The San Miguel Artist Project: A Grounded Theory of "The Emergence of Wonder"


  • Gordon Medlock Wright Graduate University



creativity, art, emergence, wonder, grounded theory methodology, phenomenology


This article employs classical grounded theory methodology to explain the creative process of artists. Two integrally connected core variables are identified: emergence and wonder. Wonder represents the experience that motivates and sustains the creation of works of art, and emergence the process by which the sense of wonder is progressively embodied in the content and form of the work. The theory describes a number of distinct phases, including the experience of wonder, immersion in artistic practice, conceiving a specific work or project, composing the work, presenting the work for an actual or potential audience, and finally moving-on. These phases involve a dynamic stream of recursive processes—sketching, refining, connecting, channeling, and assessing—that ultimately facilitate the emergence of wonder in artistic works.

The theory of the emergence of wonder also appears to apply to the research processes of both grounded theory methodology and phenomenology, suggesting that these two research methodologies are more similar and have more in common with the artistic creative process than is commonly acknowledged.



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Author Biography

Gordon Medlock, Wright Graduate University

Gordon MEDLOCK is an independent scholar-practioner in the fields of existential, humanistic, and organizational psychology. He has published articles on personal authenticity and meaning-oriented approaches to psychology and psychotherapy, and is an active member and contributor to the International Association of Personal Meaning (INPM). Gordon has a doctorate in philosophy from Yale University, specializing in phenomenology and existential psychology, and a master's degree in clinical social work from the University of Chicago. He has practiced in an existentially-oriented psychotherapy practice for over twenty years, and is currently a faculty member with the Wright Graduate University, offering graduate degrees in transformational coaching and leadership. Gordon's primary research and teaching interests are in the fields of phenomenology, grounded theory, and research-based practice with applications to coaching and leadership effectiveness and creativity. He is also a principal consultant with HRIZONS, a consulting practice in the field of integrated talent management.




How to Cite

Medlock, G. (2015). The San Miguel Artist Project: A Grounded Theory of "The Emergence of Wonder". Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 16(2).