Possibly some of the most inspiring ideas I heard came from Dennie Palmer Wolf, who I am excited to work with this year at the New Vic as part of the SPARK program. She also suggested that we reframe the conversation about the value of arts in our communities. Dennie said that the investments we make in our communities are long term, and that the things artists and arts service providers add to the community now may not yield results until the next generation. I find it exciting to think of the work we do as a long term investment.
WT: One of the sessions I attended presented on the Connected Learning work of Dr. Mizuko Ito. The work was an ethnographic study that looked at how students learn on the internet. What she found was that there are three factors that drive the interest of the modern student. She believes the "digital native" learns in environments that are: 1- social, 2- explorative, and 3-challenging at a high skill level. I will certainly be considering the way I implement these three matrices in the work I create as an artist and as a teacher.
WT: Technology is changing our world to a participatory experience that gives the audience agency, individual purpose, and the opportunity to curate its own experience. If theater artists and teachers hope to compete with technologically housed methods of entertainment delivery, we will need to find ways of creating work that does the same thing. Much in the way that shows like Catherine Wheels’ Hansel and Gretel, or Erth's DinosaurZoo are asking different questions about “what a theatrical experience looks like,” teachers and artists will have to explore these questions too.
WT: The big question I left the conference with is: How can the cultural organizations and service providers in urban areas combine their efforts to create programs that will be more effective, less costly, and provide arts education to urban students at scale. Nationally, it seems like there are organizations competing for the same resources to implement similar programs, that the teaching artists that are staffed for this work across organizations, also tend to be the same.