Mia Funk: The Creative Process

How would you introduce yourself and the work that you do to our readers? 

I’m an artist, writer, podcast host, and the founder of The Creative Process and One Planet Podcast. The Creative Process is a podcast, international educational initiative, and traveling exhibition. One Planet Podcast focuses on the environment and the kind of world we’re leaving for future generations. What’s important for me is to create experiences that ignite imaginative inquiry and help the next generation to find their vision. As an artist, I never made a decision based on making money. I did what made me happy. The arts and humanities have always been my passion and nourished me throughout my whole life. They are the glue that holds society together.

How did you become a creative educator and come to launch The Creative Process?

After years of helping to launch cultural initiatives, founding magazines, and making arts documentaries alongside my painting and storytelling, I decided to found The Creative Process in 2016. It was launched at the Sorbonne, Panthéon-1 in Paris. While the Panthéon is a memorial to national heroes, The Creative Process celebrates living artists and creative thinkers from around the world who have made important contributions to society. It is designed to be a record of our time and through the collaboration of students and faculty, and the insights shared, we aim to inspire this and future generations on their creative journeys.

The Creative Process was born out of a desire to celebrate progressive intellectual and artistic practices that inspire human resilience and unlock potential in young people, encouraging their empathic imagination and an open mindset. We have promoted the humanities through art, literature, poetry, music, dance, film, podcasts, exhibitions, and conversations with well-known artists, writers, and creative thinkers. Through storytelling, we’ve celebrated culture, history, civic engagement, and shown the important legacy of the arts and humanities, how they provide spiritual and intellectual nourishment and enrich our lives. At a time when universities are increasingly prioritizing STEM, we say that both the humanities and sciences are essential elements of a well-rounded education and promote happier, more engaged global citizens.

What’s the most important concept or idea that you teach people?

We need to live a life larger than ourselves. Nurture your mind with nature and good company.

What do you think is the most important piece of practical advice that we can derive from your work?

It is important to remain curious. Learning is a lifelong process and everyone has the capacity for creativity.

Do you have a favorite quote that you use?

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution,” that people attribute to Albert Einstein. That’s really to say that knowledge is important, but what is of greater importance is what you do with that knowledge for that is really what you have contributed to society and our understanding of the world.

Working on this project, I am often reminded of what Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote:

When you want to build a ship, do not begin by gathering wood, cutting boards, and distributing work, but rather awaken within men the desire to long for the vast and endless sea.

And these really touch on the three pillars of our project, imagination, knowledge, and respect for the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to learn more about what you do?

To learn more about our projects, visit www.creativeprocess.info, oneplanetpodcast.org, listen to The Creative Process and One Planet Podcast on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. There are many ways you can get involved in podcasts, exhibitions, or other initiatives. We’ve even had projects right here in Athens and conducted interviews with many museum directors, archeologists, artists, philosophers, and others.

Suppose you were able to give a talk or workshop at the original location of Plato’s Academy in Athens. How would you feel about that and what topics would you cover? 

Giving a talk or workshop at the location of Plato’s Academy in Athens would be a dream for me. I am in awe of Plato’s contribution to culture and learning, as well as Greece’s enormous cultural legacy, which I only grew to admire more through conversations with many artists and intellectuals in Athens. For my workshop or talk, I would like to draw on my experience as a creative educator, artist, and podcast host to discuss the importance of creativity and ways for unlocking our artistic voices.

Citing the many conversations with immensely talented and accomplished artists I’ve been honored to have, I would conduct open conversations that allow participants to understand that they are part of the process in order to help them realize their creative capacity. In honor of the important setting and the many Greek contributors to The Creative Process, from the directors of the Acropolis Museum, National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST), Benaki Museums, Onassis Cultural Centre, founding director of Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, and other museums, to the choreographer for the Olympic Games, writers, musicians, philosophers, and many others have shared so much about their creative process and the importance of knowing history with us. My workshop would begin and end with Plato, whose teachings are the foundation of our Western culture. We may never fully know the extent of Plato’s influence on culture, but it is interesting to explore his impact on contemporary philosophers and the pursuit of this knowledge is perhaps the most important part of the journey.

Mia Funk is an artist, writer, podcast host, and founder of The Creative Process and One Planet Podcast. Her painting, writing, and films can be seen on www.miafunk.com.

Visit www.creativeprocess.info. Listen to The Creative Process and One Planet Podcast on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Follow us on @thecreative_process, @miafunkart, Facebook to see opportunities to share your creative work or to get involved.

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