Podcast musings... Collaboration & Creativity

This month Podcast Musings is about Collaboration and Creativity.

Shankar Vedantam hosts the Hidden Brain, which is a look into Social Science research and the implications of the findings in our daily lives. The inaugural podcast of the series is excellent look into research on giving and receiving feedback (Episode 1: Switchtracking) and provides tips on how to be aware of our mental processes as we communicating with others. To me, this is Step 1 to good critical discussion and essential to promoting team work and collaborative projects.

In the Reply ALL podcast #51 The Perfect Crime, the hosts PJ and Alex tell us about the actress Catherine Russell who has been playing the lead role in an Off-Broadway show called The Perfect Crime, eight times a week for the last 28 years. The funny thing is, this show has had consistently terrible reviews!

The hosts ponder the oddity of an actress staying in the same role for so long. Although it's not common for actors, this happens in every other job. I guess we expect actors to be creative people and not like that sort of pattern, and want to change. But what is change? And where does it come from? This made me think of teaching. It quickly gets repetitive, teaching the same course, the same material over the years. It's easy to get stuck in a pattern and never evolve. But if you are a creative thinker you can evolve your practice even within the same role. For instance, this actress can do many different interpretations of her role. And her meta-involvement with her play, in the reaction to the play by the public, is also a greatly to be involved in your practice while taking a step back from it.

Also, I absolutely loved this Reply ALL the podcast #52 Raising the Bar on the importance of having DIVERSITY in the workplace. Specifically, diversity is not only a means to promoting an ethical work environment, but also a creative one! The caveat is that it takes more time to make diversity work. If everyone is different, they have to find a common rhythm and patterns of communication that jive for everyone, in a sense, get used to and adapt to everyone's unique communication style. That takes time and that takes a lot of emotional investment --> something fewer and fewer companies / schools are willing to invest in. Which is a shame. It's hard, but it creates synergy, something greater than the sum of its parts!

The Slate Audio Book Club (ABC) reviewed the book Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, a group of essays in which she wades through the confusion and messiness of what it means to be a feminist woman of colour. I loved the point about how she uses her emotional reaction to guide her critical thinking: 'this is how I feel and so this is what I think of my emotional reaction'. Here, emotions become a guide in the analytical process, a very uncommon approach to analysis! The reviewers provide great insight into their view of Gay's process.

I just loved hearing Philip Glass outline constructivist view on creativity because it is exactly in the same vein as the work I am doing on Professional Teacher Learning. It's amazing to see the ideas we work with pop up across disciplines!

"These things happen in the collective way. No one invented impressionism, no one invented cubism, no one invented action painting. It happened through the intercourse of an arts community. Through the things that they bring in through the times. And through the politics, through the ethics and morality of the times we live in. Of course you look at van Gogh, and astonishing painter, or Beckett, or anybody who somehow seemed to speak in a modern language that is both familiar and yet completely new. And you say, "How did that happen?" But it didn't happen, no one was hatched out of an egg. Nothing is more social or more socially intensely realized than culture." Philip Glass in the last few minutes of BBC podcast on Philip Glass in his previous life working as a taxi driver.

If you're not familiar with Philip Glass, he's an amazing minimalist musical composer. You've probably heard his music, it's VERY distinctive!

If you've heard any podcasts recently that have gotten your wheels turning, why not share them in the comment section below?

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