Wednesday, June 10, 2009

FastCo: Neuroscience Sheds New Light on Creativity

What neuroscience reveals about how to come up with new ideas.

Report on White House Briefing On Art, Community, Social Justice, National Recovery 12 May 2009, Eisenhower Executive Office Building

WH Briefing Report 6-3-09

Dana Foundation: Music and the Brain from Perception to Emotion

Music and the Brain: From
Perception to Emotion brought together neuroscientists, performing
artists, and the public all participating in a gathering which
discussed the interpretation of emotions, creativity, and
improvisation.  The public event was held during the Federation of
European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) in Geneva.  Participants
included, EDAB vice chairman, Pierre Magistretti, Federal Institute of
Technology and Lausanne University Hospital; Francois Ansermet, Geneva
University Hospital; Gary Magby, Lausanne Music Conservatory; Solenn’
Lavanant, opera singer; Ioanna Bentoiu, opera singer; Richard Rentsch (, composer and Orazio Sciortino (

To view a video from this gathering, go to:

Arts Opportunity for Oakland County Students ages 6 - 12

Sunday, June 7, 2009

NYTIMES BOOK REVIEW: Shop Class as Soulcraft

To read the complete review, click here.

An inquiry into the value of work. Matthew B. Crawford, who owns and operates a motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, Va., and serves as a fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, notes that all across the United States, high school shop classes teaching mechanical arts like welding, woodworking or carpentry are closing down, to free up funds for computer labs.

here are two things wrong with this notion, according to Crawford. The first is that it radically undervalues blue-collar work that involves the manipulation of things rather than ideas. Expertise with things permits human beings to have agency over their lives — that is, their ability to exert some control over the myriad faucets, outlets and engines that they depend on from day to day. Instead of being able to top up your engine oil when it is low, you wait until an “idiot light” goes on on the dashboard, and you turn your car over to a bureaucratized dealership that hooks it up to a computer and returns it to you without your having the faintest idea of what might have been wrong.

The second problem with this vision is that the postindustrial world is not in fact populated — as gurus like Richard Florida, who has popularized the idea of the “creative class,” would have it — by “bizarre mavericks operating at the bohemian fringe.” The truth about most white-collar office work, Crawford argues, is captured better by “Dilbert” and “The Office”: dull routine more alienating than the machine production denounced by Marx. Unlike the electrician who knows his work is good when you flip a switch and the lights go on, the average knowledge worker is caught in a morass of evaluations, budget projections and planning meetings. None of this bears the worker’s personal stamp; none of it can be definitively evaluated; and the kind of mastery or excellence available to the forklift driver or mechanic are elusive. Rather than achieving self-mastery by confronting a “hard discipline” like gardening or structural engineering or learning Russian, people are offered the fake autonomy of consumer choice, expressing their inner selves by sitting in front of a Harley- Davidson catalog and deciding how to trick out their bikes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Michelle Obama on Arts Education

“My husband and I believe strongly that arts education is essential for building innovative thinkers who will be our nation’s leaders of tomorrow,” said Mrs. Obama

link: In New York, Mrs. Obama Praises Arts as Vital to U.S. -

Blogs of Interest