Saturday, February 23, 2008

An MBA for Kids: The Minnesota Business Academy

[7 January 2003 - Edutopia] At this school, curriculum revolves around the workplace's demands for knowledge and critical-thinking skills. ... Teachers who care and assignments that have real-world applications are attracting students to the Minnesota Business Academy, one of the state's most unusual public charter schools. Opened in 2000 in the renovated former Science Museum of Minnesota, in downtown St. Paul, the high school known as MBA boasts a technology-oriented, project-based curriculum that incorporates a business element in everything from art to English. "Every school should make the curriculum more practical," says Bob Kaitz, president and chief executive officer of BestPrep, the philanthropic state business group that helped MBA become a reality. "A lot of kids don't do well in school because they don't see a connection between what they're studying and what they're going to do." More

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills

[21 February 2008 - NPR - Morning Edition] On October 3, 1955, the Mickey Mouse Club debuted on television. As we all now know, the show quickly became a cultural icon, one of those phenomena that helped define an era. What is less remembered but equally, if not more, important, is that another transformative cultural event happened that day: The Mattel toy company began advertising a gun called the "Thunder Burp." I know — who's ever heard of the Thunder Burp? Well, no one. The reason the advertisement is significant is because it marked the first time that any toy company had attempted to peddle merchandise on television outside of the Christmas season. Until 1955, ad budgets at toy companies were minuscule, so the only time they could afford to hawk their wares on TV was during Christmas. But then came Mattel and the Thunder Burp, which, according to Howard Chudacoff, a cultural historian at Brown University, was a kind of historical watershed. Almost overnight, children's play became focused, as never before, on things — the toys themselves. "It's interesting to me that when we talk about play today, the first thing that comes to mind are toys," says Chudacoff. "Whereas when I would think of play in the 19th century, I would think of activity rather than an object." More

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dahlberg Brings People Together Through Creativity

[26 January 2008 - The Chronicle - Willimantic, Connecticut] A Willimantic man was recognized for submitting one of the Top 100 breakthrough ideas for the Make It Your Own Awards -- awards that encourage community development. Steven Dahlberg, along with others in a group that have met since last summer, submitted their application to the Make It Your Own Awards, a new grants program that aims to increase and strengthen citizen involvement and looks for a more inclusive and innovative approach to grant making. Dahlberg -- a self-employed consultant for the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination -- is looking to open up the creative minds of those in town, as his project is titled "Weaving a New Willimantic." More

It's a Beautiful Day in the (Creative) Neighborhood

Hi boys and girls .... Today, is the 40th anniversary of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. How was your creativity inspired in the last 40 years by Fred Rogers?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Creatively Bridging Differences: No More Taking Sides

[14 February 2008 - Speaking of Faith - American Public Media] Robi Damelin lost her son David to a Palestinian sniper. Ali Abu Awwad lost his older brother Yousef to an Israeli soldier. But, instead of clinging to traditional ideologies and turning their pain into more violence, they've decided to understand the other side — Israeli and Palestinian — by sharing their pain and their humanity. They tell of a gathering network of survivors who share their grief, their stories of loved ones, and their ideas for lasting peace. They don't want to be right; they want to be honest. More

Creativity Networking Series Launches in Connecticut

WindhamARTS Collaborative Launches Monthly Creativity Networking Series ... Provides forum for exploring the many facets of creativity and for discovering other people interested in creativity

The WindhamARTS Collaborative, in partnership with the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination, will host a Creativity Networking series from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month from March to June. The series will be held at WindhamARTS, 866 Main Street, Willimantic, Conn.

Steven Dahlberg of the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination will lead the first session, "Creativity, What is It?" on Wednesday, March 5. Participants will explore what creativity is, who has it, and how one can tap into more of it.

This series is open to all. A $5 donation and RSVP (860-450-1794) is requested. Following the session, receive 10 percent off dinner across the street at Willimantic Brewing Co / Main Street Cafe (967 Main Street, Willimantic)!

