Lincoln Center Institute: Promoting Individuality and Community through the Arts

Photo by Iñaki Vinaixa

It was once proposed, by someone who liked our work, that it was Lincoln Center Institute’s (LCI’s) mission to “build bridges between art and life so that children may learn to see the world transformed by the artist’s vision.”

Very close, but… There is danger incipient in that statement that the students will only see an artist’s point of view. What’s missing is the students’ contribution in the process; what’s missing is the act of free will.

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Changes in the Education Systems of East Asian Countries Look to the West

Image by David Woo*

Success carries its own need for change

Since World War II, East Asia has had the fastest-growing economy in the world. Japan was rapidly joined by China, Singapore, South Korea, and other nations seemingly swept along by each other’s successes in the marketplace.

From the beginning of its post-war ascent, East Asia has made education a priority. Now, the face of its education is changing. While this is much less debated than the economy, it is certain to have a profound effect on East Asian rapport with the West.

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The Imagination Network

Image by Jane Hoffer

What do Disney, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), and the U.S. Army have in common? Representatives from all three organizations appeared at America’s Imagination Summit, the education event that Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) hosted in New York City this past July. Their presence was not arbitrary; rather, I believe that the dynamic intersection of such diverse influencers can lead to change in our country’s schools.

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Technology and the Arts: Can They Play Well Together?

The impact of technology on the arts has been a matter of debate at least since we had to be reminded to turn off our cell phones in performance halls.

At Lincoln Center Institute (LCI), we always prided ourselves on espousing the latest technology, but we also insisted on engagements with live performances. This duality was not easy to maintain, especially in a frosty economic climate, and, early on, technology came to the rescue in the form of video. After the students have attended a performance, they need something that will stay with them and be available as long as they study the subject: video allowed us to bring storytellers, chamber ensembles, and Shakespeare to classrooms where being stranded without technology would have meant being stranded without art.

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Imagination: The Greatest Problem Solver

Image by IICD*

When hurricane Irene hit, we instinctively looked to the individuals and organizations whom we admire for their imaginative strength to do something practical, something that would instantly come to the aid of those in need, without speeches, without philosophical observations, without ideological investment in the future. Something practical—now.

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Imagination Abroad

While Lincoln Center Institute’s advocacy on behalf of imagination, creativity, and innovation in education and all aspects of life and work constantly gains new ground in the U.S., we are acutely aware that there are many parts of the world where our ideology has not yet made inroads. Since a part of our vision is determinedly global, as we believe that imaginative education must nurture a deep understanding of diverse cultures, it is encouraging to know that we’re by no means alone.

In July, as LCI readied for its own American Imagination Summit, GFEN held a series of nationwide conferences with the theme “For an Other Education.” Promising—but, ask you, what is GFEN?

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Good Sportsmanship—Win to Win

racquetball equipment

Image by exfordy*

An enhanced edition of Imagination First, the book I wrote with Eric Liu in 2009, was published in paperback on April 26th. Watching it go out into the world a second time has prompted me to revisit the question: what kind of impact would I like the book to have?

A brief, breezy personal anecdote will illustrate the more serious point I want to reach. I used to play racquetball on a regular basis with two friends, a Ph.D. in psychology and an attorney. The psychologist’s strategy—which may or may not have had to do with his profession—was invariably to try to psyche his opponents out and make us play below our usual level. But when I competed against Joe, the attorney, he played with a healthy intensity that drove me to play better—which then led him to play even better. We pushed each other to improve our games, and no matter who won, that always felt pretty good. Continue reading

Ten Innovators to Follow on Twitter

For this installment in the Twitter series I have identified ten individuals who actively apply their imagination and creativity to change our world through development of innovative products and initiatives. Why do I call them innovators instead of inventors? By using the word “innovation” I hope to convey that they are pioneers in their field. Each has built upon existing principles and ideas to create something so different that it can be considered truly “new.” Innovation happens in all areas, sometimes with a small step and in other instances through a giant leap. The following individuals are all on Twitter sharing their journey in 140 words or less. Could you have guessed that someone would develop a process to “grow” clothes from bacterial culture? I didn’t. Take a look below for some more surprising work in range of industries. Continue reading

Ten Creative Doers to Follow on Twitter

We are entering an age when creativity will become increasingly important. Our world is transformed by those who can turn great ideas into real, tangible products and initiatives. Applying imaginative thinking skills to create something new is no small task, but there are quite a few people who do it over and over again, tapping into their creative potential. In the second installment of the 10 Twitterers series, I have identified ten individuals who actively apply their imaginations to create something. These “creative doers” aren’t only the typically thought of visual artists. These creators range from filmmakers to fundraisers to industrial designers, illustrating that the creative capacity manifests itself in many different forms. Unifying the group is their Twitter participation, documenting and sharing their creative journeys in 140 words or less. Go ahead and read their posts, it might provide some insight into their creative process and hopefully it will inspire you to unleash your own creativity. Continue reading

Lincoln Center Institute’s Capacities for Imaginative Learning

Image by Nancy Bareis

A growing number of blog visitors have been seeking information about Lincoln Center Institute‘s Capacities for Imaginative Learning.

LCI has created the Capacities for Imaginative Learning as a framework for student learning, applicable to the Common Core Standards across the curriculum. The Capacities operate as both strategies for, and outcomes of, study according to LCI’s practice.

The Capacities for Imaginative Learning are:

Noticing Deeply to identify and articulate layers of detail in a work of art or other object of study through continuous interaction with it over time.

Embodying to experience a work of art or other object of study through your senses, as well as emotionally, and also to physically represent that experience.

Questioning to ask questions throughout your explorations that further your own learning; to ask the question, “What if?”

Making Connections to connect what you notice and the patterns you see to your prior knowledge and experiences, to others’ knowledge and experiences, and to text and multimedia resources.

Identifying Patterns to find relationships among the details that you notice, group them, and recognize patterns.

Exhibiting Empathy to respect the diverse perspectives of others in the community; to understand the experiences of others emotionally, as well as intellectually.

Living with Ambiguity to understand that issues have more than one interpretation, that not all problems have immediate or clear-cut solutions, and to be patient while a resolution becomes clear.

Creating Meaning to create your own interpretations based on the previous capacities, see these in the light of others in the community, create a synthesis, and express it in your own voice.

Taking Action to try out new ideas, behaviors or situations in ways that are neither too easy nor too dangerous or difficult, based on the synthesis of what you have learned in your explorations.

Reflecting/Assessing to look back on your learning, continually assess what you have learned, assess/identify what challenges remain, and assess/identify what further learning needs to happen. This occurs not only at the end of a learning experience, but is part of what happens throughout that experience. It is also not the end of your learning; it is part of beginning to learn something else.

Click here to download a copy of LCI’s Capacities for Imaginative Learning (pdf)