Guest Post from “The Idea Blog” by Miranda Hynes, a painter, writer, and musician from Boston who spends all her time coming up with new ideas to try and things to make. She is currently in the process of finishing her book, Don’t Make Art, Just Make Something. Her twitter: @mirandaaisling. Her Facebook.
Last fall I was one of eight fellows who were asked to find, review, and summarize articles to include in ArtsEdSearch, “an online clearinghouse that collects and summarizes high quality research studies on the impacts of arts education and analyzes their implications for educational policy and practice.” As one of the perks for the fellowship, I was invited to come to the Arts Education Partnership Forum in Washington DC. And so, during the first week of April, I left my life for a few days to be submerged in a world of passion, possibility, and policy.
Of the many incredible events that happened during the two day conference, the most influential for me was a roundtable discussion held between the fellows and eight invited movers and shakers from the education world: Gigi Antoni, Jessica Mele, Arnold Aprill, Joe Landon, Sarah Cunningham, Lisa Donovan, Kerrie Bellisario, and Rebecca Kirk. It was put together and hosted by the wonderful Lauren Stevenson who also led the fellowship in the fall.
While I was sitting at the table, my hand flew across the page as words of wisdom flew back and forth between the seventeen participants. Below are what I managed to capture, although if we ever do this again I now know to bring my voice recorder.
- “I’m more of a founder than a joiner.” – Lauren Austin
- “There’s a connection between community-based work, school-based work, and research.” – Arnold Aprill
- “Leaping tracks has been super productive.” – Sarah Cunningham
- “The opportunities present themselves in a non-linear way.” – Arnold Aprill
- “How do we compare the box-like jobs with our multiple skill sets and multiple interests?” – Lisa Donovan
- “Everything I’ve gotten is because I know how to work my skill sets.” – Lisa Donovan
- “I’m an inventor and I am an inventor of myself.” – Kerrie Bellisario on backward designing yourself.
- “What’s your personal mission? … Be clear about the change you want to make, the end game.” – Gigi Antoni
- “Which environment is going to be most useful for your vision?” – Arnold Aprill
- “It is the nature of bureaucracies to prevent their stated function.” – Arnold Aprill
- “Dilemma Management … how are you going to be a change agent?” – Arnold Aprill
- “You’ve gotta engage in radical compliance.” – Arnold Aprill
- “Why is it always STEM to STEAM? We should have our own alphabet/acronym!” – Jessica Mele
- “It’s not, ready aim, fire. It’s ready, fire, aim. … You need to have something to learn from.” – Arnold Aprill quoting Michael Fullan
- “Look for allies in unsuspected places.” – Kerrie Bellisario
- “I was five years out ahead of where I was supposed to be.” – Kerrie Bellisario
- “How do I work with where we’re at right now while staying true to where I want to go?” – Kerrie Bellisario
- “The biggest challenge is wanting change right away but having to set it up.” – Kerrie Bellisario
- “What are the skill sets I lack for this next thing I want to do? Go back and learn them.” – Gigi Antoni
- “Get mentors … not always older ones.” – Gigi Antoni
- “Being ahead of the curve is hard.” – Gigi Antoni
- “Always question your practice.” – Arnold Aprill
- “Don’t wait for permission to move forward. Always ask for forgiveness.” – Lisa Donovan
- “Whose the someone? We are the ones.” – Lisa Donovan
- “Have a bias for action.” – Gigi Antoni
- “…the skill of bringing people along with you.” – Gigi Antoni
- “There’s an equal if not greater need to understand how to motivate others toward action.” – Gigi Antoni
- “Don’t just look to your own discipline to learn what you need to do.” – Gigi Antoni
- “When we act in silos we have more power.” – Gigi Antoni
- “I knew she knew what I needed to know.” – Gigi Antoni about Susan Cunningham
- “We still haven’t dealt with gender, race, and class.” – Arnold Aprill
- “Develop your willingness to tolerate economic instability.” – Joe Landon
- “If not now, when? If not me, who?” – Arnold Aprill paraphrasing Rabbi Hillel
- “I am an opportunity pilot.” – Gigi Antoni
- “Our political imagination for arts education isn’t expansive enough.” – Sarah Cunningham