"The creative force is present in all humans to some degree. Pressures to conform within education and society often silence creative expression for many students and citizens. The potential for its development remains, however," says author and educator Berenice Bleedorn. "The right of an individual to create new ideas and to expect a respectful, supportive climate for their expression is a human right too often ignored. The human right to think and be heard at higher, more complex and mutualistic levels is a necessary added freedom."

Creativity matters in all aspects of society. If you want to reconnect with your inherent creativity and explore new ways of expressing it, don't miss this series. It will cover topics about creativity in all forms (including, but not limited to, arts), creative thinking, creative communities, creativity and education, creativity in organizations, creative persons, the creative process, creative aging and more.

The series includes opportunities to learn with others, to think in new ways, and to generate new ideas. The format of the monthly Creativity Networking sessions will be informal and will usually include about 30 minutes of a presentation or experiential workshop (from a different facilitator each month), 30 minutes of dialogue about the topic, and 30 minutes of networking with other participants. Come and be inspired to apply your imagination and invent new possibilities for yourself and your community.

In addition, watch for Creativity Networking coming to the New Britain Museum of American Art on July 31 and August 28! The Creativity Networking series is part of a larger initiative to widely promote a more "Creative Connecticut." More details about this statewide project coming soon!

Creativity Networking is sponsored by the WindhamARTS Collaborative ... in partnership with the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination

The WindhamARTS Collaborative is comprised of member arts organizations and individuals who came together in 2001 to foster and promote the arts and cultural life of the Windham region. Its goal is to maintain a multicultural, multidisciplinary, and multifaceted arts center where artists and artisans can interact with the public by sharing their creative endeavors.

Steven Dahlberg heads the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination, which is dedicated to applying creativity to improve the well-being of individuals, organizations and communities. He manages creative community projects for various institutions, serves as an adviser to the Guggenheim Museum’s “The Art of Problem Solving” research project, and serves as a juror to select public art for a new science education building. He collaborates with artists, scientists, business people, educators and others to help people develop their creativity. He has worked with UNESCO, Americans for the Arts, Heinz, the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, General Mills, and Yahoo! Research Berkeley, among other organizations. He’s led workshops and keynotes on creative engagement and participation at the international Creativity & Cognition Conference, the University of Connecticut's Confratute (summer institute on enrichment learning and teaching) and the State of Connecticut's Higher Order Thinking (HOT) Schools Summer Institute. Steven has more than 16 years of experience promoting and teaching creative thinking in the United States, South Africa, Europe and Asia. He was head an international creativity foundation, director of an annual creativity conference, program director of the Institute for Creative Studies in Minneapolis, and helped two long-time toy inventors launch a creativity consulting business. He has designed and taught three graduate-level creativity courses at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, as well as guest lectured at several universities. Dahlberg authored the foreword to the book, "Education is Everybody’s Business: A Wake-Up Call to Advocates of Educational Change," and edits the "Applied Imagination" blog.


  • DATES: Come to any or all of the first-Wednesday-of-the-month sessions: March 5, April 2, May 7 & June 4, 2008
  • TIME: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. -- Followed by dinner at Main Street Cafe, 967 Main Street
  • PLACE: WindhamARTS Collaborative, 866 Main Street, Willimantic, CT 06226 (860-450-1794 -
  • REGISTRATION AND INFORMATION: $5 donation; RSVP requested by phoning 860-450-1794 or emailing
  • FACILITATOR: Steven Dahlberg, International Centre for Creativity and Imagination,


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Imagination and Scholarly Presidents

[11 February 2008 - - By Mark C. Eades] Thomas Jefferson, Barack Obama, and the Case for Putting a Scholar in the White House ... In a time of such sweeping global change as today we would be well served by a president as willing and able as Jefferson to think outside the box of conventional wisdom and politics as usual. As important as kitchen-table issues are, the compelling importance also of the larger questions of the day and the need for new ideas on how we might seek to address them constitutes much of what has drawn so many in the academic community and beyond to the Obama campaign. A true scholar possesses not just knowledge but also - even more importantly as Albert Einstein suggests - imagination. While I have no doubts as to Hillary Clinton's extensive knowledge and capability, I believe it is Barack Obama who truly possesses the intellectual depth and imaginative vision to lead America and the world into a new era. More

