Critical creativity resources – references, practical ideas and tips for working creatively


This first resource contains affirmations and practical tips on being creative. It was prepared by Mary Mulcahy, Lorna Peelo-Kilroe and Angie Titchen for their contribution to the  Enhancing Practice Conference 2014 in Toronto.

Some people find it helpful to meditate briefly before working with their creative imagination and expression.  Mary Mulcahy uses this meditation in her practice development work at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.

Increasingly, practice developers and researchers are working with mandalas for their personal and professional development, as well as helping others to use them in practice development work.  If you are interested, here are some ideas and reflective cues to help you get started on creating a mandala. Mary has written about this work and presented the mandala image in a short article in the International Practice Development Journal ( ( ).



This quote by Henri Nouwen is about hospitality but it speaks to Mary, Lorna and Angie about the way a transformational practice developer and researcher works within a critical creativity worldview


“Hospitality is not to change people but to offer a space where change can take place. It is not to lead our neighbour into a corner where there are no alternatives left, but to open a wide spectrum of options for choice and commitment.  The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness… not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free; free to sing their own songs, speak their own languages, dance their own dances; free also to leave and follow their own vocations.  Hospitality is not a subtle invitation to adopt the lifestyle of the host, but the gift of a chance for the guest to find his or her own”(Henri Nouwen)

Nouwen, Henri J.M., 1975 ‘Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life’, Image Books, Doubleday, New York.


Critical creativity and using creative arts methods in practice development and research


Coats E., Dewing J. & Titchen A. (2006) Opening Doors On Creativity: Resources To Awaken Creative Working. A learning resource, Royal College of Nursing, London. Retrieved from (Last accessed 10/9/13)

Dewing J., McCormack B. and Titchen A. (2014) Practice Development Workbook for Health and Social Care Teams. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Horsfall D. & Titchen A. (2009) Disrupting edges – opening spaces: pursuing democracy and human flourishing through creative methodologies. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 12 (2), 147–160.

Jackson, C. and Webster A. (2011) Swimming against the tide – developing a flourishing partnership for organisational transformation. International Practice Development Journal, Vol.1. No. 2. [7]. Retrieved from: (Last accessed 10/9/2013).

Lieshout van, F., Cardiff, S. (2011) Dancing outside the ballroom: Innovative Ways of Analysing Data with Practitioners as Co-Researchers. In: Higgs,J., Titchen, A., Horsfall, D., Bridges. Creative Spaces for Qualitative Researching: Living Research. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, pp223-234.

Lieshout, van, F. (2013) Taking Action for Action. A Study of the Interplay Between Contextual and Facilitator Characteristics in Developing an Effective Workplace Culture in a Dutch Hospital Setting, through Action Research. Eindhoven, The Netherlands: Fontys University of Applied Sciences.

McCormack B, McGowen B., McGonigle M., Goode D., Black P. & Sinclair M. (2014) Exploring ‘self’ as a person-centred academic through critical creativity: a case study of educators in a school of nursing.  International Practice Development Journal, 4(2) [3] (

McCormack B., Titchen A. & Manley K. (2013) The contextual web of practice development. In B.McCormack, K. Manley & A.Titchen (Eds), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, pp275-294.

McCormack B, Dewing J, Breslin L, Tobin C, Manning M, Coyne-Nevin A, Kennedy K and Peelo-Kilroe L (2010) The Implementation of a Model of Person-Centred Practice in Older Person Settings, Dublin: Office of the Nursing Services Director, Health Services Executive (

McCormack B. and Titchen A. (2006) Critical creativity: melding, exploding, blending, Educational Action Research: an International Journal, 14(2), 239-266 (

McIntosh P. (2008) Poetics and space: developing a reflective landscape through imagery and human geography. Reflective Practice. Vol. 9. No. 1. pp 69-78.

Mulcahy M. (2013) Mandalas as a tool for transformation to enable human flourishing: the influence of Carl Jung: International Practice Development Journal 3 (2) (11).

Sanders K., Odell J. and Webster J. (2013) Learning to be a practice developer. Chp 2 in McCormack, B., Manley, K. and Titchen, A. (Eds). Practice Development in Nursing and Healthcare. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, pp 18-44.

Titchen A. (2013) Writing with flow: publish and flourish through whole-self writing. International Practice Development Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1, Article 10 (

Titchen A. & McMahon A. (2013) Practice development as radical gardening: Enabling creativity and innovation. In B.McCormack, K. Manley & A. Titchen (Eds.), Practice development in nursing and healthcare. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 212-232.

Titchen A., & Horsfall D. (2011). Embodying Creative Imagination and Expression in Qualitative Research. In J. Higgs, A. Titchen, D. Horsfall & D. Bridges (Eds.), Creative spaces for qualitative researching: Living research (pp. 179-190). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.

Titchen A., McCormack B., Wilson V. & Solman, A. (2011) Human flourishing through body, creative imagination and reflection. International Practice Development Journal, 1(1), Article 1 ( ).

Titchen A., & Neissen T. (2011). Living Research Practices: Being in Creative Spaces. In J. Higgs, A. Titchen, D. Horsfall & D. Bridges (Eds.), Creative spaces for qualitative researching: Living research (pp. 147-158). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.

Titchen A., & Horsfall H. (2011). Creative Research Landscapes and Gardens: Reviewing Options and Opportunities. In J. Higgs, A. Titchen, D. Horsfall & D. Bridges (Eds.), Creative spaces for qualitative researching: Living research (pp. 35-44). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.

Titchen A. & McCormack B. (2010) Dancing with Stones: Critical creativity as methodology for human flourishing, Educational Action Research: An International Journal, 18(4), 531-554 (

Titchen A. & McCormack B. (2008) A methodological walk in the forest: critical creativity and human flourishing. In K. Manley, B.McCormack & V. Wilson (eds), International Practice Development in Nursing and Healthcare. Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 59-83.

Titchen A. and Manley K. (2006) Spiralling towards transformational action research: philosophical and practical journeys, Educational Action Research: an International Journal, 14(3), 333-356.

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