Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
I apologize in advance for the Millennial bashing (technically I am one so I feel entitled – typical Millennial…). I read this article on the Chronicle for Higher Education “Thinking ‘Bigger Than Me’ in Liberal Arts” and thought it was so relevant to us as we advance in our careers, begin to craft visitor experiences, create content, manage programming and usher in a new generation of art appreciators.
The author of the article discusses the “me-centric” generation of today that is more concerned about whether the activity they are engaging in can be captured and shared online than the actual experience itself. Sure, this may be an exaggeration but someone once said to me, completely seriously, “If it’s not online, it’s like it didn’t happen.” The me-centric mindset is compared to “bigger than me” experiences – where the participant is first asked to shift their own subjectivity, encounter problems, come up with ideas and seek a resolution. The author discusses this dichotomy within the classroom setting and gives numerous examples of how teachers attempt to bring students into the “Bigger Than Me” thought process, but I think this is very valuable thinking for an arts manager as well.
I particularly like the closing paragraph:
“Our pedagogical challenge in an era of iCreativity lies somewhere between “me” and “bigger than me” experiences. … We need to inspire students to find their voices and make learning personal, but we must also help them realize that authentic growth comes as much from escaping as from discovering the self.”
It will be interesting to see how the art experience is shaped to fit somewhere in between the “me” and “bigger than me” experience.