Friday, February 15, 2008

More Brain Research Suggests 'Use It Or Lose It'

[12 February 2008 - ScienceDaily] Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) scientists have found another important clue to why nerve cells die in neurodegenerative diseases, based on studies of the developing brain. Neuroscientists at The University of Queensland have just published findings, which add more weight to the "use it or lose it" model for brain function. QBI's Dr Elizabeth Coulson said a baby's brain generates roughly double the number of nerve cells it needs to function; with those cells that receive both chemical and electrical stimuli surviving, and the remaining cells dying. In research published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Dr Coulson and her colleagues have identified a crucial step in the cell-death process. More

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Art with heart ... Community banner project to brighten downtown Rock Hill

From my creative community work during the last week-and-a-half in Rock Hill, South Carolina ...
[7 February 2008 - The Herald - Rock Hill, South Carolina] A splash of color will liven up the winter blahs in downtown Rock Hill, part of a community arts program sponsored by the Arts Council of York County and the Rock Hill school district. ... The public arts project was brought to Rock Hill by the school district and arts center as a way to get children and community members involved in public art, said Kristin Sessions, resource development coordinator for the center. ... The community art project, titled Creativity: The Heart of the Community, is led by artists in residence Steven Dahlberg and JoAnn Moran, both from Connecticut. The project is a way for people to express themselves and participate in creating their own community through art, Dahlberg said. "It is a way to engage people in creating their community and bring people together that wouldn't normally work together, like youth and adults." Dahlberg said. ... Dahlberg said the project is collaborative, so everyone can add something. More

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Bush Proposes an Elimination of Arts in Education Programs

The business community continues to call for improved skills in creative thinking, problem solving and innovation from new graduates. More and more studies demonstrate the positive impact of arts education and creativity on general academics. Yet President Bush proposes decreasing funding in 2009 for the U.S. Department of Education's Arts in Education programs from $35 million to $0. Let's hope the next president, from either party, appreciates the national and global impact of ignoring the development of creativity skills in citizens of all ages.
[4 February 2008 - Americans for the Arts - Arts Action Alert] ... For the eighth consecutive year, the President’s budget has eliminated funding for the Department of Education’s Arts in Education programs, which include funding for model arts programs and collaborations with schools, teacher professional development, and arts programs for at-risk youth. Arts literacy is as central to an educated citizenry as are reading, math, and science. The Administration needs to understand the role of arts education in developing an innovative and creative society. More

Sunday, February 03, 2008

US scientists fear brain drain

[3 February 2008 - Times of India] Scientists are chafing at the US government's unfulfilled pledge to boost funding for basic scientific research, the source of innovations ranging from the World Wide Web to high-tech cancer treatments. The estimated $500 million sliced out of the fiscal 2008 federal budget for research projects seeking answers to fundamental questions such as the nature of the universe could trigger a brain drain, scientists and others warn. "Scientists are not going to wait around to be brought back. There will definitely be a brain drain," said Republican US Representative Judy Biggert of Illinois, a key player in securing funding for Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago. "It was very troublesome to me, because we have had such a focus on basic research and how important it is to American competitiveness and our long-term economic growth," Biggert said. "We're worried about the 2009 budget now." More

Friday, February 01, 2008

This Is Your Brain on Optimism

[24 October 2007 - Newsweek] New research reveals the biological roots of positive thinking. How a rosy outlook can affect your health. ... We humans tend to be an optimistic bunch. In fact, it's long been established by psychologists that most people tend to be irrationally positive. The optimism bias, as it's called, accounts for the fact that we expect to live longer and be more successful than the average and we tend to underestimate the likelihood of getting a serious disease or a divorce. This tendency is adaptive—many researchers have claimed that a positive outlook motivates us to plan for our future and may even have an effect on our long-term physical health. Optimism may be so necessary to our survival that it's hardwired in our brains. A new study published in the journal Nature further confirms the idea that having a rosy outlook is a personality trait with deep, neurological roots. Researchers found that the brains of optimistic people actually light up differently on a scan than those who tend to be more pessimistic when they think about future events. More