Imagination Conversation Report: Nicolet College, Wisconsin

In the year and a half since the launch of Lincoln Center Institute’s national Imagination Conversations initiative, a multitude of Conversations have taken place across the country. As we prepare for more events in the spring of 2011 and for America’s Imagination Summit in July, we want to catch readers up on what has occurred at these geographically and thematically diverse—but always exciting—events.

The Wisconsin Imagination Conversation, the special focus of which was rural Wisconsin, took place on July 27 and 28, 2010, at Nicolet College in Rhinelander. The event, which was also hosted by the Wisconsin Arts Board and Wisconsin School Music Association, brought together government officials, business leaders, and educators to hear three stories of successful rural innovation and to break into “story circles,” where they imagined what a sustainable rural community would look like in twenty-five years. Artists, musicians, scribes, and videographers worked with them to translate their visions into works of art. Nicolet College President Elizabeth Burmaster recalls, “Through the process of story circles, imaginations came alive.” The inspired results of these brainstorming sessions included a short story, musical compositions, and visual art pieces.

Burmaster predicts that what happened at the Conversation “will guide the work of the participants as they return to their own rural communities to act.” This fact embodies the action-oriented spirit of the Imagination Conversations. The hosts chose a theme that suited the needs and interests of their state, and developed a structure that would best serve that theme. The event prompted new and promising ideas about how to ensure for the state a future with, in the words of Burmaster, “a healthy ecosystem, a vital economy, and social wellbeing.”

More Imagination Conversation Reports will appear soon!

Click here to view all Imagination Conversation Reports.

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