Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
About Larry Lessig: Stanford professor Larry Lessig is one of our foremost authorities on copyright issues. In a time when “content” is not confined to a film canister, Lessig has a vision for reconciling creative freedom with marketplace competition. Watch Video
[9 November 2007 - Star Tribune - Minneapolis, Minnesota] ... This week, the annual convention of the National Association for Gifted Children has taken place in Minneapolis. One of the attendees is a 95-year-old woman -- Berenice (Bee) Bleedorn -- whose powerfully active mind is still searching for ways to reshape society's views on education. As the hausfrau-cum-Ph. D. has rightly pointed out, if we would only start with E. Paul Torrance, our education system -- and our students -- would be the better for it. More
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
[October 2007 - Edutopia, The Magazine of the George Lucas Education Foundation] LETTER: The story on the Alaskan school district ("Northern Lights," September 2007) was especially satisfying. At the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis/St. Paul, I introduced and taught creative studies in both education and business master's programs for seventeen years. The academic focus of my teaching was based on the work of E. Paul Torrance, a leading international authority on creative studies. In the article, it was clear that enlightened educators were bringing about curriculum and instruction Torrance tried to promote to the powers that be and to establish officially the system of creative teaching and learning that was finding favor with teachers all over the world. Much of the reform in educational practices that is surfacing independent of the bureaucratic establishment reflects the Torrance basics for education described in his publication The Incubation Model of Teaching.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
"Weaving a New Willimantic" ... A former thread-mill town weaves a new creative fabric -- where people's ideas matter, where we engage our creativity together and where we co-create our community's common good. We will use inclusive dialogue processes to coordinate current citizen-centered projects and to include more voices.
[18 October 2007 - Case Foundation] The Make It Your Own Awards is about people connecting with others in their community, forming solutions, and taking action. After receiving nearly 5,000 grant applications, our diverse team of reviewers has narrowed the pool down to 100 semifinalists. So, who made the cut? Check them out here. And coming soon, some exciting new tools that will allow you to offer input and spread the word about these great projects. More
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
[16 October 2007 - MIT News Office] Members of the Institute community who plan to stay involved in life at MIT after they retire have a new housing option, the University Residential Communities at MIT, located just blocks from the main campus. Tunney Lee, senior lecturer and professor of city planning, emeritus, and Jack Dennis (S.B. 1953, S.M. 1954, Sc.D. 1958), professor of computer science and engineering, emeritus, are among 36 people who have already reserved units in the Kendall Square residence, known as URC. Lee came to MIT in 1971 and retired in 1992. A specialist in urban planning for high-density settings, he taught in Hong Kong, then returned in 1999 to MIT, where he continues to teach two courses a year. Lee says he wants to remain close to what he calls an intellectually stimulating and challenging environment, one that has yielded many strong bonds of friendship. More
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
“As life expectancies increase, Americans are increasingly expected to live active, stimulating lives into their golden years,” Jay Linden said. “Judi and I wanted to establish this center in the hope of encouraging interesting research on the relationship between the creative arts and an enhanced quality of life among older adults. We also think it’s important for students to understand the opportunities that the aging of the population creates for them in fields such as communications, business and health sciences.
“We wanted to establish the center at our alma mater because Ithaca College is uniquely suited for this enterprise,” Judith Linden added. “With its strong programs in music, theater, media and the arts, along with the distinctive strength of the Gerontology Institute, the college is well positioned to serve as a national resource for scholars, students and community partners to explore research and activities around creativity and aging.”
In addition to studying the impact of remaining vibrant while growing older, the Linden Center will develop community-linked programs involving elders exploring creative arts for the first time as well as engage students with elders through mentoring programs and other activities.
“Many people are now living into their 80s and 90s with reasonably good health,” said John Krout, professor of gerontology and director of the Gerontology Institute. “Because of this new demographic, we have a cultural imperative to explore and better understand how older people can continue to flourish creatively and remain engaged in and contribute to their communities. The Linden Center is unique because very few academic centers are engaged in studying creativity and aging with a focus on the humanities.”
