A Space to Create

Skill gives a practitioner a boundaries to work in and provides a channel for expression, which is essential for a complete idea to be realised. It is also a refuge in the sea of information and allows a mental space, also often demanding a physical one, to act on an idea, to exemplify it or bring it to fruition.

Roald Dahl's Writing Hut. Photo: PA (2011).
Roald Dahl’s Writing Hut. Photo: PA (2011) [online: The Telegraph]

Roald Dahl (1916-1990) famous British author of novels for adults and children, did most of his work in a shed in his garden – creation often needs a retreat. Dahl died in 1990 but his shed was left intact, complete with arm chair, footstool, writing board and a host of oddities that held meaning for him (including a ball of foil wrappers from chocolate bars that he’d been compiling since at school). When there was a campaign to preserve the hut, one reporter noted that “…a visit to a great writer’s habitat will demonstrate, like nothing else, a creative mind turned inside out, the preoccupations and obsessions turned into tchotchkes littering up the desk.” (Hensher, 2011).

Roald Dahl's writing hut with arm chair and collected items on desk [online] The Guardian.co.uk.
Roald Dahl’s writing hut with arm chair and collected items on his desk [online: The Guardian]

I think it is interesting that this report makes connections between cognitive thought processes and the physical objects that a person owns.  These seemingly useless curiosities are a way to remember how a person felt at a certain point, who they were with and ideas that they may have had when interacting with a certain object.

In the chaotic ‘madness’ of information, creativity allows us to strategically pick the things that help to tell the story we want to and refine the detail imperative for clear communication.

This is an edited excerpt from a paper for ‘Creativity: Method or Madness? The 4th International Postgraduate Conference’ held on the 26th and 27th May 2015 at the University of Glasgow.



Hensher, Phillip (2011) Let’s Hang on to Roald Dahl’s Writing Hut [online] The Telegraph newspaper.

URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/8770669/Lets-hang-on-to-Roald-Dahls-writing-hut.html

Accessed: 25/06/2015


Photograph of Roald Dahl’s desk by Eamonn McCabe [online] The Guardian newspaper.

URL: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/may/23/writers.rooms.roald.dahl    Accessed: 25/06/2015


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