Where does it come from? Collaborative emergence in creative work practices

Laura Lucia Parolin, Carmen Pellegrinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This article presents a case in which analytical tools coming from the tradition of distributed cognition are able to account for what has been defined collaborative emergence (Sawyer & DeZutter, 2009; Sawyer 2012) in creative practices. With this article, we aim to contribute to the debate of distributed creativity by discussing an empirical case of collaborative emergence and providing the analytical tools able to account for its analysis. Introducing the concept of a creative network of interactions, we stress the importance of selecting, describing, and analysing the interactions that give rise to the collaborative emergence in creative work. Introducing the concept of collective creative imagination, we account for the collective emergence of the scene. We suggest that collaborative emergence is the result of a process of collective coordination and improvisation, emerging from moment-to-moment contingency in collective cognition and imagination. The new unpredictable outcome does not emerge from a sudden singular intuition avulsed from the environment, but it is the result of several coordinated steps made by the participants.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100800
Number of pages8
JournalNew Ideas in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Collaborative emergence
  • Creative network of interactions
  • Collective creative imagination
  • Creative practices

Field of science

  • Multidisciplinary
  • Media and communications


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