The Gerontology Institute already has ways to engage elders and students together, Krout noted. Art shows featuring older artists, a comprehensive programmatic partnership with Longview that includes an Intergenerational Choir, and courses such as Creative Arts Methods for Older Adults are a few examples of the foundation the Linden Center will build on. Another exciting program is the Enduring Masters series, conducted jointly with the School of Music, which brings older musicians to campus to perform and give talks and master classes. The center will foster collaborations with local arts agencies to assist leaders, educators and performers in increasing the opportunities for would-be senior artists.
“There is a growing recognition among those who study aging that involvement in creative activities such as the arts can contribute significantly to well-being across a person’s life span,” said Krout. “The fact is, an older person doesn’t have to be Picasso to embark on new creative pursuits or continue lifelong creative endeavors. With the U.S. Census Bureau foretelling an enormous growth in the elder population by 2030, the Linden Center will be on the forefront of looking at the potential positive impacts of this historic national trend.”
Longtime advocates for Ithaca College, the Lindens have generously supported their alma mater since their graduation with several special gifts, including the Jay Linden Sales & Marketing Scholarship , and the Judi and Jay Linden Scholarship in Gerontology. Both are involved in creative fields themselves. Judith is the executive director of Midori & Friends, a nonprofit music education organization founded by the internationally renowned violinist Midori. Jay is executive vice president of NBC Universal’s Strategic Partnership Group, which works with advertisers to develop integrated media programs that address their key business objectives. More
Monday, October 08, 2007
University of Michigan psychologist Christopher Peterson had an a-ha moment during that speech and began to wonder whether character strengths matter to where you live. Peterson is a professor of psychology and has created a classification system for human strengths and virtues. He spearheaded the development of "Values in Action" (VIA), a key assessment tool from the positive psychology field for measuring character strengths.
Following Peterson's insight from the 2006 Summit, he and colleague Nansook Park examined the collected VIA responses (along with respondents' zip codes) and Richard Florida's creativity scores (based on talent, tolerance and technology of cities) to look at whether people who live in different cities (with more than 300,000 people) have different strengths of character. They reported their initial findings last week at the 2007 Gallup International Positive Psychology Summit:
- There is a direct relationship between character strengths - such as appreciation of beauty, creativity, curiosity and a love of learning - and a city's creativity rating. These particular character strengths are individual-focused, head strengths.
- There is an inverse relationship between character strengths and a city's creativity rating. That is, creative cities are low in the character strengths that connect people.
Watch for the full paper about this coming from Peterson and Park.
Speaking at the Gallup International Positive Psychology Summit, Seligman described this as an epistemological and methodological shift that incorporates not only the psychology field's study of strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive, but also the study and practice of positive approaches in fields such as anthropology, economics, history, sociology, political science, among others.
He suggested that positive social science is made up of these five pillars, which focus on the good life, a life worth living, flourishing, and well-being:
- Positive emotions, including engagement and happiness.
- Positive traits, including strengths and virtues and pursuing excellence.
- Positive relationships.
- Meaning and purpose.
All of which raises the question: Is positive psychology not a new, stand-alone discipline, but rather a label - an umbrella - that has allowed academics and practitioners doing "positive" work across many disciplines to come together under some common language?
This debate seems destined to grow, given the comments made during a 10-minute Q&A following Seligman's announcement at the Summit. And ironically, just before this announcement, Seligman's colleague, Ed Deiner, launched the new International Positive Psychology Association.
