What is Creative Computing?

At the end of 2021, together with a group of colleagues from the University of Oslo, I have established the Creative Computing Hub Oslo (C2HO), a research network of academics and independent practitioners on Creative Computing.

Creative computing practitioners come from different backgrounds ranging from computer science and engineering to the arts and humanities. At the University of Oslo (UiO) and in the Oslo region, there are several pockets of fragmented expertise scattered across departments and organizations, as well as a vibrant community of independent practitioners. With the C2HO initiative we aim to systematically map expertises, develop a cross-domain understanding, gather relevant resources, and build a network that fosters collaborations and cross-contaminations. Furthermore, C2HO aims to deploy an e-infrastructure that facilitates knowledge-sharing and networking between researchers and other practitioners.

Some C2HO resources:

What is Creative Computing

Often people as “What is Creative Computing?”. I have created this short video and written this text as an answer to this frequent question.


Creative Computing refers to the use of computing technologies to create expressive artifacts rather than something functional.

Creative Computing (CC) is an interdisciplinary area of research and practice at the intersection of computational technology and media cultures. CC movements started in the 80s and 90s as alternative practices within computer cultures (e.g. demoscene, hacking and pirating, experimental and artistic uses of computer technologies). Early movements in the pre-Internet era were deeply influenced by the the respective technological and socio-cultural contexts. CC communities implement the values of participation, social inclusion, and bottom-up innovation. They have created not only important specimens of digital cultural heritage, but also universally adopted technical solutions (e.g. Linux).

The coding or programming component in CC is very important. On one side is the main tool that the creator uses to generate an artifact. On the other side, is a key component characterizing the value of the artifact and the perceived creativity of the creator. In other words, in order to project the word ‘creative’ onto a piece of software, people need to understand – at least at a high level – how the program works, and compare this to how humans create. This is aligned with modern artistic movements, in which innovations in the production process are as important, or more, than the the aesthetic value of the artwork itself.

Applications of CC includes digital and physical arts, but also digital heritage, health and wellbeing, and education. Indeed CC is strongly related to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), an emerging pedagogical approach including the arts within STEM fields.

Research related to CC is primarily focused on creative algorithms and software architecture design. The CC unique ecosystem can nurture novel cross-disciplinarity collaboration in research and development.

CC should not be confused with computational creativity, although there are overlaps between the two. Computational creativity refers to application of computing technologies to emulate, stimulate and enhance human creativity, while in CC coding and technology are only medium to express human creativity.

CC is open, participatory, expression, activism, art, hacking, and sharing.

Related Articles

Yang, Hongji, and Lu Zhang. “Promoting Creative Computing: origin, scope, research and applications.” Digital Communications and Networks 2.2 (2016): 84-91.

Ritchie, Graeme. “Some empirical criteria for attributing creativity to a computer program.” Minds and Machines 17 (2007): 67-99.

Colton, Simon. “Creativity Versus the Perception of Creativity in Computational Systems.” AAAI spring symposium: creative intelligent systems. Vol. 8. 2008.

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