What inspired the ‘Relational Arts & Organic Design’ course?
It began with conversations between Daniel, Nick and myself, and later others, all based at Emerson College. I had retired after 30 years of work in cardiac imaging and research in a London hospital and was wanting to try to offer back, in Emerson, some of the inspiration and ways of discovering that others, particularly John Wilkes and John Davy, had opened for me nearly forty years ago.
Why is discovery important?
I think that by far the best way to find out about the world is to gain an ability and habit of inquiring, noticing and discovering for your self. School and university may favour more directed learning towards measurable goals. But learning for exams can suppress self-directed inquiry and creativity. And, in my experience, exam learning is forgettable, whereas discovery for your self sows seeds that grow and weave into the richness of your experience.
What enables discovery?
It’s a blessing that can happen at any time, but can be helped by several factors. One is inquisitiveness and unbiased openness, free from received interpretations or assumptions but, at the same time, keeping a sense of reality and discrimination. Open-mindedness needs to be tempered by realism. Practical, hands-on experience and direct observation allow this, and can raise questions - why?, what?, how?, what else?, what if? Original discovery can begin by noticing a paradox or discrepancy... how on earth can this be the case if this is also so? It's helped on its way by active engagement and experimentation - getting stuck in - playfully, or by trying to make something work, or in attempting to recreate something through drawing, painting, modelling or describing. Discovery can also be helped though group participation, where members hear and share their different viewpoints or insights. Recognition can also dawn through formulating and pursuing a question over successive days, nights and weeks.