As the fall semester winds down, I’m getting excited for the next semester course to begin. I’ll be making a big change this time; taking the Tuesday/Thursday 75 minute seminars into a once-a-week course meeting 3 hours on Monday evenings. The sessions will definitely need more engagement activities. I’m really looking forward to challenging the pedagogical approach as well as opening up the classroom for more exploration and individual interests.
Also new this year, I was able to successfully gain some funding to support the “hands-on” festival activities through Lehigh’s Core Competencies grant. Last year the students designed the inaugural arts fair at Farrington Square. They discovered entrepreneurial opportunities to raise awareness of the creative capital within the student body, as well as bring more ideas to increase Lehigh participation in the annual Spring on the SouthSide festival. We’ll continue that activity, and I’ll be sure to introduce the festival earlier in the semester; as recommended by last year’s group.
Also looking forward to seeing how the students connect the concepts of Richard Florida’s Creative Class*, the criteria of annual “best places to live” lists, as well as ideas of of Scott Timberg’s work; which I brought to the course for the first time last year. It was the follow-up work I’d been seeking since Florida’s ideas (even the updates) needed another perspective. Of course there will be other articles, and this time; a bit more attention to the ideas associated with creative placemaking. One of the learning outcomes for the students is to be able to articulate the difference between Creative Class and Creative Placemaking.
I’ll be inviting local artists of various forms, and others who work in the arts industry to talk about their professional portfolios, and how they establish themselves as entrepreneurial creatives in the Lehigh Valley. We’ll continue to venture on a few site visits to deepen their understanding of the Bethlehem’s cultural assets and what kind of entrepreneurial actions launched and sustains them.
The learning objectives for ENTP123 remain pretty much the same; but the content and discussions will always change to respond any new development that may happen throughout the semester. What I hope for the students is that they apply themselves to think about how a community values the arts, and what their role in sustaining cultural assets could be. I hope they leave the course with lots of questions, curiosity about the cultural assets for any community they will live in after graduation, and a sense of direction for engaging in that community’s cultural assets for their own well being.
As the students continue to practice their their art (whether vocation or avocational), engage in 21st century issues, aspire to be a civic leader, an aware citizen, or even a future parent, having a sense of connection to a place makes living there much greater.
*Richard Florida’s white paper on “The Creative Class.” Students in ENTP123 will be reading the newest edition of the book.