Semantic and Communication Networks of Creative Communities

Participants: Dr. Nikita Basov (CGES), Dr. Aleksandra Nenko (Higher School of Economics), Elza Abdulkhakova (Smolny College, St. Petersburg State University), Artyom Antoniuk (Faculty of Sociology, St. Petersburg State University)

The influence of social structures on creative style represents an attractive research subject. This is particularly the case when we focus attention not on individual creative styles, but on the creative styles of artistic communities – groups of artists involved in intensive and expressive interaction with each other. Unique creative styles of different artistic communities develop in constant (re-)interpretation of the essence of art, discussions on the themes and formats for artworks, continuous interaction during collective creative process and representation of artworks in the city space. These processes are, no doubt, conditioned by knowledge and communication structures of artistic communities. The project questioned to what extent, and how, creative styles depend on particular properties of such structures by studying four diverse artistic communities located in St Petersburg, Russia and one in Barcelona, Spain.

The research team has carried fieldwork and collected data on a well-established creative community La Escocesa, based in Barcelona, Spain in collaboration with partners at the University of Barcelona: Matias Ignacio Zarlenga and Prof. Dr. Arturo Rodriguez Morato. Research techniques applied in Barcelona included interviews, observations and documents analysis. Comparative analysis combined the collected material and the material on creative communities in St. Petersburg collected in the project ‘Communicative Practices of Knowledge Creation in a Modern City Social Space’ (Faculty of Sociology, St. Petersburg State University).

Semantic networks of the communities were mapped using transcripts of dialogues between the artists and of semi-structured interviews with the artists, as well as their textual works (articles in papers and magazines, poetry, novels, etc.), and posts in social media. Communication networks were mapped through network surveys run in each of the communities. Then the project group calculated quantitative measures of semantic and communication networks, such as density, centralization, average tie strength, etc. and identified positions of particular nodes in the networks. Further, the project group analyzed the relations between the two types of networks of each artistic community. Finally, throughout comparative qualitative analysis across artistic communities an attempt was made to trace the complex impact on different features of creative styles made by semantic and communication networks properties.

Publications

  • Basov N., Nenko A. Artistic Community Knowledge Structure Revealed: A Semantic Network Analysis of ‘La Escocesa’, Barcelona // CGES Working papers. St. Petersburg-Bielefeld, 2013.
  • Zarlenga M.I. Place and creativity in Visual Arts. A sociological analysis of urban creativity processes in the city of Barcelona // CGES Working papers. St. Petersburg-Bielefeld, 2013.

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