Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
[13 December 2006 - CommonDreams.org - by Dean Baker] The events of the last week should have dashed any hopes that the Iraq Study Group's (ISG) plan would lead to a quick US withdrawal from Iraq and an end to the violence. President Bush has made it clear that he will not accept the ISG plan for a phased withdrawal of troops. Even if he did accept the ISG plan, it is not clear how much longer US troops would remain in Iraq, nor that the plan would lead to an end to the civil war. Some new thinking is clearly in order. John Schmitt, my colleague at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, has risen to the occasion. He has developed an economist's solution for the war in Iraq - a $200 billion peace prize. The basic logic of the plan is very simple. At the moment, the various religious/ethnic groups in Iraq are fighting for control over Iraq and/or their particular territory in the belief that they have to protect their share of oil revenue and the other assets of the country. In other words, they have to fight to protect what they have, or to control what they think they should have. ... A prize of this magnitude would potentially mean serious money for the people of Iraq. It would be sufficient to provide almost $1,500 for every man, women, and child in the country, or $6,000 for a family of four. This is a huge sum for people in Iraq, where per capita GDP is less than $1,800 a year. The equivalent sum for the United States would be $150,000 a year for a family of four. This would be enough money to get most people's attention. If families in Iraq knew that they stood to get such large windfalls by keeping the peace, they might place considerable pressure on the militias, insurgents and jihadists to stop the killing. If the prizes were actually paid out, it would provide a huge boost to the Iraqi economy and could provide a basis for sustained economic development. More
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
From the Gather.com Editor: On behalf of the editorial team here at Gather, I am very pleased to inform you that your article "The Right to Be Creative -- In Schools, In Prison and In Life" has been chosen as an Editors' Pick. Congratulations! Your article will be featured on the home page of Gather.com on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 from 7:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. EST.This article was written following the opening performance of "Time In" in Hartford, which featured the words and inspiration of female prisoners from Connecticut. They were part of a creative writing class with author Wally Lamb (who has also been featured as an Oprah author). The article was also inspired by my mentor and colleague Berenice Bleedorn's work with prisoners in Minnesota in the 1980s.
"Last month I witnessed the positive impact that creativity had for a group of incarcerated women. Through a creative writing program, their creative spirits were nurtured, supported and given a voice -- where previously they'd been trampled, stifled and shredded."Time In" explores the stories of women incarcerated at York Correctional Institution in Niantic, Connecticut. This collaborative dance, song and spoken-word performance encompasses the stories of female prisoners' lives before conviction, the ceaseless presence of time in their lives on the inside, and the new lives and language they must learn as convicts. It also explores the life of the mind and spirit-- something that isn't given over to confinement in cells and boxes, like the rest of their lives are in prison. For some, the freedom of the mind is a way to maintain sanity; for others, a way to begin to imagine life after prison."Here's the permanent link to the article, after it is featured on the Gather.com home page Wednesday morning:
National Art Education Association - Museum Education Division
March 13, 2007
New York, New York
Pre-Conference 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Reception 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.)
"The world is but a canvas to the imagination." - Henry David Thoreau
The 2007 Museum Division Pre-Conference is an opportunity to reflect, renew, and restore your creativity and imagination. This year's theme was selected to encourage us to consider how we use creativity in our jobs and how museums may creatively inspire our visitors. Featured keynote speakers for the morning session at the Metropolitan Museum of Art are Eric Booth and Dr. Michael Hanchett Hanson. Eric Booth, director of the Mentoring Program at The Julliard School, is the author of The Everyday Work of Art. Dr. Hanson, Director of the Masters Concentration in Creativity and Cognition at Teachers College, Columbia University, looks at how creative meaning is constructed in different contexts and has focused his research on the roles of metaphor and irony in creative thinking. Following the morning session, participants may select ONE theme to follow during the afternoon:
1) Creativity and Leadership; 2)Artists and Educational Practice; 3) Technology; 4) Adult Programming; 5)Creative Parameters: Teaching in Collections; 6) Community Partnerships; 7) Building Audiences with Disabilities
Afternoon sessions will be held in various museums throughout New York City. The pre-conference will conclude with a reception hosted by the Education Department at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. More on Pre-Conference Workshop | More on NAEA Conference
Monday, December 11, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Escaping 'Average': Innovative Programs Make the Case That High-Level Classes Aren't Just for the Gifted
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
"Creativity is the experience of expressing and actualizing one's individual identity in an integrated form in communion with oneself, with nature and with other persons." -- Clark Moustakas, Psychologist and Author
