Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Creative thinking: try lying down

[9 May 2005 - PhysOrg] Keep that pen and paper by the bed: new research by an ANU PhD graduate suggests it may be that our most creative thoughts come when we’re lying down. Dr Darren Lipnicki, from the School of Psychology in the Faculty of Science at ANU, found that people solved anagrams more quickly when they were lying down compared to standing up. More

Thursday, May 05, 2005

New findings support a central role for NMDA receptors in learning and memory

[11 April 2005 - EurekAlert!] Learning and memory are processes that link experience with behavior and therefore play central roles in our daily experience. That there exists a physical basis for these processes seems at first hard to imagine--except for the fact that physical disruptions in the brain, such as stroke or disease, can make them go wrong. This week, researchers report that by making targeted genetic disruptions that disable a key neurotransmitter receptor in the fruit fly, they have uncovered an important clue to the physiological mechanisms at work in learning and memory. The subject of the study was the so-called NMDA receptor--a neurotransmitter receptor possessing special properties that could make it especially useful in learning and memory. In particular, past work has shown that NMDA receptors can respond in a special way to concurrent events on both sides of a synapse. Acting in this way as "coincidence detectors," NMDA receptors may help neurons form stronger or weaker connections with each other depending on whether they are repeatedly stimulated together. Neuroscientists strongly suspect that this process--called synaptic plasticity--of modulating the strength of synaptic connections on the basis of experience forms an elemental, neuron-level basis for learning and memory. More

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Disorganisation: Why future organisations must 'loosen up'

[2004 - Demos] Changing expectations of working life have created a new tension at the heart of organisational strategy. Employees want more human organisations with greater autonomy and flexibility. They want an experience of work that fits with their values. They want a greater say in the future of the organisations they work for. In short, they want organisations to ‘disorganise’. At the same time, organisations are facing external pressures. Competition shows no sign of waning, new demands for accountability and growing concern about security are all forcing organisations to take greater control, ‘hyper-organising’ to cut costs or guard against potential failure. So far there are only case studies of organisations experimenting with ‘disorganisation’. While these ‘case study companies’ may represent a relatively small part of the corporate sector, they can be seen as surface manifestations of an underlying desire for employees to feel just a bit less organised. This report looks at how organisations can manage the desire among employees for a greater sense of ‘disorganisation’ in an ever more competitive and complex environment. Based on new data from polling of employees and business decision makers, Disorganisation argues that to stay organised in the deep sense of engaging their employees in a shared project, organisations may have to disorganise to allow people more freedom to express their personal values and individual identity. Download and read the full report

About Learning

[2005 - Demos] Future excellence in learning depends on greater collaboration between leading edge schools and education researchers. Teachers are adopting new approaches to help students learn more effectively and some of these methods are better than others. Moreover there is room for developing yet better methods if practical developments in schools and the most promising advances in cognitive science could be brought together to ensure speedy and trustworthy new ways of ensuring that students learn more effectively. This report, published by the Learning Working Group and Demos, was commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills. The Group was chaired by David Hargreaves, Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge. The report proposes the establishment of a Commission on Learning, with its own small permanent staff and budget. It would be tasked with improving the exchange of ideas between schools and cognitive scientists, and driving forward collaboration between the two communities. Independence in learning is identified as one of the key areas where greater collaboration between education scientists and practitioners is required to promote excellence and raise standards. Download and read the full report

IBEC: Ireland must encourage innovation

[4 May 2005 - Ireland On-Line] Ireland needs to encourage innovation rather than rely on the comfort zone left by the Celtic Tiger boom years, it was claimed today. With experts at the Economist Intelligence Unit in London warning a failure to innovate was one of the top three risks to business, IBEC chiefs called on firms to use their creativity to bring new products to the marketplace. More

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Collective Creativity Exhibition

[3 May 2005 - OneWorld Southeast Europe] On May 1, the team of art curators ”What, How and for Whom?” (Ivet Curlin, Ana Devic, Natasa Ilic and Sabina Sabolovic), opened the “Collective Creativity” international exhibition at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kasselu. The exhibition will be open for visitors until July 17, 2005.

Using their own experience of daily functioning in a collective, the members of the WHW curator team, under the “Zagreb – European Cultural Capitol 3000”, started a series of events in 2003 (lectures, debates and exhibitions), under the “Collective Action” name. The events were designed to explore the subject of specific aspects of working in art groups and collectives.

The invitation to exhibit at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum, being outside the established paths of bilateral state and institutional cooperation, is a unique opportunity for an independent collective of curators to work in one of the centres of the Western visual arts scene, and is immensely important for the promotion of non-institutional cultural practice in Croatia and a proof of its presence on the international scene.

”Collective Creativity” deals with diverse forms of collective artistic creation with a common programme, lifestyle, methodology and political positions shared by all protagonists. The exhibition addresses specific social tensions that are used as an axis around which the different activities of the group are organized.

The exhibition deals with various emancipation aspects of collective action, while the collaborative creativity is not just a form of resistance to the dominant arts system and capitalist demand for specialization, but also a productive and performing criticism of the social institutions and policies. More

Multi-million dollar foundation for global cultural development to be launched

[3 May 2005 - BBC] A UK arts centre will be created by a new multi-million pound foundation for global cultural development, backed by artists Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. The Louise T Blouin Foundation, named after its Canadian arts publisher founder, will be based in London, New York and Paris. ... "Culture is the ultimate democracy," said Louise T Blouin MacBain. "We believe that culture can enhance creativity, which is the nervous system of society." More

See also the New York Times piece about this launch.