Meanwhile, The Gallup Organization's CEO Jim Clifton announced that Gallup's positive social science emphasis will be on "the new science of behavioral economics," which includes measuring global well-being in the Gallup World Poll.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
[4 October 2007 - GALLUP NEWS SERVICE - Washington, D.C.] Gallup's multinational research reveals subjective perspectives of all aspects of life ... Leading scientists from around the world, including Nobel Prize laureate Daniel Kahneman; Alan Krueger; Angus Deaton; Ed Diener; and John Helliwell are gathering this week at Gallup's Washington, D.C., headquarters to discuss groundbreaking findings on the state of global well-being. Gallup's measures of global well-being reach beyond traditional indicators such as GDP, poverty rates, healthcare expenditures, literacy levels, and life expectancy rates to incorporate subjective self-reported assessments from people in more than 130 countries on virtually all aspects of life. Gallup researchers find clear correlations between overall well-being and subjective assessments of law and order, food and shelter, work, economics, and health, as well as socioeconomic indicators that go beyond GDP -- including measures of military spending, brain drain, and governance. Together, these findings suggest that measures of subjective well-being might help to predict the future of economies and societies as a whole. This behavioral approach to economic forecasting appears to be gaining traction. In September 2007, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said in an interview, "If I could figure out a way to determine whether or not people are more fearful or changing to more euphoric . . . I don't need any of this other stuff. I could forecast the economy better than any way I know." Gallup systematically gathers these behavioral measures by asking respondents to assess qualitative aspects of their life, both overall and during a specific time period. The resulting global Well-Being Index reveals many findings worthy of further investigation and analysis. Income, for example, appears to play a limited role in defining the emotional state of a country. Gallup found that high-income countries such as Slovenia, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Hong Kong each demonstrate levels of Net Affect that are below average. On the other hand, low-income countries such as Zambia, Vietnam, Nepal, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Niger, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Mauritania, and Laos each display Net Affect that are above the average. Gallup monitors measures of subjective well-being by continuously polling around the globe across samples representing more than 95% of the world's population. By collecting and analyzing these measures, Gallup provides world leaders with better tools to examine and predict the future of economies, the performance of governments, and the momentum of the world's population overall. Gallup plans to release further findings on a contract basis and on Gallup.com. More
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Continental Creative President: European Leader Calls for Culture, Diversity and Openness to Solve Global Problems
In the United States, advocates of creative community and economic development are hard pressed to find leadership at the federal level of government -- starting with the omission of creativity and arts in most of education. Yet at the state level, leaders such as Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu are spearheading projects like Louisiana's Cultural Economy Initiative to help put the state's culture and arts sector at the center of development -- including rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
I was particularly pleased that President Barroso's closing keynote of the three-day summit made a strong case for the role of creativity, innovation and diversity for addressing global problems such as climate change and fighting poverty. "Those are the two main tasks of leadership in the 21st century," he said. The other global issue linked with solving climate change and poverty is culture. "Culture is a solution."
Though President Barroso's call for creativity was somewhat aimed at the role that Europe can play in addressing global problems, it also is relevant to the rest of the world for engaging people, organizations and communities in creative problem solving.
I will let President Barroso's final words speak for themselves:
Because it is with a paradigm of openness, of acceptance of the difference ... almost the love of difference, to like the difference ... and to see the difference not as a problem, but as something that increases the variety. It is with this attitude that we can face those challenges we have today.In the United States, we need to start advocating for a similar approach and taking deliberate steps to make policies that both support and apply creativity in our cities, states and nation. Perhaps we will begin to hear more specifics about "creative communities" from the U.S. presidential candidates (are we moving that direction?). Indeed, such a position might even help that candidate differentiate himself or herself from the other candidates -- and make an important contribution to 21st century challenges at home and abroad.
We are now in the position of moving from a parochial system to a real open paradigm where we accept the difference -- not tolerate, but to accept the difference (I don't like the word "tolerance") -- as something that increases the variety and the richness of our world.
We have some common rules, of course, and those common rules have to be based in the old principles of freedom and democracy ... but that sees differences, including multi-culturalism, as something that is positive, not as a challenge. So the increased plurism in our society, as a multi-cultural society, is being something good, the cross-fertilization being something good for mankind, for the economy, for the culture, in general.
And this is the change, the evolution, of the paradigm that we need today, where no regional diversity should be pushed out, no culture should be destroyed, that individual identities are strengthened in order to play on the new global stage.
Some days ago I was in Kassel at Documenta, the most important contemporary art event in the world. It was amazing there! It was the best school of globalization I've seen recently because African culture, Latin American culture, Asian culture were not treated as folkloric as (they were) before, but at the same level of respect with European or American culture.
So what's going on in the field of culture, of art, is really amazing. And we should find there the inspiration also for many of the political problems we are now facing.
What we should now do and work (toward as) political leaders, as creative people, from the sciences, is precisely:
We need at the same time, all the benefits of the innovation that is now brought by technological discoveries; but (also) the creativity making, very often, the links with the old humanities.
- Proposing, not imposing, solutions.
- Not imposing results, but proposing solutions.
- Asking questions where we try to establish the links and the connectivities between creativity and innovation.
