Help us sharing our research, consultation and experiences

Donate Now

The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021



Parallel Papers Session 1
Friday 5 July 1.45pm-3.00 pm, EEST
Paper Code: PP14

Looking for sources of innovation, transformation and new positive futures in the creative industries

Presenter: Thea Mikkelsen

Looking for sources of innovation, transformation and new positive futures in the creative industries. My field of work and research are the creative industries where we experience a growing sense of polarizations and insecurity, as we globally have seen exposed by the Hollywood strikes in the summer 2023. The discontents in our present civilizations are present among cultural creative people where for instance 46% in the creative design industries were considering leaving their jobs in 2021 (Wetransfer rapport, 2021). The situation today where forecasts estimate the creative economy can grow 40% by 2023 in certain countries (Deloite 2021) and at the same time a disillusion and fear of burnout (Wetransfer rapport, 2022) among people working within the industries call for rethinking of the organization and psychological contracts.

Since the creative workforce not only takes up specific roles in our societies but also as the design researcher Guy Julier has described (Julier 2017, 2021) has “a symbolic role in the wider neoliberal economy” where “the creative industries symbolically represented a kind of work that functions at the leading edge of the transformation of the self within the framework of neoliberalism” (Julier, 2021) what happens in the creative industries can be seen as symbolic in relation to our globalized society as a whole.

To try to understand the psychological as well as social implications for the individual members of the creative industries, I have engaged in a ph.d. research project at NIODA, Australia. My aim with the project is to describe new models for identifications with the role of a cultural creative professional and to develop new conceptual platforms for performativity.

“Reality shows us that civilization is not content with the ties we have so far allowed it. It aims at binding the members of the community together in a libidinal way as well and employs every means to that end. It favors every path by which strong identifications can be established between the members of the community, and it summons up aim-inhibited libido on the largest scale so as to strengthen the communal bond by relations of friendship. In order for these aims to be fulfilled, a restriction upon sexual life is unavoidable.” (Freud, SE, p. 109)

The paper will relate this quote from Civilization and its Discontents to Philip Boxers concept of defences against innovation and his presentation of why we need a third epoch of applied psychoanalysis (Boxer, 2017). The paper will from a Lacanian point of view explore how societal disruptions and their relation to the radical unconscious influences the individual and how we can study the effects of this on the individual possibility to identify with a role in a system as well as how we can design and facilitate interventions that lead to transformations.

The paper will present and explore how a combination of the psycho-social research method focused on “intense experiences” in the researcher described by Lita Crociani-Windland (2009) and the collaborative aspect of action research for transformation (Bradbury, 2022) can help us get past the defended researcher-subject (Hollway & Jefferson, 2012) and through a focus on thirdness (Benjamin, 2009, Boxer 2014) get access to new sources of data related to collective innovative possibilities. The analysis will also draw on the literary scholar Shoshana Felmanns lacanian feminist readings of Freud (Felman, 1991). Felmans reading strategy with a focus on narratives of resistance will allow us to listen to what is insisting to be heard but cannot be said within the dominating narratives and will be presented as a source for inspiration to how we can access sources for transformation and hope for positive futures.

Biographical Summary

Thea Mikkelsen, MA & MSc, Ph.d. student at NIODA
(Summary pending)