“I Don’t Take My Tuba to Work at Microsoft”: Arts Graduates and the Portability of Creative Identity

Danielle J. Lindemann, Steven Tepper, Heather Laine Talley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Drawing on data from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (N = 13,581) and the Teagle Study of double majors (N = 1,736), we examine how arts alumni and students view their creative skills as transferable across contexts. Based on these preliminary analyses, we find that people with similar training interpret the relationship between their creativity and their work differently. We postulate that variations in creative identity may be one compelling explanation for these differences, which are not attributable solely to job type or to workplace context. Our results suggest, furthermore, that creative identity has both “portable” and “salient” dimensions. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for future research on the identity dimensions of creativity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1555-1578
Number of pages24
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017



  • artists
  • arts graduates
  • creativity
  • education
  • identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

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