Cleanliness, Godliness and Civilization

Categories: philosophy

So I watched an action movie set in some war-torn corner of the world, crumbling and dirty; walls not ancient but old and decrepit, the paint not shabby but shitty and ugly. Dead bodies were mostly off the streets but sometimes forgotten in a corner and garbage piled in corners. I’ve often observed that it’s […]

Creativity: Stay on the Bus

Categories: art

A creative friend recently pointed me to Australian artist and videographer, Struthess – Campbell Walker. It’s refreshing to find content in the style and language of my homeland. Like most Aussies, Walker calls it how he sees it, and he’s an inveterate storyteller. In this video, Struthless riffs on the ‘Helsinki Bus Station theory’ of […]

Teachers and a Poor Student

Categories: education

“Don’t be a teacher” said Mrs Small, “if you want to be an artist”. She played Shostakovich and encouraged us to destroy things. Peter Bishop tut-tutted about the standard of painting in the art school and showed me how to stretch a canvas properly. He showed me how to print the old-school way, with slow, […]

The Sage on the Stage

Categories: education

  The Sage on the Stage is a well-worn trope describing the old-style lecturer delivering content from the podium: a revered actor, deeming to bestow their knowledge upon grateful audience-students. It represents, we are told, everything that is the worst about education. Why, then, if this model is so terrible, do we still buy into […]

Writing and Power

Categories: education

Burke’s 2008 paper,  Writing Power and Voice: Access To and Participation in Higher Education has been pivotal for me. How my understanding of the issues raised in this paper will translate into practice remains to be seen, but it demands a radical rethink of my epistemological position.   An initial reservation is that my own […]

The Ought Educator

Categories: education

Some of my most interesting insights this session were generated not by my own initiative, but by a student’s questions about Mead’s theory of the social self. We were talking about Mead’s (1934) notion of the social construction of the ‘I’ and the ‘Me’, and comparing these with Freud’s ideas about id, ego and superego. […]

Beyond Left and Right Brain: Drawing with the Whole Mind

Categories: art

Are you a right-brain or left-brain thinker? And more importantly…. does it matter? For the most part, the right-brain/left-brain idea is at best a handy model and at worst a limiting stereotype. As Kendra Cherry points out in her article on this pop psychology myth, research has often been contrary to the assumptions of this […]

Vitamin Pill Zen

Categories: philosophy

I wrote a bit of a Tweetstorm thismorning, and decided to turn it into a blog post, given my tendency to ragequit twitter and delete posts. The diatribe was inspired by an NYT Mindfulness article (via James Coyne, whose critique of the fad is always worth reading). David Gelles’ observations on the commodification of mindfulness […]

[Twenty] First Century Pedagogy?

Categories: education

There’s an image of ‘traditional’ teaching as filling students up with knowledge, rote learning, absent of any context or interest. Every other day someone dutifully reposts the latest diatribe on social media, exhorting teachers to embrace 21st century values and reject all that old-fashioned, straightjacketed learning. I wonder where, exactly, these people went to school. […]

ye olde black art: sock knitting

Categories: craft

Is it the perverse love of doing things The Hard Way or the connection with the Old Ways that makes us love discovering age-old paint formulas, dog-eared Herbals and the handwritten pattern for grandad’s Gansey? I was just reading a favorite blog, machen:do – ‘What Did Tolstoy Know About Knitting’ in which the author quotes […]