The term “the Hundred Languages” grew out of the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and refers to each individual’s ability to think and communicate through multiple creative languages, such as the visual, dramatic, musical, as well as written word. This professional development conference will focus on the expansive potential that ordinary materials hold as vehicles of expression for people of all ages. One keynote address will offer inspirations for the use of materials to build relationships between the values and ideas of the community and imagination. A second keynote will discuss “where we know what we know” within the context of “embodied experience” and “embodied knowledge.” Open to everyone interested in new developments in education - educators, policy-makers, parents, artists, musicians and others – this conference will also offer participants the opportunity to think, act and reflect on a variety of materials during the breakout sessions, which will be led by established arts educators and studio teachers from NYC and beyond.
The Materials Day (Saturday, April 18th) is a free-of-charge outdoor event open to the public. Visitors of all ages are invited to interact with found materials through activities led by local artists and teachers. Musicians who work with found objects will be doing small performances throughout the day as well as helping visitors engage with sound-making materials. Visitors will also be able to experiment with a variety of materials in design- and construction-based activities. Come help create a collaborative plastic bottle cap mandala, crawl through a cardboard city, add to an arrangement of colorful objects, contribute to a weaving, make a ‘found object’ costume, hang objects in an installation, and more!
This presentation will examine the uses of materials to build relationship between the values and ideas of community and imagination. The use of materials allows us into territory that we couldn’t otherwise explore, and for that reason, keeps our terrain of thought multi-disciplinary, open to possibility, and keeps our extraordinary potential accessible to us. Through examples in practice from PK - 5th grade classroom settings, Ms. MacKay will share stories of experiences in which materials facilitated the visibility and development of the collective imagination. Experiences with the arts create opportunities to see and share the things that connect us all. They allow us to see what someone else has seen and find ourselves there together, and not alone. In this way, materials offer images both in the world for sharing and in the mind for remembering and knowing. As Sarah Lewis writes in her new book, The Rise, images create the “double-barreled power to convey humanity as it is, and through the power of imagination, to ignite an inner vision of life as it could be.” We can build what we imagine, and what we build together can help us imagine new possibilities.
The question of ‘where do we know what we know?’ speaks to the relationship between ‘embodied experience’ and ‘embodied knowledge’. The experiences of making, of direct engagement with the material world, are an essential component in the development of fully embodied knowledge. This opens up the possibility of education as a communicative exchange between individuals, materials and their social environment.
Education, by definition is a transformative pursuit; Individuals come together and engage in transformative interactions and experiences. As with many forms of structural invention, the consequences of thoughtful invention within the structures of education are ultimately unique spaces and experiences. In this talk, Professor Gersten will address the questions of material imagination from a number of perspectives, specifically looking at the interdependence of education and direct engagement with the material world.