Creative Commons series highlights power of art to portray human experience

Posted by Carbery Campbell in Convocation, News 10 Apr 2018

poetryCentre College is proud to host the Creative Commons series, a program that brings diverse ideas and perspectives to campus through a variety of interactive speakers. The series is part of Creative Centre, a long-term quality enhancement plan that aims to help students, faculty and staff expand their creative thinking skills.

According to Creative Commons Director Carrie Frey, “The events chosen for the Creative Commons series must include an active component, one that requires participants to engage directly with the experience in some way.”

The series kicked off in October with The Human Library, in which participants shared their personal experience with prejudice to encourage social change. More recent events have included The American String Quartet with Tom Sleigh and Phil Klay, along with The Affrilachian Poetry Celebration and Workshop.

Frey hopes that the Creative Commons Series will help Centre community members challenge their personal beliefs as well as develop their creative potential.

“Moving outside of our comfort zone can often help us to think more creatively and to be more open to new ideas and experiences,” she said. “The Human Library has a goal of creating conversation around difficult topics.”

Centre students have enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about how creative mediums such as art and music can be used to relate personal observations to larger societal issues.

Speaking about the Affrilachian Poetry Celebration, Jake McGuirk ’19 says, “I especially enjoyed Bernard Clay’s poem that connected his childhood experience of domestic violence with police violence against black people. The idea of connecting an extremely personal experience so seamlessly to something that affects an entire population is really exciting to me.”

Zoe Zink ’19 adds, “The presenters’ poems filled me with an energy of hopefulness for the future and pride in literature as a medium for spreading stories of those who are often unheard.”

The celebration of creativity will continue April 23 with the Dia De San Jordi, a traditional Barcelona festival in which significant others gift one another books and roses. Centre community members who visit the Grace Doherty Library on this day will be given flowers and a poetry reading will be held on the library steps.

The Creative Commons series culminates on April 26 with a reading of Olio by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tyehimba Jess. The author uses poetry to explore the experiences of forgotten African-American musicians and artists during the transformative period between the Civil War and World War I.

by Carbery Campbell ’19
April 10, 2018

Header photo from left to right: Affrilachian poets Bernard Clay, Dorian Hairston and Danni Quintos.