"'Communion with nature' is a major force in the urge for creative expression." -- Berenice Bleedorn, Educator and Author, Education is Everybody's Business"Who is the Man, the Artist? He is the unspoiled core of everyman before he is choked by schooling, training, conditioning until the artist shrivels up and is forgotten. ... And yet that core is never killed completely. At times it responds to Nature, to beauty, to Life, suddenly aware again of being in the presence of a Mystery that baffles understanding and which only has to be glimpsed to renew our spirit and to make us feel that life is a supreme gift." -- Frederick Franck, Author, Zen of Seeing: Seeing/Drawing as Meditation
"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy." -- George Bernard Shaw
Change goes on. Surely the central task of our learning is not to confirm what is but to equip ourselves to meet that change and to imagine what could be ... recognizing the value in what we encounter and steadily working it into our lives and visions. -- Adapted from Mary Catherine Bateson, Anthropologist and Author, Composing a Life
"It has been said that most outstanding creative achievers seem to be possessed by a purpose and to be '[people] of destiny'." Creative people "need some purpose which is worthy of the enthusiastic devotion they seem capable of giving." -- E. Paul Torrance, Educator and Author
"People are not really afraid of dying. They're afraid of never having lived, not ever having deeply considered their life's higher purpose, and not ever having stepped into that purpose and at least tried to make a difference in this world." -- Joseph Jaworski, Author, Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership
Find out more information about the "Creative Wisdom Workshop" at the Hartford Public Library.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
A . You are thinking about InnoCentive (innocentive. com), a company paying cash to creative folks who solve specific problems. Both problem solvers and solution seekers are courted by InnoCentive. Solvers must register. Some challenges are specific ('A chemical method is desired to measure carbon steel corrosion presence in a non-intrusive manner'); others, general ('A sugar substitute is needed.') More
But the problem, he says, is not with the concept of brainstorming, but the way it is done.
“Most often, modern brainstorming involves a group of people sitting around a conference room, staring into space, and waiting for ideas to come. But in its true form, it’s a rigidly structured process,” he writes, adding that Alex F. Osborn, who coined the term in his 1953 book “Applied Imagination,” laid out three vital steps.
First, there needs to be a facilitator trained in drawing out the best ideas. Groups using a facilitator come up with 600 percent more ideas than those that don’t, said Scott Isaksen, founder of the Creative Problem Solving Group.
Second, there need to be clear guidelines — for example, the session will last no more than 45 minutes and criticism or judgment of the ideas that emerge should wait until the session is over.
Third, participants should prepare in advance for the session.
Given how badly it is usually done, it sounds as if most companies could use a brainstorming session to figure out how they should brainstorm. More
Friday, November 03, 2006
[3 November 2006 - By Steven Dahlberg, Principal, International Centre for Creativity and Imagination, Willimantic, Connecticut, USA] Inmates forfeit many rights while they are in prison. But their “right to think and be heard” – to think creatively and express their ideas – can’t be taken away.
As artist M. C. Richards once said, “we have to realize that a creative being lives within ourselves, whether we like it or not, and that we must get out of its way, for it will give us no peace until we do.”
Educator Berenice Bleedorn’s idea about the “right to think and be heard” is a fundamental belief that we all possess creative potential, that our creativity seeks expression, and that we can deliberately unleash and harness our creative thinking for the common good.
Our creativity makes each of us individual. Applying that creativity is how we connect with others to live out our purpose in the world.
This, in fact, is what education should be helping our children discover in themselves. But anyone who cares about creativity in education knows that few schools have enough resources to support high-quality (and quantity) programs in creative thinking and the arts. And this problem has gotten worse under the testing-outcome obsession of No Child Left Behind.
At the same time, vast amounts of research and experience continue to demonstrate the positive impact of creativity on learning, understanding, engagement and development.
There is a huge disconnect between what we know to be true and helpful and good, and what we actually support and encourage. We know that creativity matters – from the childhood classroom and innovative workplaces to economic development and positive aging. The National Governors’ Association even spent an entire day earlier this year focusing on creativity and education. Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano is focusing the coming year of her NGA leadership on the “Innovation America” project. Though it’s great to see these examples on the national level, creativity is rarely a priority in policies, funding and training.
Last night I witnessed the positive impact that creativity had for a group of incarcerated women. Through a creative writing program, their creative spirits were nurtured, supported and given a voice – where previously they’d been trampled, stifled and shredded.
“Time In” explores the stories of women incarcerated at York Correctional Institution in Niantic, Connecticut. This collaborative dance, song and spoken-word performance encompasses the stories of female prisoners’ lives before conviction, the ceaseless presence of time in their lives on the inside, and the new lives and language they must learn as convicts.
But it also explores the life of the mind and spirit – something that isn’t given over to confinement in cells and boxes, like the rest of their lives are in prison. For some, the freedom of the mind is a way to maintain sanity; for others, a way to begin to imagine life after prison.
