Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium

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Thinking Caps Ignited

Set those thinking caps ablaze impress your friends with newfound knowledge and wit after processing these brain ticklers:

How to have a conversation:

What makes a good conversationalist has changed little over the years. The basics remain the same as when Cicero became the first scholar to write down some rules, which were summarised in 2006 by The Economist: “Speak clearly; speak easily but not too much, especially when others want their turn; do not interrupt; be courteous; deal seriously with serious matters and gracefully with lighter ones; never criticise people behind their backs; stick to subjects of general interest; do not talk about yourself; and, above all, never lose your temper.” But Cicero was lucky: he never went on a first date with someone more interested in their iPhone than his company.

 Future tense, VII: What’s a museum:

Yet if today’s museums are successful cultural caterers with wide-ranging menus, no matter where we find them, their fare manages to taste more and more the same. A handful of the same celebrity architects now designs new wings and even whole museum cities such as Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Facilities in Spain, Boston, the Middle East, and Los Angeles all look different in the same way. An international class of museum professionals job-hops among Beijing, Paris, New York, and Qatar spreading a common corporate culture, where top directors are expected to command million-dollar salaries, oversee thousands of employees, fund-raise, invest and spend endowments on massive expansions, horse-trade the assets on the walls to create blockbuster shows that can attract headline-making crowds, and spin these activities to the press.

How To Be Creative:

But creativity is not magic, and there’s no such thing as a creative type. Creativity is not a trait that we inherit in our genes or a blessing bestowed by the angels. It’s a skill. Anyone can learn to be creative and to get better at it. New research is shedding light on what allows people to develop world-changing products and to solve the toughest problems. A surprisingly concrete set of lessons has emerged about what creativity is and how to spark it in ourselves and our work.

 Building a Better Apocalypse:

On Chris Hackett’s personal periodic table, the world’s most interesting, and abundant, substance is an element he calls obtainium. Things classified as obtainium might include the discarded teapot that he once turned into a propane burner, or the broken beer bottle he used to make a razor, or the 9-millimeter shell casings he acquired some time ago, melted in a backyard foundry (also made of obtainium) and cast into brass knuckles for a girlfriend.

Arts Journal Picks

If you’re not checking into Arts Journal you need to get with the program. It’s incredible that a platform for arts news is so unappealing to look at, but the content is incredibly rich. Arts Journal is a one stop shop for all your arts news that is written intelligently, intelligibly, and with a real awareness of current times and trends.

With hours more of finals work before the semester is over, I can’t think of a better mode of procrastination than to serve you up some my Saturday pick of Arts Journal articles and why you should read them:

NPR: Online Video Sites Go Pro And Get Original

Why should you read it: As we move more and more into our science fiction future of an entirely digital lifestyle, it’s important to realize arts organizations must constantly test where they can fit in and how they can use new media or we’ll fall too far behind.

Tasty Tidbit:

“Networks started on the radio and then they moved to television, and then cable came about, and then hundreds more networks arrived,” Taylor says. “And now I think we’re going to see a slew of new networks that are being born on YouTube and other digital platforms.”

The Globe and Mail: I should never have encouraged my teenage son to read

Why should you read it: Recall your first experience with Dostoevsky (I was 16. I spent an entire summer in bikinis and Crime & Punishment) with this father’s tongue in cheek rendition

Tasty Tidbit:

The house has become dangerous to one’s sense of self. Living life with a cast of Dostoyevsky characters puts you on edge. If you’ve never read any of these novels, try to imagine faultless but unrelenting discourse from somebody who won’t shut up and follows you around talking while you try to, say, wash the dishes, do some laundry or pay the bills. These characters grab you by the back of the head and rub your face in your inadequacy and their superiority. They make you feel like the intellectual equivalent of the 98-pound weakling.

The New York Times: Caught Out of Time

Why should you read it: Federal government sponsored memories of ex-slaves. As  Zora Neale Hurston penned, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

Tasty Tidbit:

These narratives are as poetic as they are complex, tendentious and subtle; they spotlight the voices of those who had the most at stake in the war and lived to see it from the longest view. Voices like Fountain’s (who died July 4, 1957) add considerable dimension to Robert Penn Warren’s Homeric frieze.

Wired Science: City Lights Seen From Space Reveal How Countries Change

Why should you read it: It’s cool. And there are videos.

Tasty Tidbit:

“We can now ask how does observed lighting behave in response to things such as population and economic growth, external investments, war, and economic collapse,” said Christopher Elvidge, who leads the National Geophysical Data Center’s Earth Observatory Group, during a presentation here at the American Geophysical Union meeting on Dec. 7.

Vanity Fair: You Say You Want a Devolution?

Why should you read it: It seems while our technological lives f(x) = 2^x, our cultural lives are flat lining. This is definitely worth the long read. Are we, the emerging arts leaders, the cure to this cultural stalemate, or are we feeding into the stodgy same?

Tasty Tidbit:

Ironically, new technology has reinforced the nostalgic cultural gaze: now that we have instant universal access to every old image and recorded sound, the future has arrived and it’s all about dreaming of the past. Our culture’s primary M.O. now consists of promiscuously and sometimes compulsively reviving and rejiggering old forms. It’s the rare “new” cultural artifact that doesn’t seem a lot like a cover version of something we’ve seen or heard before. Which means the very idea of datedness has lost the power it possessed during most of our lifetimes.


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