Viewing posts for the category creativity
Interdisciplinary Expressive Arts (IDEA) courses ask foundational questions and pursue meaningful answers. Through learner-designed projects, individualized curriculum, purposeful play, and many other innovative approaches, IDEA courses create collaborative learning environments in which learners discover their own paths and purposes. We build communities of real inquiry, creative engagement, and personal development within and beyond the classroom. We promote university experiences that are reflective, individualized, and joyful. We recognize that beneath academic cultures and traditions lies the authentic search for knowledge, wisdom, and personal connection. IDEA courses support that search and encourage learners to follow it — wherever it may lead.
I've received several inquiries lately from people searching for a visualization exercise that once appeared on my site but was removed during one of the more recent updates. It's an exercise that has been adapted from Tibetan Buddhism and Bodynamics and which many people have found to be useful in dealing with situations of conflict, tension, or boundary violation. So, at popular request, here are the details:
The following creative process exercises are designed to be facilitated in group or individual settings in which partner arrangements are appropriate. The exercises work best with participants who possess solid emotional containment and good communication skills. Sometimes, the exercises can be combined as a series, stretching over a couple of hours, in which the participants complete each exercise in sequence with the same partner. Obviously, the sequence presented below is not the only one possible.
In the first and second Mezzanine tutorials we explored ways of getting and started and building a project with Mezzanine. In this tutorial we’ll examine how to personalize the administration interface, how to tweak a few underlying settings, and how to build a customized theme. But before we travel too far down that track, it’s important to reinforce that these tutorials are intended to be exercises in intentional, self-reflective web development. These days most of us spend a great deal of time participating in online distractions and digital meandering. We have become less focused and mindful than we might be, and we have surrendered much of our attentional autonomy to the persistent keening of technology. Compare, for example, our online habits to the activities for which 200,000 years of evolution have prepared us. The online wanderer sits, shifts focus every few seconds, constantly responds to new stimuli, rides a constant wave of subliminal anxiety rooted in the dread of being left behind. The ancestral nomad of our evolutionary past stands, holds a fierce and singular focus (on an animal, or a stretch of landscape, or a work of craft), remains in the present moment of engagement and experience, and rides a wave of mindful calm rooted in a sense of belonging to place and to people. We tend to look upon those ancient peoples as more primitive than ourselves. But is the modern, distracted, disconnected self more advanced than the ancients? Is the complexity of our technology a sufficient justification for our belief in our superiority? Or, instead, have we lost something fundamental, and do ancient approaches offer important wisdom?
In the first Mezzanine tutorial we explored various philosophies and approaches to web development using Mezzanine, Django, and Python. The emphasis of that tutorial was on why as much as what. We tend to be reflexive and impressionable in how we choose technologies: we want the new and shiny thing, or we want what others have, or we want what’s easiest. And in the rush to be in the game, to be at the forefront, to ride that turbulent wave of innovation, we often forget to ask deeper questions: why are we doing this, whom does it serve, what do we want? And now, as technologies increasingly drive social culture, the tools we use are themselves voices in that conversation. The technologies speak back to us: they shape us and drive us forward. And so — as I suggested in the first Mezzanine tutorial — our creativity, autonomy, and personal development are woven together with the technologies we use. And further: it would not be hyperbolic in the least to suggest that our very humanity depends on our mindful use of technologies. After all, we are the only species that is dependent on technology for survival. Technology is foundational to who we are. And yet, as we become increasingly dependent on digital technologies, we are also becoming less mindful about their use. This is the central dilemma we now face with digital culture: how to choose wisely in an environment ruled by impulse and reflexivity.