Some come to this awareness naturally. For others, it comes through prison programs, such as the writing workshop at York run by Wally Lamb, the Connecticut author of She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True.
This performance – along with the commentary before and after with the artists, director, Lamb and two former York inmates – demonstrates what happens when you find and express your creativity:
- It shows the value of another person believing in you and your creative potential. “If you want to see somebody change, believe in them,” said a self-described ex-convict following the performance.
- It provides a strong argument for teaching creativity and arts in school so that students discover their true selves and can find a place for positive expression in school, rather than exploring negative self-identities and illegal expression on the streets. After teaching creative thinking to men in a Minnesota prison in the 1980s, Bleedorn recalls that “I cannot forget the men who, in some cases, may be paying the high price of failure of schools and society to recognize and value a multiple of thinking and behaving talents.”
- It suggests that if we want to rehabilitate offenders so that they become productive, contributing citizens, then we need to help them discover who they are, who they want to become and how to begin living that new vision. “Hope you can see the good inside of me,” sang the performers.
Most people’s encounter with creativity happens by chance – whether in the classroom, the workplace or in prison. They randomly find themselves in the presence of a great teacher or manager who realizes that simple, “one-right-answer” approaches aren’t going to create individuals who are capable of living in our complex, interconnected and challenging world.
The time has come to develop “creativity by choice, not by chance.” Lamb’s original choice was to teach one, 90-minute writing workshop at York. “What I wanted from them was whatever they needed to write – two pages minimum,” Lamb told the audience before the performance. This provided the chance experience for the women who ended up in his workshop, and the chance for Lamb to keep returning.
The choice has come in dedicating himself to more than seven years of working with these women. The choice has come in helping the women produce several books of their writing. The choice has come in partnering with other artists – such as the dancers from The Judy Dworin Performance Project and the singers of Women of the Cross – who also started working with the York inmates. These collaborators worked with the inmates to bring movement and song to the prisoners’ own words. Lamb describes the outcome, “Time In,” as “victory over voicelessness.”
Lamb reminded the “Time In” audience, as he taught the inmates, that creativity is hard work. It takes “revision, revision, revision … and patience, patience, patience.” But if you hunker down, find your voice and give your creativity its due effort, Lamb said you can see patterns, move out of dead ends and find your way out “to understand your history and rehabilitate yourself.”
These women “struggled their truths onto the page,” Lamb said. We can, too. And we can help the young people in our communities do the same.
Bleedorn reminds us that “the freedom to express individualistic, spontaneous ideas in appropriate, planned activities and in a supportive climate for some part of the school day could satisfy creative energies positively rather than relegating them to experimentation with negative behavior.”
The closing scene of “Time In” conveys a similar message of the freedom, hope and courage that comes from expressing our creative selves. It’s a strong reminder that we have a choice to recognize the creative potential rather than the destructive core of who we are. We have a choice to tap into what is most purposeful and meaningful in our lives. We have a choice to express ourselves and make our creative desires real in the world.
And we have a choice to develop creativity in both schools and prisons now, so that one day, we are only doing so in schools. How will you use your right to think and be heard?
"Time In" runs at Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford, Connecticut, November 2-4, 2006.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Monday, October 02, 2006
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Sound simple? Bear with me while I add some math. More specifically:
divided by FEAR
1. USE BRAINSTORMING TO COMBINE AND EXTEND IDEAS, NOT JUST HARVEST THEM
2. DON'T BOTHER IF PEOPLE LIVE IN FEAR
3. DO INDIVIDUAL BRAINSTORMING BEFORE AND AFTER GROUP SESSIONS
Alex F. Osborn's 1950s classic, Applied Imagination, which popularized brainstorming, gave sound advice: Creativity comes from a blend of individual and collective ``ideation.'' This means building in time for people to think and learn about the topic before the group brainstorm, as well as time to reflect about what happened after the meetings.
4. BRAINSTORMING SESSIONS ARE WORTHLESS UNLESS IDEAS LEAD TO ACTION
5. BRAINSTORMING REQUIRES SKILL AND EXPERIENCE BOTH TO DO—AND ESPECIALLY—TO FACILITATE
6. A GOOD BRAINSTORMING SESSION IS COMPETITIVE—IN THE RIGHT WAY
7. BRAINSTORMING SESSIONS CAN BE USED FOR MORE THAN JUST GENERATING IDEAS
8. FOLLOW THE RULES, OR DON'T CALL IT A BRAINSTORM
Monday, September 25, 2006
* Emotions, motivations, and perceptions about work permeate an employee's daily experience and affect performance.
* There are five specific leader behaviors that create a positive influence on people's feelings, and three that have a negative impact.
* Leaders must understand how ordinary, seemingly mundane things they do or say carry great influence on workers—so "sweat the small stuff."