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Thematic Learning Initiative - Blog
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Winter 2018 Thematic Learning Initiative events are now live! Registration recommended. View 2017-2018 TLi Events
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Picture Q&A with BJ Miller, M.D.: How Can We Rethink Our Perspective on End of Life Care?

Thursday, January 11,  2018
43 people attended
Unitarian Society Parish Hall
Public event

Get Involved

To do more, check out these local groups committed to continuing the death conversation:
or, respond to these discussion questions in the comment section below:
  • How can we create space (personally or professionally) for people to experience death how they choose, rather than setting expectations and quieting their mourning?
  • How can we remove feelings of guilt and shame from our own or others' death and dying experience?
6 days ago |
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Picture Faulkner Gallery - Santa Barbara Central Library
1 month ago |
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Picture Faulkner Gallery - Santa Barbara Central Library
2 months ago |
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Picture At the Piano Kitchen 
2 months ago |
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Picture At the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Moderated by Carlos Hernández of El Latino Central Coast
2 months ago |
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Picture In anticipation of the Santa Barbara debut of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, on Thursday, October 19, more than 300 people came to watch a free screening of Orchestra of Exiles as part of the Thematic Learning Initiative. This film depicted the life of Bronislaw Huberman, a young child prodigy violinist. Until WWI, Huberman performed violin solos around the world, earning large sums of money, initially at the direction of his father. However, in his adult life, the war "shocked him awake" to the horrors occurring in Nazi Germany. He then began to use his art for awareness of politics. He did this by creating the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Palestine and then Israel. Ultimately, up to 70 Jewish lives of performers in the orchestra, and their families escaped Nazism and were saved by performing in his orchestra. This orchestra became a refuge for Jewish performers who were forced out of work by Nazi Germany. Huberman fought long and hard to get permanent certificates of immigration for his musicians in Palestine. These artists "rose a fist" to antisemitism and used music as their weapon.  
  • What social justice issues are important to you today?  
  • What talents, such as music, do you use in your own life to make a difference for others? 

2 months ago |
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Picture On a beautiful Saturday afternoon on October 14, more than 1700 people came to see Walter Isaacson speak about Leonardo da Vinci at the Arlington Theatre. As part of TLI, 100 people received a free copy of Isaacson's most recent book, Leonardo da Vinci: The Secrets of History's Most Creative Genius. Lines started forming outside the theatre before 12:30! During the illustrated presentation, Isaacson revisited many of da Vinci's famous paintings and and why his mastery of painting was so notable. Da Vinci loved curls and swirls repeatedly appeared in his drawings, his paintings, and even in the depictions of his young lover's hair. Da Vinci, a master of blending art and science, shows his in-depth knowledge of anatomy and optics in many of his paintings. Isaacson described some of da Vinci's famous drawings of himself being a public statement of his life being meaningful. In terms of creating a meaningful life, Isaacson mentions the key component of not only being smart, but also being creative and in touch with nature.
  • Da Vinci made public statements of his meaningful life through drawings of himself. How do you show others that your life is meaningful?
  • What components of yourself and your personality do you try to cultivate to create meaning in your life?
  • Do you have a creative outlet that cultivates meaning in your life?

3 months ago |
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On Wednesday, October 11 nearly 200 people gathered in the Faulkner Gallery at the Santa Barbara Public Library to have a lunchtime chat with Pico Iyer. Iyer addressed several topics including the longevity and sanctuary of the Santa Barbara Public Library as it celebrates its 100 year anniversary, the daily rituals that foster space in his thoughts to write, and how technology and information overload in our lives  affect our attention by making us busy and, and in his words "dizzy." Iyer encouraged audience members to make discerning use of their technology devices and to "live at the speed of life" rather than "the speed of light." 
Picture Attendees asked questions related to Iyer's international experiences. They wanted to know about where he had not yet traveled, and where he would like to go again and again.
  • What are some of the places you hope to travel to that you have not been to yet?
  • What are some of the places you could travel to over and over again?
  • How do you carve out quiet space in your life?
3 months ago |
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Picture As part of the Thematic Learning Initiative, illustrious graphic designer Chip Kidd lead several Arts & Lectures Thematic Learning Circles in addition to his UCSB Campbell Hall public lecture.  

First, on Tuesday May 9, Chip Kidd held a small Q&A session hosted by Harry and Sandra Reese at the Turkey Press in Isla Vista. Several lucky Creative Studies students and faculty, surrounded by Chip Kidd designed books, gathered to discuss how he got to where he is today. He recalled doing some graphics for his high school television station prior to applying to Penn State. Kidd described the small graphic arts department, where one learned by doing. It was here that his love of bookmaking was sparked. 
 
Chip Kidd also told the group about how he considers himself fortunate that he could learn to design by hand, before learning digital design. His 1986 graduation coincided with the release of the Apple Macintosh computer. Kidd knew he wanted to stay in New York City and design graphics. After several months searching, he was offered the position of assistant to the art director at Alfred Knopf. Throughout his job search process, he was often referred to others and experienced much rejection. He explained to students that through this period, he learned to keep an open mind. Chip told the students they too should keep an open mind in their career pursuits.  
 
Lastly during this learning circle, Kidd explained the joy he receives from his work. He really enjoys designing for and getting to know certain authors, such as Haruki Murakami. In addition, he told the students that if he only has 2-3 projects a year that he is passionate about, then it is all worth it; having a finished physical object is rewarding and he really enjoys that aspect of the work. ​

Picture Chip Kidd speaking with students and faculty at Turkey Press. photo credit: Roman Baratiak
PictureChip Kidd's book example that he originally design that varied by country Following the Turkey Press Learning Circle, Kidd had dinner with a few community members before arriving at UCSB's Campbell Hall to deliver his public lecture. Throughout the lecture, Kidd illustrated his unique stories and experiences with photographs of his graphic process and the stunning results. The audience enjoyed Kidd's sardonic humor as he recounted successes and failures. He opened with an explanation of his book Judge This, demonstrating how the range drastically differs by the publisher's control of the foreign editions for international markets.
PictureChip Kidd book jacket design for author Haruki Murakami
​Kidd shared his experiences designing book jackets for authors such as Mary Roach, Orhan Pamuk, Oliver Sacks, Frank Miller and Haruki Murakami. Kidd explained how he plays with the abstract, and minimizing images to portray the books theme. He also told the audience how he doesn't always have the opportunity to connect with the author, but when possible, those conversations really help his creativity.  ​

After the art museum, Kidd completed his time in Santa Barbara with a learning circle at the Santa Barbara City Public Library called "Judge a Book by its Cover." Here approximately 70 invited guests brought books with compelling covers to share. Guests enjoyed an interactive session discussing book jackets, design, and their love of books. ​ The following day the energetic Chip Kidd held a Q&A session with visuals for 11th and 12th grade students at Dos Pueblos High School. Afterwards Kidd joined an audience of 50 guests gathered at the Mary Craig Auditorium in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art for an event called "Exploring Creativity."  Picture Chip Kidd discussing book jackets photo credit: Sarah Jane Bennett Check out the following links to learn more about Chip Kidd's work:
8 months ago |
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