Showing posts from May 8, 2011

Educating Artists

As my blogging nickname, The Prof, suggests, I am a theatre professor. I teach theatre history, play analysis, directing and dramatic literature at a small liberal arts university (University of North Carolina at Asheville). So every semester I wrestle with how best to educate young, creative people in a way that will be most useful for their future. I don't mean "useful" to be understood only as "useful in their career," but rather "useful in their lives as human beings, citizens, and family members." And I also think about how they can be "useful" to their communities -- how can they contribute to the enrichment of their chosen place.

Suggesting change in academia sometimes seems pointless. The old joke seems all too true: "How many professors does it take to change a light bulb?" "CHANGE????!!!!!!" As a result, I look to the quotation from Buckminster Fuller in the right side column of this blog: "You never change …

A Thought About TEDxMichigan Avenue

I was only able to stay for the morning sessions of TEDxMichiganAvenue, because my son was graduating from Illinois State that evening. But I've followed the Twitter hashtag, and read some of the blog posts about the speakers that came after me. And from what I can tell, many of the speakers seemed to touch on a similar topic: participation.

All of us seem to have soaked in the whole crowdsourcing, Clay Shirky here-comes-everyone-cognitive-surplus theme that currently dominates many discussions of how the web is changing our expectations about, well, just about everything. I have to admit, I'm sold -- I think there is a major change happening, and I think that Shirky is the one who tells the story in a way that is most relevant to the arts.

But I'm curious as to whether people in the arts are reallygetting it. We keep talking about using the web for marketing, using Twitter and Facebook and various apps to "strengthen the relationship with the audience," or using …