Keep up the good work!😏February 5, 2016 - Devin
Great post. I particularly like your point about the smartphone's...January 20, 2015 - Sheri Lullo
This instantly reminded me of a trip taken to England in the...January 19, 2015 - Donna
November 22, 2017 - 0 Comment
October 6, 2017 - 0 Comment
October 5, 2017 - 0 Comment
Help Support the Site
presented in collaboration with
The question: “Why Study the Arts and Humanities?”…
….haunts our disciplines every day. This is not an easy question to answer because the language and the outcomes of fields such as classics, philosophy, ethics, literature, art history or theater are often broad, abstract, and by some accounts, even elitist. What are the humanities? What is humanistic and artistic study anyway? And why should you care or, even worse, make a career out of one or more of these fields? Instead of trying to convince you of the value of these fields in a traditional way, let me propose for one minute that William Shakespeare was right and “all the world’s our stage.”
Imagine, then, that we become the actors and directors of the plays of our lives on this world stage. Similar to the production of a play, we would begin to envision the history and the social and cultural context within which this play took shape, with you as the protagonist. Where were you, our character, born? What language do you speak? What is your style in speech and dress? How does this style coincide with your life experiences, your background and ethnic heritage? What experiences might contribute to the way in which you view the world? What motivates you? What do you fear? What is your life story?
To stage this play, we would need to adopt, as Technical Director Steven Michalek explains, a host of different roles. We’d need to become technicians and “know science to understand the physics of lighting or the chemistry of cooking fake glass. We would need to know math to layout and construct an archway or something as simple as reading the fractions on a tape measure. We would need to know engineering to choose appropriate materials when building sets or flying performers. Designers would need to know about and be skilled in the myriad conventions of visual artists and sculptors in order to convey the appropriate moods and feelings in their sets, lights and costumes.”
If our lives may indeed be compared to a finely tuned theater production, then, as Michalek further explains, “the skilled theatre professional must also possess finely tuned creative problem solving and collaborative skills. Learning not just to succeed but excel within tightly defined parameters is the daily fodder of directors, actors and technicians.” To the extent that the theater serves as a metaphor for our lives, we do indeed need creative thought when times get tough, we need to engage positively and ethically with our neighbors and colleagues, even our enemies, we need to recognize that each and every one of our lives is determined by “tightly defined parameters,” such as family, class, and race. And each time an element in these and other parameters change, the entire world begins to change with it on what seems like an ever-moving stage of events. Were we to remove one of the above ingredients, say our ability to place life into context or talk about who we are, our ability to show what we do and what we stand for, then our play may be reduced to awkward pauses, silences, and absences. For us to remain on the world stage, retain an audience that witnesses our life’s play, we must find a healthy balance between thinking and acting as historians, engineers, lighting technicians, scientists, psychologists, writers, and literary analysts. Remove one of these components, and our sets might well fall apart. Lights out.
Why study the arts and humanities? Just imagine your play without them.
A former IBM executive and venture startup CEO, Fjeld likes to remind his students that entrepreneurship isn’t easy. “You start with an idea,” he tells them. “And you’re almost certainly…
“I believe that art can’t save the country. … But I believe at the same time that all kinds of culture, art or writing, cinema or photographs, can rebuild something…
What Crisis?: How Extraordinary Partnerships with the Arts and Humanities are Transforming the Way We Think, Work, and Live Jenny Gottstein, the Director of Games at The GoGame, a company that builds interactive experiences and high-tech…
“So I’m asking you to remember that behind every algorithm is always a person, a person with a set of personal beliefs that no code can ever completely eradicate. And…
Milinda Ajawara is a NY6 Think Tank “Next Generation” humanities contributor who worked on a project that focused on Women’s Studies (also known as Women’s and Gender Studies). Her project consisted of a series of interviews with Hamilton…
Eat Your Words! is a New York 6 Think Tank Project of Tessa Jane “Flash” Kalinosky, with help from Professor Beck Krefting, Professor Dan Nathan, and Photographer Liv Anderson (and friends who eat the food she make). Tessa…
This past week, I hosted an event called, “What’s Your Major? Exploring the Arts and Humanities.” Originally, I had planned to host an alumni panel event at Union and invite students to come and hear from successful graduates…
As tech behemoths and a wave of start-ups double down on virtual assistants that can chat with human beings, writing for AI is becoming a hot job in Silicon Valley….
“The numbers show art matters: A study of Missouri public schools found that increased art education resulted in fewer disciplinary infractions, as well as higher attendance, graduation rates and test scores….
It’s possible to be too glib about the impact of education: Osama bin Laden was an engineer. Ayman al-Zawahri, the current leader of Al Qaeda, is a trilingual surgeon. Rafi…
NY6 Think Tank Student Fellow, Emily Wong, speaks to an entire generation through her new blog titled “Pathways to Employment: Employed Arts & Humanities Majors: They Exist!” This is the goal of her blog: “….to quell my own…