This is where we bring the idea of connection -- using knowledge effectively from science AND culture (when I say "culture" I include the poetry, I include the arts) -- bringing together those aspects, not just technological innovation, but creativity of spirit.
And this is the kind of leadership we need -- leadership that brings humanism back into (the) question. In the European Union, we can give a contribution to this because we are trying to promote an open, outward-looking, engaged society. That is why I believe we have to do that with others (around) the world. Not with the old idea of sovereign states that try to rule the world, but precisely working with the member states, with the idea of a "community of interest" with an ethic of a global responsibility. In Europe we are well-placed to do that and we want to do that with our good friends around the world.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
“Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York” continues through Jan. 5 at the Municipal Art Society, 457 Madison Avenue, at 51st Street; (212) 935-3960.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
See also: Harvard: 'Reverse Brain Drain' To Hurt Silicon Valley ... Researchers: Massive Increase In Permanent Visas Needed More
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
The "Synod in the City" was designed to engage the broader community with the UCC members and delegates in learning, playing and worshiping together throughout downtown Hartford. Several keynote presenters spoke throughout the day and I offer some brief summaries below (with more to come). The themes from these presentations not only touched on faith, religion and theology, but on creativity, purposeful life, science, culture, society and politics. The day opened with a presentation by journalist Bill Moyers (video), followed in the afternoon with a keynote from Senator Barack Obama (video) -- both UCC members.
Many of the presentations will eventually be available online. Monday will feature a keynote (2:30 p.m. EDT) by Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund.
FROM SATURDAY, JUNE 23, 2007:
Walter Brueggemann: An Old Testament scholar and writer who has authored more than 58 books, hundreds of articles, and several commentaries on books of the Bible. His most recent book is Theology of the Old Testament.
- Biblical stories help us explore "what is valued and who is valued."
- It is the poets who help us imagine "that the world can be organized differently."
- "The poets notice" -- not the ideologues, the moralists.
- Talking about 9/11 -- "the poets go to the depth of crisis and reach into God's conflicted heart."
- Jeremiah offers two triads for the church and society: one is the trajectory of death (wealth, might and wisdom) and the other is a trajectory of life (love, justice and righteousness). The latter adheres with the divine purpose for life -- and it's something "all of the church needs to be talking about."
- Talking about differences in the church, he said, we need to "learn to care with dignity and respect" for those who do not sign on to this particular agenda.
- "Anxiety is the main pathology in our society to which pastors must respond." This anxiety is generated by our focus on wealth, might and wisdom, as well as our focus on never being good enough. He said there is a "deliberate program of inadequate productivity that leaves everyone" ineffective and unproductive.
He began his remarks by sharing his faith background as a Unitarian, in which he developed a life-long desire to keep learning about truth, a thirst for knowledge, and a way of living informed by the Golden Rule.
- He said fashioned himself an inventor at five years old, though he doesn't know exactly why. However, "the key to invention is timing." He said many inventors get their products to work, but the timing to bring them to market or to have an impact in society is sometimes off.
- For many years, he has worked on predictions about technology and its impact. He said specifics are not predictable, but the overall impact of technology is. Yet people often don't pay attention to such predictions: "Exponential growth is seductive and surprising."
- He demonstrated one of his inventions: a hand-held device that blind people can use on the move to read signs, books and other printed material. The device has camera imaging technology, software and a voice reader.
- For Kurzweil, the connection between technology and faith has to do with our "quest for deeper meaning and to understand more of the world."
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Monday, June 04, 2007
As the Duluth-Superior area proceeds into the Knight Creative Communities Initiative, it’s important to consider how to engage everyone’s creativity — not just that of artists or the creative class — in community and economic development.
Creativity matters in business, education, nonprofits, government, arts and neighborhoods. It matters for children in school, for professionals in the workplace and for retirees in the community.
For more than 15 years, I’ve been working internationally in the field of creativity, advocating for the importance of creative thinking and helping people unleash and harness more of their inherent creative abilities.
Yet my creative endeavors began in Duluth as a teenage entrepreneur, a freelance writer and photographer and a political junkie. I am delighted to know that the Duluth-Superior area was among just three cities chosen by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to work with economist Richard Florida.
