Embracing your creative side

Dean of Students Merry Jo Brandimore re-envisioned the usual lecture style of the Cardinal Talks series in her presentation about creativity.

“The Cardinal Talk format is something I deviated from slightly because I didn’t do a lecture and stop and then have conversation,” Brandimore said. “I tried to mix in some interaction during it so that it wouldn’t seem so much like a lecture.”

The presentation, titled “Finding Your Creative Side,” took place at 11:45 a.m. Friday, Nov. 21.

“The topic of creativity isn’t necessarily because I was trying to help students find ways to get ideas for papers or projects; it was just to fuel their creative use in any part of their lives,” Brandimore said. “I also think that this particular time in the semester, students have a lot of things to do … and this (presentation) is an opportunity to step away and do something unique and almost rejuvenating.”

Nursing freshman Jenna Thelen came to the presentation because the topic appealed to her.

“I saw the topic was creativity, and I feel like that’s something I can really work on because I’m a play-by-the-rules, stick-to-the-book sort of person,” Thelen said. “I figured a little divergence in my thoughts would be good.”

Brandimore explained the creative process, then establishing four roles that contribute to it: the explorer, the artist, the judge and the warrior.

The explorer, she argued, finds information for ideas. An explorer looks at details, chews on old ideas and looks for answers in other fields.

“If you’re trying to be creative, put yourself out of the obvious and into unique situations,” Brandimore said.

The second role, the artist, transforms information into ideas.

According to Brandimore, the artist can develop ideas through tearing down rules, fooling around with conventions, looking at information backward and comparing it to other information.

The third role, the judge, evaluates ideas. Brandimore said judges must consider assumptions, twist negatives into positives and see items in other contexts.

“Great ideas can turn out to be mediocre, but mediocre ideas can turn out to be great,” Brandimore said.

The final role, the warrior, acts on the ideas, launching plans to fulfill an end. According to Brandimore, warrior figures must eliminate excuses in order to complete their tasks.

Brandimore discussed the drawbacks of each role and obstacles to creativity, as well. She had each student evaluate which role they fit best.

Thelen evaluated herself as a judge.

“I learned a lot about going outside my comfort zone and looking at things from a different perspective,” she said.

Brandimore said presentations like those of Cardinal Talks are important to students.

“(It’s important) to stop and spend time on yourself and developing skills that you might not think about unless someone puts the topic before you,” Brandimore said. “I think that’s true of other topics from the Cardinal Talks (series).”

Michele Gunkelman will present the final installment of this semester’s Cardinal Talks series Friday, Dec. 5 at 11:45 a.m. in the Unity Room.

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