Sheldon Museum | The Art of Perception

(lighthearted music) By training I’m an art historian and a lawyer. So I took the practical aspects of each of those disciplines to create the program. (lighthearted music) Because art it turns out is a wonderful vehicle. Everybody sees something. So it can be used in a really cross-disciplinary way to get many different individuals, in many different fields, to reconsider their observation, perception and communication. (lighthearted music) A lot of these students here are national security students, so they’re interested in working in the intelligence community or they’re interested in working for defense. The goal of the workshop today is to use the Sheldon Art Museum, which is a gem on this campus, to help people across disciplines, across majors and departments and academic disciplines to rethink their observation, perception and communication skills using art as the vehicle to reconsider their sense of critical inquiry. I love art, so I was very interested to see the intersection between art and analysis. I basically divided them into trios. Each trio got a work of art. They had to spend five minutes with it and decide what were their observations without reading the labels. Their observations, what did they see and then as a team of three had to describe the work of art to their colleagues. Everyone had to say something and it’s just testing their ability to look at brand new information and be able to talk about it. I’m naturally a more practical thinker and so I’m always looking for opportunities to sort of learn how to think more creatively. And I definitely think that’s something that can be learned. And so when she pointed out that you can see the ladder and the tank and you did it in context. You said there’s the ladder, there’s the tank and she led you to the figure of a firefighter. The most important thing is that we’re getting folks outside their comfort zone. And we’re getting them to think about things that they don’t have a lot of background in. So it forces them to sort of, from the very beginning, be honest with their observations and to think critically. Well, first of all I hope they’ll take away a renewed appreciation of the Sheldon Museum of Art because it’s such, I mean… It’s a world class collection, number one. And number two the idea of thinking outside of their box. Outside of their intelligence box or their art history box or their criminal justice and thinking about the benefits of multiple perspectives in their decision making. Because not only do they have to do that as students, but when they eventually go into the professional world they’re gonna be faced in our complex world with really complex decision making and I hope that art will give them a template to make better decisions. (lighthearted music)

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