turning pieces of Actions and Projects into a Lifescope as a meaningful whole

It’s an open framework!

If we can discover a new significant aspect of Creative Life and develop a corresponding method, we can add Curativity 4 and related keywords to the diagram.

Or, we can add Curativity 1.5 or Curativity 2.5 to the diagram.

Becoming A Life Curator

As mentioned above, While First-order Experience is directly given, it requires using Techniques to detective Second-order Experience. See the diagram below.

For example, Immediate Experience is directly given by everyday life events and actions. It belongs to First-order Experience.

If we don’t reflect on Immediate Experience intently, we can’t acquire deep meaning and knowledge under Immediate Experience. The Reflection brings us Reflective Experience which belongs to Second-order Experience.

The above diagram highlights five techniques:

  • Activity Analysis
  • Deep Analogy
  • Thematic Analysis
  • Biographical Analysis

These techniques are part of several methods I developed recently. You can find more details in the following articles:

As mentioned above, the Creative Life Curation framework is an open framework. We can develop more units of analysis and more techniques for curators.

While I made a distinction between Actors and Curators, a creator can be both an actor and a curator. In other words, a person can run a self-guided Creative Life Curation project.

A Possible Book

Now we can edit a TOC for the possible book.

  • 11 chapters
  • 40 articles
  • Total 624 min read
  • Total 165,360 words (about 330 single-spaced pages)

PART 1: A Theory of Life Curaton

Chapter 1: An Introduction to Curativity Theory

Chapter 2: The Creative Life Project

Chapter 3: A Theoretical Framework

PART 3: Aspects of Creative Life

Chapter 10: Aspects of Creative Life

Chapter 11: Curation as Strategy

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

Happy Thanksgiving!

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Oliver Ding

Founder of CALL(Creative Action Learning Lab), information architect, knowledge curator.