My artist’s date this week was a day-long “creative economy” conference sponsored by the City of San Antonio, an event that is part of SA’s emerging realization that the arts actually do contribute to the economic health of the city. Gee, what a concept.
As part of the day, we heard a speech by Sir Ken Robinson, (knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003 for his contributions to education) who arrived here in the U.S. a few years ago to work at the Getty. Robinson is now is off and running in the world of corporate America, and bureaucratic makeovers, working to shift this country’s understanding of creativity and education. I like what he has to say – though I think I’ve been saying the same thing for about 45 years – but I never had the ear of the business and government world that he has, and, thank God, he does. I hope they listen. It seems maybe they or some of “they” just may be, thus this conference. The next best thing about Sir Ken (beyond the message that we are all born with creative brains and our educational system does its best to stomp it out of us) is his sense of humor – he is a fabulous speaker and it isn’t about a fancy Powerpoint. Here's what the TED site says about Sir Ken and the speech from, I think, the 2006 TED conference in Monterrey:
Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. With ample anecdotes and witty asides, Robinson points out the many ways our schools fail to recognize -- much less cultivate -- the talents of many brilliant people. "We are educating people out of their creativity," Robinson says. The universality of his message is evidenced by its rampant popularity online. A typical review: "If you have not yet seen Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk, please stop whatever you're doing and watch it now."
Though the San Antonio speech wasn’t allowed to be videotaped (agent’s rule), another of Sir Ken’s speeches is part of the TEDTalks library. Check it out here. His latest book, which I bought, is Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative. P.S. You can also find this talk by Sir Ken on UTube and I have an easier time getting a smooth good download on that site.
PPS. If you haven't explored the TED Talks yet, I strongly encourage you to spend your next dedicated to TV on this channel instead. The offerings are astounding. These pieces make me believe in the power of video and the internet all over again.