In my work, I’ve repeatedly seen people discover through creativity what gives them purpose and meaning and then begin to translate those desires into concrete realities. As a result of this insight, I’ve been exploring how we might be more intentional about helping people become better creative thinkers and do more of what gives them a sense of purpose.
This is engagement — doing what we love, what we are good at, what gives us meaning, what makes us happy and what uses our strengths. Tapping into this is what the KCCI is all about.
The Duluth-Superior area, like many regions, faces the challenge of engaging as many people as possible in creating a positive community. The risk of not doing this is creating a community with stagnant job growth, environmental losses, schools that resemble factories and people who flee the decay or stay because they don’t care.
Creativity is key to engaging people and can be pursued in many areas.
We can deliberately teach for creativity — helping students learn how to think in new ways, develop their strengths, imagine alternatives and generate ideas.
We can develop cultures of creativity in organizations, where everyone’s creativity is encouraged and valued and leads to transformational innovations in products and services.
We can link entrepreneurship, research and creativity so that people know how to translate great ideas into real businesses, producing more jobs and a flourishing community.
We can help pre-retirees and seniors use creativity to identify their purpose and ways in which to express this in their community. Many are living longer and healthier than ever before. “Checking out” of the community after full-time work isn’t an option.
We can get citizens involved in the democratic process by applying their creative thinking and problem-solving. Creativity provides a process for dialogue, better understanding and integrating diverse viewpoints.
We can shape economic development opportunities that are based on explicit creativity goals, along with traditional objectives. We need to learn to consciously talk about development in a creativity context.
We can use public art to beautify public space, and to involve community members in conceptualizing and creating the art itself.
We can engage nonprofits and faith communities not only in serving their communities, but actively imagining and creating them as well.
Any community in America can pursue these opportunities. Whether it’s cities like Duluth, the inner city of North Minneapolis or the former New England mill town where I live now, the challenge remains the same: How might we deliberately apply our creativity, engage in personally meaningful activities and improve the quality of life in our city or neighborhood?
My experience growing up in Duluth in the 1980s incorporated three of the “Ts” that Richard Florida describes: talent, tolerance and territory.
My talents of today were seeded in Duluth — in schools, at the public library, in small businesses, in political involvement and in volunteering. Plus, I benefited from mentors, teachers and parents who recognized and encouraged my strengths and talents.
In Duluth, I first learned to appreciate the value of immigrants and the importance of social justice. I became open to diverse ideas, arts, creativity and politics.
Duluth instills an authentic sense of place, blending its unmatched natural assets with built amenities — from hiking, skiing, picnics and the lake to more recently added amenities such as the Lakewalk, coffee shops and cool entrepreneurial businesses.
Hopefully, May 2007 will be a turning point for the Duluth Superior Area — where the creative capacity of each individual is recognized, the future is imagined together and the common good is enhanced through collective creative expression. The time is now to transform the raw materials of the past 20 years into the vibrant creative community waiting to be born.
Steven Dahlberg is a native of Duluth, a writer and principal of the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination, a creativity consulting firm based in Willimantic, Conn.
