Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Imagination Conversation Set for Connecticut, April 19 in Hartford

CONNECTICUT TO EXPLORE CRITICAL ROLE OF IMAGINATION AS KEY TO FLOURISHING SOCIETY ... Connecticut Imagination Conversation is Part of 50-State Effort to Raise Awareness of Imagination: Why It Matters and How to Develop It in Our Lives and in Our Communities.

On April 19, 2010, the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination and the University of Connecticut, in affiliation with Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education (LCI), will hold an Imagination Conversation at 7:00 p.m. at the University of Connecticut Greater Hartford Campus.

The Conversation will bring together leaders from an array of fields -- government, business, science, education, and the arts -- to explore the ways they experience and promote imagination in their work and communities. The goal of the Conversation is to present imagination as a key cognitive capacity, one that leads to creativity and innovation; and to help build awareness of imagination as a key skill in work and in life.

It is LCI's contention, as well as that of numerous scientists, government leaders, and educators, that imagination must be taught to children in our schools and nurtured in our communities. Applying imagination is crucial if Americans are to not only compete in the 21st-century marketplace, but create positive, flourishing communities that continually engage every citizen's creativity, imagination and ideas.

The Imagination Conversation will be in the auditorium of the Library Building at the University of Connecticut Greater Hartford Campus, 1800 Asylum Ave., West Hartford, Conn., 06117. The event begins with networking at 6 p.m. and the Imagination Conversation at 7 p.m. More details, along with parking and registration information, are available at:

The Imagination Conversation is open to the public and will be recorded for broadcast on WNPR's Where We Live on Friday, April 23, at 9 a.m. WNPR's John Dankosky will moderate the Conversation with guests Steven Dahlberg and Scott Noppe-Brandon. Dahlberg is head of the New Milford, Conn.-based International Centre for Creativity and Imagination (ICCI) and teaches "Creativity + Social Change" at the University of Connecticut. Noppe-Brandon is executive director of Lincoln Center Institute and author of "Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility." Artists John O'Donnell and Ted Efremoff will visually map and document the Conversation while it happens. Students from the "Creativity + Social Change" class, invited participants from diverse sectors across the state, and the general public will also be involved in the Conversation.

This Conversation will focus on the role of imagination in education, creative community and economic development, and creative leadership in organizations. It seeks to build a relevant imagination-fueled agenda for the state to pursue. ICCI will coordinate follow-up action that emerges from this conversation, as well as additional future conversations.

“Creativity and imagination matter in every aspect of society,” says Dahlberg. “Imagination matters for engaging students and teachers in meaningful education. It matters for bringing new ideas into reality to improve the economy. And it matters for helping people express their creative capacities in their work and their communities. We hope to help connect people who want to tap into more of their imagination and apply it for creating positive change across this state.”

Imagination Conversations are expected to take place during the next two years in each of the 50 states. All of the Conversations will be documented and final proposals for nationwide educational reform will be made at a national Imagination Summit in New York in the summer or fall of 2011. At the Summit, Imagination Conversation findings and an action agenda will be presented to public policy makers, educators, legislators and the media in an effort to make cultivation of imagination a key element in our schools.

"Imagination can be described as having the ability to visualize new possibilities and the ability to ask, 'what if ...?'" says Noppe-Brandon. "Developing students' imaginations and teaching them to proceed from imaginative thinking to creative action is vital if they are to meet the challenges of today's world. If the United States is to maintain its position at the vanguard of innovation, it needs a workforce capable of finding fresh solutions to challenges and inventing groundbreaking products and services. LCI understands that imaginative learning in schools will produce such a population."

ICCI is dedicated to applying creativity to improve the well-being of individuals, organizations and communities. It promotes imagination and creativity through public events such as the monthly Creativity Networking series; professional development training for educators and business people; advocacy for creativity topics in local, national and international conferences; dissemination of creativity ideas through writing and commentary in various media; and teaching and guest lecturing at various universities.

The University of Connecticut's Bachelor of General Studies Program encourages imagination, collaboration and democratic participation through its Public and Community Engagement-themed courses in Storrs and Hartford and online.

Having recognized the global importance of imagination early on, LCI has established itself as a leader in the implementation of a method by which imagination is introduced into classrooms and used across the curriculum. Through the hands-on study of works of art, students develop their capacities to think imaginatively and critically, which serve them in all subject areas. With its programs reaching an estimated 390,000 students per year through its partnerships with schools across the U.S. and abroad, LCI is making an impact on the direction of education not just in New York but all over the world.

About Steven Dahlberg and the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination:
Steven Dahlberg is director of the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination, which is dedicated to applying creativity to improve the well-being of individuals, organizations and communities. He teaches "Creativity + Social Change" in the Public and Community Engagement theme at the University of Connecticut. He has nearly 20 years of experience in this field, and has worked with Yale University, Guggenheim Museum, Yahoo!, Americans for the Arts, Danbury Public Schools, UNESCO, Louisiana's Office of the Lt. Governor, New Economics Foundation, Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, World Knowledge Forum, City of Providence, 3M, Aldrich Museum, State of Connecticut, and Rhode Island College, among other organizations. He has helped toy inventors launch a creativity consulting business, directed an international creativity conference, and taught an undergraduate creativity course for incarcerated men. Dahlberg edits the Applied Imagination blog, authored the foreword to the book, Education is Everybody's Business. He is particularly interested in creative community building, creative education, local food and sustainable agriculture, and creative aging.

About Lincoln Center Institute (LCI):
LCI is the educational cornerstone of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., and is the model for arts education programs across the U.S. and abroad. Founded in 1975, the Institute is known for its inventive repertory, and brings music, dance, theater, visual arts, and architecture into classrooms in the New York City area, across the nation, and around the world. In more than three decades of outreach, LCI's approach has reached more than 20 million students, teachers, administrators, parents, community members and professors of education worldwide. The number is projected to increase in the next few years, thanks to LCI's highly successful professional development programs and Internet presence.

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