Friday, August 14, 2009

Total Gush

I am about to do some world-class gushing, be warned.

Maybe I live under a rock and all you folks out there know this man and the work he does, but oh. my. goodness. He rocked my world yesterday. Sir Ken Robinson. He gave a TED conference speech asking if schools kill creativity.

First off, he is an incredible public speaker. I am super jealous of that. His cadence, humor and openness are enviable. Second, he makes outstanding points. Please take the time to watch it. What he is saying is so important to the creative industry we work in.

His main point is all children have creative talent and the education system tends to squash it. He references Picasso who said all children are born artists, the problem is to remain artists as they grow up. Sir Robinson argues that there is a hierarchy in education where the most useful subjects (ones aimed at getting you a job) are up at the top and the less useful subjects (music, art) are at the bottom. As a result, highly talented, creative children think the thing they were in good in at school isn't valued and often quit pursuing it.

He concludes that in order to move into a future where innovation and creativity reign as problem solving forces, we need to radically rethink our definition of intelligence. And the school system that currently defines it.

After being totally in awe listening to his speech, I was even more amazed at his contribution to a huge number of organizations that foster creativity in education. This man has spent his career concerning himself with teaching, mentoring, growing, helping people all in the name of creativity.

When I grow up, I want to be Sir Ken Robinson.


E said...

Interesting. These TED talks are always incredibly inspiring. Very cool stuff.

As an aspiring junior creative, I really enjoy reading this blog regularly. On that note, could you let me know where I can reach you by e-mail?

Matt said...

Hi Cecilia. Love the blog--always an insightful read.

I actually have a slightly unrelated ad question, but couldn't find a direct contact option.

I'm a young copywriter with a challenging gig (so I'm not necessarily looking for a job board), but would love portfolio feedback, criticism and critiques (plus see what others are up to). Can you recommend any such online ad communities?


Cecilia Gorman said...

Thank you for reading my blog. I can be reached at

Cecilia Gorman said...

Matt, I don't know of any online place where you can get feedback on your portfolio (although that is a great idea). Your best bet is to get a hold of senior-level creatives or recruiters, send them your link and ask for feedback. Also, CMYK has started a portfolio section where you can go and check out other jr. books.

Cecilia Gorman said...

Tom Prager says, "Btw, I just checked out your blog, and loooooved it. Got me excited about our industry all over again.

A little comment in regard to Sir Ken Robinson's insights... One of my pet beliefs has always been that all people are born artists and that it's not a genetic infliction. Then they have to learn techniques and disciplines, just like language and math. I like to prove that with the following line of logic: All children are artists -- at first. Then they are systematically taught that they're not by teachers and parents who have themselves been taught the same -- a vicious circle. In Bali, their culture teaches that all people are artists. So they retain that kind of self-esteem into adulthood, resulting in a society where all Balinese actually ARE artists. It's really not a predisposed gene some of us have and others don't.

Another indicator I like to cite is the difference between visual arts and music. I believe music is much more predisposed genetically (probably because I just ain't got it!). My proof is that musical prodigies like W.A. Mozart (and my childhood friend Andy Khan) just seem to be born with magical talent from the get-go. But where are the 6-year-old Michelangelos and P.P. Runenses? No, they had to learn it."