Recent studies on creativity have shifted their attention from the individual to a social perspective, focusing on relational dynamics fostering creativity. Even though they contributed to improving the understanding of the role played by contextual variables, previous studies overlooked the relationship between the territorial features and creativity, and in particular the effect that place identity could play in favoring the creative process. The aim of this paper is to fill this gap by exploring how members of a creative cluster perceive the identity of the place where they live in and how such perceptions (internal and external identity images) affect their activities. In so doing, we will present the results of a qualitative study conducting on the case of a mid-sized city in Northern Italy. In detail, the paper illustrates the results of semi-structured interviews conducted on a sample of 167 young creative workers in order to evaluate how they shape the internal and external images of the city identity and which effects these images have on their creative activities. Results underline the importance of images in shaping their attachment to a territory and how these images can be perceived as raw materials that a territory could provide creatives with. Results also offer insights on the pivotal role of experience in defining identity and sense of place, and thus their impact on a creative cluster.
Keywords: Creativity, identity, images, territory, sense of place, placelessness