Thursday, March 27, 2008

Louisiana Gets Creative Economies

[25 March 2008 - From New York - Applied Imagination - By Steven Dahlberg] Louisiana Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu came to New York this week to share Louisiana's efforts to put culture and creativity at the heart of economic and community development. He was joined at Jazz at Lincoln Center by his colleagues from the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development and the Cultural Economy Foundation, along with New Orleans native and Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Clarkson and New Orleans native and pianist Jonathan Batiste.

Landrieu described the Louisiana Cultural Economy Initiative and announced one of its key components -- the World Cultural Economic Forum (WCEF) to be held in New Orleans from October 29 to 31, 2008. This event will bring together policy-makers, artists, practitioners, cultural workers, educators, economic development leaders, business people and others from around the world. The International Centre for Creativity and Imagination is pleased to be assisting the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development with this event.

One of the challenges of linking culture and economy, Landrieu said, is how people can do what they love and make a living at it -- in the community in which they live. That is, how do you keep the creative talent in your community -- and the economic impact they produce -- rather than exporting it to other communities.

Landrieu raised some important questions that Louisiana is exploring on an on-going basis and that will be explored at the WCEF:
  • How do we grow culture from the ground up to capture the inherent authenticity and richness of a community?
  • How do we engage the creative endeavors of both the 'front-of-house" artists and the "back-of-house" staff?
  • How do we add value to intellectual capital?
  • How do we capture the creative things that are native to a community and share them with the world?
  • What is the relationship between poverty and culture?
  • How can culture re-create neighborhoods and make them safe? ("This is the ultimate goal of sharing New Orleans' and Louisiana's cultural economic success," he said.)
  • Is democracy more important than culture? Can you have both? Is the best way to spread democracy by spreading culture?
Landrieu is asking pretty big and important questions. Let's hope these questions rise to a national discussion in the coming election cycle.

It's important to teach creativity and arts if you are going to grow a community's economy through culture, Landrieu said. This is one reason that Louisiana has mandated arts education for all students from kindergarten through 12th grade. "Art and culture have a residual effect on all," he said.

Louisiana wants to be the focal point for a global discussion about culture, which is why New Orleans is hosting the WCEF. The intersecting issues of culture, race and poverty are not unique to New Orleans, but issues facing communities all over the world. The WCEF seeks to provide a space where people can talk and design and then go back to their own communities and tap into the authenticity and richness of culture there.

In introducing actress Patricia Clarkson, Landrieu commented on the network of his Louisiana creative peers -- which include Clarkson, Wynton Marsalis (artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center) and Harry Connick, Jr. -- "when you work with creative people who believe that anything is possible, you find out that it is."

"We are the products of Louisiana," Clarkson responded. "My state made me the actress I am today -- what I was surrounded by. Sometimes I return home to get a charge, a jolt."

Watch for more information about the World Cultural Economic Forum coming soon.

[Pictured above are musician Jonathan Batiste, actress Patricia Clarkson and Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu]

Advice for Young Educators

[26 March 2008 - Edutopia News] Jonathon Kozol talks about building relationships, fostering creativity, and standing up for students. More

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Education Experts Critique Candidates' Policies

[8 March 2008 - Kansas City infoZine] Beyond the ABC song, presidential candidates are offering suggestions to modify classrooms and tackle issues plaguing schools. "While the president can't solve education problems, the president has the ability to influence public debate," said Marc Lampkin, executive director of Strong American Schools ED in '08, which encourages education debate among presidential candidates. ... Clinton and Huckabee also advocate strengthening the arts in schools. Clinton said schools have eliminated art, music and drama programs because of No Child Left Behind's focus on math and reading. "Our children are getting good at filling in those little bubbles. But how much creativity is being left behind? How much passion for learning is being left behind?" Clinton said on Yahoo! News. Wilkins said art and music education was shrinking before No Child Left Behind. Huckabee has dubbed art and music as "weapons of mass instruction." He said these skills will teach children to develop creative ideas fundamental to enriching the U.S. economy. "It leads to a more fulfilled life, and it also reaches kids in other ways," said George Wood, director of the Forum for Education and Democracy. More

Your Brain on Creativity

[29 February 2008 - WebMD ] To Get Your Creative Juices Flowing, Your Inner Critic Must Hush -- For creativity to have a chance, the brain needs to get out of its own way and go with the flow. That's the bottom line from a new study on creativity. The study included six full-time professional jazz musicians. They got their brains scanned while playing a scale or a memorized jazz piece exactly as written and again when they were free to improvise, riffing off the assigned music. When they improvised, the brain's dorsolateral prefrontal and lateral orbital regions were far less active -- and another brain area, the medial prefrontal cortex, was more active. The brain regions that were quiet during improvisation are involved in consciously monitoring, evaluating, and correcting behaviors, write the researchers. In contrast, the medial prefrontal cortex allows self-expression, in this case in the form of jazz improvisation, according to the study. But creativity isn't just about self-expression. The brain's sensory regions were more active during improvisation. More

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Creativity and Aging White Paper Released by Americans for the Arts; Authored by Steven Dahlberg

[6 March 2008 - Americans for the Arts] Americans for the Arts has just released a white paper on creativity and aging, "Think and Be Heard: Creativity, Aging and Community Engagement" (PDF). Steven Dahlberg, head of the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination, wrote this report as a follow up to the 2007 National Arts Forum Series, which is supported by the MetLife Foundation. "Arts and aging is neither just about art, nor just about aging. Rather, it is about creativity and positive engagement -- that is, creativity as both a goal and a process for shaping the self and society. ... It is through such creative thinking and self-expression that people connect with others and shape the world. Such a work of art is a lifelong process," writes Dahlberg who is also a partner in Elder Care Expos, LLC. Please distribute and share this white paper -- and share your comments following this post.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Celebrating the Mind of Invention - Alexander Graham Bell

Sometimes it's the simple reminders for why we need to be more deliberate about teaching for creative thinking in schools and developing creativity and innovation skills in the workplace and communities ...
[3 March 2008 - The Writer's Almanac - American Public Media] It's the birthday of the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (1847). The telephone's invention was actually an accident that came about when Bell was trying to perfect the telegraph. Alexander Graham Bell said, "When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us." More

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Creative Play Makes for Kids in Control

[28 February 2008 - National Public Radio] Researchers say unstructured play helps children learn to control their own emotions and behavior -- abilities that are a better predictor of a child's academic success than IQ. The regulated play many modern children experience doesn't foster such skills because the control has shifted to adults, which is something several researchers suspect may be behind the rising number of ADHD diagnoses. "I think a lot of kids get diagnosed with ADHD now, not all but many just because they never learned how to exercise ... the executive functions early," neuroscientist Adele Diamond says. More (hat tip: ASCD SmartBrief)