Chapter 3: Things Talk to Me

Things Talk To Me: How to Listen and Start Talking Back

Skills, Inclination and alertness

In Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education, Hetland et al., (2007) outline  eight habits of artistic thinking: observe, envision, stretch and explore, express, engage and persist, reflect, understand art world, and develop craft. Each habit is considered a disposition that includes not only the skill associated with that habit but the inclination to use that skill and the alertness to know when to engage the particular habit. In the context of this chapter, inclination and alertness to noticing the world become motivations to develop a diversity of skills to engage deeper and express our understanding of the world. -From Unfolding Practice

One of the core ideas in our book, Unfolding Practice, has to do with becoming alert to the ways in which the world is talking to you. In other words, not only becoming an “extreme noticer” but also making meaning of the things that catch and hold your attention. This cycle of alertness and engagement with the things you are noticing, and then developing a practice centered around those things connects to notions about dispositions, developed by David Perkins, Shari Tishman and others at Harvard’s Project Zero. They have written extensively about these ideas and this work has informed the many research projects at PZ.