What College Students Should Be Learning About the Arts

What should they/we be about the ? I spend much of my time thinking, reading and learning from others about what current “should” be learning about the arts and creative industries while they are in . What “should” we the academic community be guiding young people to learn, tap into, be curious about and connect to? As the world changes and the diversity and multiplicity of our identities and purpose continues to ebb and flow, so too is the challenge we all face to help young people navigate their worlds, develop themselves and the networks and communities they are a part of.

While no one size fits all  and no one person or group has all the answers, there are many people we are each connected to who can provide insight from their own experiences. To aid my thinking as we enter the 2013/2014 academic year, on the 30th of August I reached out to my friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, the wonderfully creative, intelligent and disruptive souls who work across a multiplicity of areas in the arts and creative work, and across the world.

I asked them one question:

“What is the one thing every college student should learn about the arts and creative industries in their freshman (first year)?
(Tweet: 30.Aug.2013)

The response was awesome.

Over 24 contributors [1][2] tweeted, commented and discussed what they thought every college student should learn. Each response providing a rich insight into our complex creative worlds and the ongoing learning that occurs as we all navigate it.

The key themes that emerged across the comments and tweets include:

- how to cultivate your curiosity …
- is problem-finding as well as problem-solving …
- devote time to learning about philosophical fundamentals …
- lateral thinking …
- what is your drive, your creative purpose?
- develop your own creative practice …
- practice, practice, practice and don’t be afraid to fail …
- relish uncertainty …
- don’t let anyone discourage you …
- the value of a personal brand …
- creative work has a boring side …
- cultivate the conditions for creative collaboration …
- learn from creative others, your peers along the way …
- learn from others at the cutting edge outside the classroom …
- use social technologies to do this …
- no one is an expert in/of digital …
- volunteer, attend events and connect with groups in professional circles …
- the multiplicity of emergent arts and creative communities …
- arts and  play a critical role in society
- have fun, enjoy, participate, engage, listen, listen some more, reflect, share and be you.

This list does not do justice to the wonderfully rich and insightful words from each of the 24 contributors. To read all the responses you can access them through the curation on Storify that I have embedded in this blog post below.
If someone now asked me what I thought every college student (and faculty member) should learn about the arts and creative industries, I would reply:

never stop reaching out to your peers, even if you think you have all the answers #drkthinking

Source: Images on Flickr and Curation through Storify.

__________

[1] I’d like to extend a big thank you to the creative souls of the Cardiff Start Facebook group for their contributions. @CardiffStart is a group of creative, digital and tech startups and social entrepreneurs in and around Cardiff, Wales.

[2] If you would like to contribute your own response to this question, please post your response in a tweet mentioning @drkellypage or #drkthinking and I’ll add it to the contributions.

8 comments

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DK (4 years ago)

Great way to gather both content / insights whilst informing / inspiring.

    @drkellypage (4 years ago)

    Thank you DK. It is an interesting area to reflect on. As the world changes so too should we in not just what we share to help young people learn, but also how we do that, our own practices.

Tom (4 years ago)

Creativity is often a collaborative endeavour :) Nice use of your community to explore the question Kelly. If all first year student asked that question of every artist and entrepreneur they met, they would get a wealth of wisdom.

    @drkellypage (4 years ago)

    Tom, that is a great suggestion for students to do. I also think it is something faculty should engage in as well so that we are always current and learning from others with different experiences.

Melanie (4 years ago)

Lovely to see the insights you gathered. Thank you for always practicing (and sharing your practice) of creativity and collaboration!

    @drkellypage (4 years ago)

    Melanie, thank you for providing such great responses. It is important we share and collaborate as we all have different experiences and perspectives to bring and no one has all the answers. Sometimes we can get lost in our own worlds so it is important to sometimes reach out or step out. Thanks again.

James Harlan (4 years ago)

I might be too late to interact on this discussion but I like to share my thoughts on what college students should be learning about the arts.
For me, being “fearless” is the essential art that a college student or anyone else should learn. Saying, “fearless” means doing things that they really wanted to do. Fighting over things you really like to become in the future.

    @drkellypage (3 years ago)

    James, it is never too late to interact on the discussion. I agree, being fearless is essential. It is also really hard when the world around may push you in another direction, especially one considered more secure or safe (if there is really such a thing). Can I add, being fearless in exploring who they really are, what they really believe and following a path they wish to explore. There is no certainty in this world, only exploration of the uncertain. Thanks for sharing.

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