At 3M, A Struggle Between Efficiency And Creativity: How CEO George Buckley is managing the yin and yang of discipline and imagination
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Picking Winners: A Conversation with MacArthur Fellows Program Director Daniel J. Socolow
What can business leaders learn from the organization that confers the storied "genius grants"? For one thing, that exceptional creativity is very hard to find. If you're looking for a way to pack your staff with outstanding talent, you're probably on the wrong track. ... In the business world, "creativity" has become the latest buzzword. How to attract, nurture, and direct the extraordinarily talented people who will come up with the next Lipitor, Sony Walkman, or iPod is an enduring topic among businesspeople. As the director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, Daniel J. Socolow has considerable experience with the process of rooting out creativity. In this conversation with HBR senior editor Diane Coutu, he describes how recipients of the "genius grant"--half a million dollars with no strings attached--are chosen. As significant as the money is, the recognition that comes with a fellowship may be more so. MacArthur grants provide powerful validation of the fellows' work, Socolow says, and that validation opens doors for people, whatever the field. Although the program keeps a lookout for entrepreneurs who are on the brink of major new advances, he believes that the market does a good job of rewarding the best ideas in the business. Replicating the MacArthur model in a company would entail giving some employees unlimited time and lots of money to follow their own inclinations--not very feasible in most contexts. Nevertheless, the program has learned a lesson that may be valuable for business: The kind of creativity that leads to important breakthroughs is extremely hard to find. And, says Socolow, exceptionally creative people aren't always the obvious suspects, who may simply be good at promoting themselves: "Listen to others and look in the least likely places ... Extend your networks and try to get information from as many people as possible, just as we do." More
Inner Work Life: Understanding the Subtext of Business Performance
New research shows how business performance is driven by workers' state of mind--and how managers, if they're not careful, can drive both down. Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer's new stream of research, based on more than 12,000 diary entries logged by knowledge workers over three years, reveals the dramatic impact of employees' inner work lives—their perceptions, emotions, and motivation levels—on several dimensions of performance. ... Anyone in management knows that employees have their good days and their bad days--and that, for the most part, the reasons for their ups and downs are unknown. Most managers simply shrug their shoulders at this fact of work life. But does it matter, in terms of performance, if people have more good days than bad days? Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer's new stream of research, based on more than 12,000 diary entries logged by knowledge workers over three years, reveals the dramatic impact of employees' inner work lives--their perceptions, emotions, and motivation levels--on several dimensions of performance. People perform better when their workday experiences include more positive emotions, stronger intrinsic motivation (passion for the work), and more favorable perceptions of their work, their team, their leaders, and their organization. What the authors also found was that managers' behavior dramatically affects the tenor of employees' inner work lives. So what makes a difference to inner work life? When the authors compared the study participants' best days to their worst days, they found that the single most important differentiator was their sense of being able to make progress in their work. The authors also observed interpersonal events working in tandem with progress events. Praise without real work progress, or at least solid efforts toward progress, had little positive impact on people's inner work lives and could even arouse cynicism. On the other hand, good work progress without any recognition--or, worse, with criticism about trivial issues--could engender anger and sadness. Far and away, the best boosts to inner work life were episodes in which people knew they had done good work and their managers appropriately recognized that work. More
New Book from Harvard Business School: Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity and the New Science of Ideas
Monday, May 07, 2007
Monday, April 30, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Oops, I Did It Again: New brain research may help explain why some people don't seem to learn from their mistakes.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Windham teacher Lynn Frazier wrote to Gruwell, telling her about the impassioned work of her young poets. She told Gruwell about what a difference writing makes for these students, about the impact Gruwell's story had on them, and about how these students had fundraisers and a
pancake breakfast to go hear Gruwell tell her story.
Before going on stage, Gruwell read that letter and was moved to tears. She then entered a nearly packed auditorium and singled out the 30 Windham High School students – telling them to stand up, thanking them for their work and for being there, and acknowledging them several more times during her speech.
As a Willimantic resident, I am proud to know that these students are in my neighborhood everyday, learning through writing and creative expression how to discover their potential and uniqueness.
I am also aware that the opportunities for such learning do not happen frequently enough, especially for high school students. Some argue that it's too late to provide "extra" activities, such as arts and creative thinking, that it won't make a difference in these teenagers' lives.
Yet, as the "Freedom Writers" movie and the Windham Young Poets demonstrate, sometimes expressing oneself with pen and paper is the ONLY thing keeping some students engaged in school.
Our challenge as a community is how to provide more learning opportunities like this, which focus on students' strengths and talents, on what's working and connecting, and on the hope and possibilities of these individuals.
Our community grows and thrives when people's creative capital is expressed in positive ways. These young people provide one example of how each of us might contribute in unique ways to developing our community. What next …?
CREATIVITY IS …
* Looking at the ordinary and seeing what others don't see
* Passion – being own voice
* Responding to conflict
* Coming out from under
* Your own way of interpreting of things around you
* Coming with your own ideas
* Drawing, dancing, walking, singing
* Unique, genuine, given easily, capable, reliable
* Freedom to think of new ideas and ways of doing things
* Sense of bringing to well-being
* New interest, focus, happiness, fulfillment
* Thinking out of the box
* Ideas practically formulated into reality
* Imagination acting on life
* Spiritual – from God
* Co-creator with the divine
* Being able to visualize
* Bring unrelated resources together to make something new
* Making something from nothing
* Tapping into the great unconscious