Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Learning Revolution - Enhancing Informal Adult Learning for Older People in Care Settings

[28 September 2009 - The Learning Revolution - UK] As part of the discussion on enhancing informal adult learning for older people in care settings, an online discussion area within the "learning revolution" collaborative site has been set up by Becta.  You are now invited to join this group, which will host debate, ideas and issues around this topic. More ... Plus, check out the main Learning Revolution site, designed to gather views from interested people and to share progress to develop a culture of learning for all adults.

NYT: South African Children Push for Better Schools

[24 September 2009 - New York Times] Children are taking into their own hands responsibility for trying to reform the education system. ... Thousands of children marched to City Hall this week in sensible black shoes, a stream of boys and girls from township schools across this seaside city that extended for blocks, passing in a blur of pleated skirts, blazers and rep ties. Their polite demand: Give us libraries and librarians. “We want more information and knowledge,” said a ninth grader, Abongile Ndesi. In the 15 years since white supremacist rule ended in South Africa, the governing party, the African National Congress, has put in place numerous policies to transform schools into engines of opportunity. But many of its leaders, including President Jacob Zuma, now acknowledge that those efforts have too often failed. More

Artists can be prophets

[28 September 2009 - Lincoln Star Journal - Nebraska] For two decades, Enrique Martinez Celaya has been thinking and writing about his life and work as an artist, examining his practice through philosophy, literature and science. What he has discovered is a provocative, sure-to-be-controversial view that stands in opposition to the way artists have been seen in the world since the dawn of modernism more than 100 years ago. Put simply, Martinez Celaya proposes that artists can function as prophets. "The Prophet" is the title of the lecture Martinez Celaya, the University of Nebraska Visiting Presidential Professor, will deliver at Omaha's Joslyn Art Museum on Friday. "To be a prophet an artist doesn't need God but clarity of purpose, character and attention," Martinez Celaya writes in the lecture. Later, he states, "Joseph Beuys, Herman Melville, Marcel Broodthaers, Ayn Rand and Albert Pinkham Ryder were prophets not because they sat around theorizing but because they showed us something of the future and of ourselves."... "Is this too much to expect from artists?" he asks in the lecture. "Probably. It is likely we will all break our backs trying to be artists-prophets, but this is a better fate than letting our backs calcify from lack of action or hunch over in shame. Artists are not needed for anything else. Most artists will not be great prophets, but even very minor ones will make a difference. Maybe a difference in the art world, but certainly, and more importantly, in themselves and in the world." More

$25,000 PRIZE FOR ART AND SOCIAL CHANGE - To be awarded Oct. 23

[29 September 2009 - Creative Time] Creative Time is pleased to announce the inception of a new, annual, $25,000 award: The Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change, presented by Creative Time to an artist who has committed her/his life’s work to social change in powerful and productive ways. The first recipient of the prize is The Yes Men, and it will be bestowed during the opening ceremony for The Creative Time Summit: Revolutions in Public Practice, on October 23 from 6 to 8pm in the historic Stephen A. Schwarzman building of the New York Public Library. The ceremony will feature an introduction by Amy Goodman, the host of the award-winning program Democracy Now!. The award is generously supported by The Annenberg Foundation. More

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The 2009 MacArthur "Genius" Fellows

[22 September 2009 The MacArthur Foundation] The MacArthur Foundation today named 24 new MacArthur Fellows who work across a broad spectrum of endeavors. They include an infectious disease physician, an ornithologist, a realist painter, a photojournalist, a bridge engineer, a climate scientist, an economist, a papermaker, a mental health lawyer, and a poet. All were selected for their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future. Recipients learned by a phone call out of the blue from the Foundation that they will each receive $500,000 in no-strings-attached support. MacArthur Fellowships come without stipulations and reporting requirements and offer Fellows unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and explore. The unusual level of independence afforded to Fellows underscores the spirit of freedom intrinsic to creative endeavors. "For nearly three decades, the MacArthur Fellows Program has highlighted the importance of creativity and risk-taking in addressing pressing needs and challenges around the globe," said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci. "Through these Fellowships, we celebrate and support exceptional men and women of all ages and in all fields who dream, explore, take risks, invent, and build in new and unexpected ways in the interest of shaping a better future for us all." More

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Healthy Brain Aging: Why We Need to Retool "Use It Or Lose It"

[July/August 2009 - The Journal of Active Aging] By now you have probably heard about brain plasticity, the lifelong capacity of the brain to change and rewire itself in response to the stimulation of learning and experience. The latest scientific research shows that specific lifestyles and actions can improve the health and level of functioning of our brains, no matter our age. Of particular importance to maintaining cognitive functioning through life are the hippocampus (deep inside the brain, part of what is called the limbic system), which plays a role in learning and memory; and the frontal lobes (behind your forehead), which are key to maintaining decision-making and autonomy. Is there a way to physically protect these parts of the aging brain? Yes. But the right answer is far from "do one more crossword puzzle" or "do more X" (whatever X is). The key is to add significantly different activities to ensure a flow of novelty, variety and challenge, combining physical and mental exercise while not ignoring factors such as stress management and balanced nutrition. We need, in other words, to retool our
understanding and practice of “Use it or lose it.” We must focus on the importance of getting out of our physical and mental routines and activities to get the
benefits of real exercise -- physical and mental." More