Skip to main content

What's Happening Now

Creativity & Innovation is excited to announce Myra L. Jackson as our Mindfulness Resident January 15-March 16, 2021

MyraPhoto_CC

During her residency, Myra will offer a Dynamic Half-Block course, collaborate with faculty to conduct activities within classes, and offer workshops for staff, students, and faculty.

Biography: Electrical engineer, organizational development professional and founding member of the Gaiafield Project, Myra Jackson holds the title of diplomat of the biosphere awarded by Stockholm Resilience Centre. Her primary work is focused on climate change, the planetary commons, culture of peace initiatives, and public policy affecting the wellness of people and planet. Linking local and global policymaking, she is senior advisor, Whole Earth Civics, Geoversiv Foundation. In her role as, UN representative in New York and Geneva, Jackson serves as the focal point on climate change for the Commons Cluster of NGOs and expert on the UN Harmony with Nature Knowledge Network. She facilitated Oprah Winfrey's "Belief" series initiative as an official program of the United Nations hosted by the president of the 70th General Assembly in October 2015.

To introduce Myra to our community, Creativity & Innovation Paraprofessional SethWilson Gray interviewed her about her hopes and goals for her residency at Colorado College in 2021.

 

SethWilson Gray: Thank you so much for joining me today. I would like to start with hearing a little bit more about yourself, your personal and professional experience and how it's brought you to today.

Myra Jackson: So, you know, I've had a few trips around the sun and it's really important to preface this by saying that I've really learned how to listen very well to what was mine to do. And once I learned how to listen to what was mine to do, and to locate where my curiosity was rising, it uncovered an important aspect of who I am. And I have to say, while I found that early, I had to recover it after going through a whole process of education and becoming an engineer, which I spent some time doing. I have loved everything that I've tackled. I've worked in the real estate industry; that was the family business, and that business had a lot to do with land and development. And I love land! I liked looking at blueprints. I was geeky, anyway, as a kid. I studied honors physics in high school in a preparatory setting, and I was really big into music, too. My classical ear was very strong. While I loved sitting around Balboa Park in San Diego, singing bluegrass and Motown, I was also singing light opera all the time, and performing Edwardian Madrigals in costume. So, I mean, I had this wide range of exposure, but all that was just following the natural wonder and awe that was with me, all the time. Piano, violin - all those things. You know, it can't be better when you're a kid than to be able to follow all those things you're curious about.

This Mindfulness Residency with Creativity & Innovation, I mean, could this have been a more perfect opportunity? I've been coming to Colorado College and teaching sustainability - who would've thought though that I would have a chance to come back to Colorado College as resident, to just be Myra.

There is no credential for being who you are. There is no more important time than now to be able to walk in the world whole, and be who you are. There is no more important time than now to show up and be present in a time when we're seeing disruption of systems, just disruption all around us. It's a time where creativity matters the most. I think that's the opportunity I'm being given here at Colorado College in blocks 5 and 6, and I'm so excited about that because, I mean, that's where I can show up, full-on! I don't have to leave any part of myself outside the door - or maybe I do, but we'll see, you know.

 

SethWilson: Can you tell us a little bit about the Dynamic Half-Block workshop that you'll be teaching at CC in January?

Myra: Yeah, well, that gets into what I've also discovered, which is that we're wired to be living through this time. I want get into that idea in the Half-Block workshop: that the innate part of our human experience can be turned on, we can access that part of ourselves to get us through these times. We're on a changing planet, and there's a lot of what we have intrinsically loaded within us that we can actually work with to help us move through this time in a way that makes sense, a way that we can catch our breath, and slow down time. Most of all, I want to help students learn something from this time that they can utilize for their entire lifetimes. So that's what I want to be about during that Half Block. And it's going be fun, because we're going to partner with nature. And to partner with nature is to find our own connection to nature.

I think that nature is where we're the most resilient, and where we're the strongest. It is where we can breathe more deeply - we need to breathe more deeply! We need to find the ways in which we can show up as more human than ever. So, I love playing in that sandbox, and I have lots of tools and I'm going to trot them out during the Half-Block, because if I had my tools earlier in life, that would have been better. So I want to impart those and share those tools with students now. Every time I do this, I learn, I pick up new skills from others. So it's a two-way street.

SethWilson: And what are some of your hopes and dreams for this Half-Block in terms of what the students will take with them afterwards?

 

Myra: I hope that they will have discovered a way to slow down their experiences, to catch their breath, and to tap into something that lives in them deeply, something that serves as a resource for their learning and for their explorations in life. Something that allows them to use their sentient intelligence to build community and to be friends with one another - because it's the friendships between us, and our ability to create community, that is really the accelerator for anything that we're about right now.

The other thing that comes out of the workshop is a way to access that power that lies within us to really dial in and focus. It's a natural bio-hack, if you will, to tap into our own innate sensorium of capacities, then to apply those capacities to the life we're living, or focus them toward an endeavor that we have, or toward a project, or even toward our studies. We can use our power everywhere.

SethWilson: What are some of your plans for your Block 5 and 6 residency? What are some of the energies that you're going to be bringing to campus and to the students here?

 

Myra: One of the biggest challenges we have is like: how do we create connections if all of our learning is online. That is clearly a whole new challenge. Because so much of what I do really is tied to making the connections to nature, we have to figure out how to work with nature through this virtual medium. I think that this challenge is sparking my own creativity in a very interesting way. So, I've already been playing and dreaming with that and all, and I'm getting a lot out of it from doing it. I also hope that I'll be able to visit many, many classrooms, and drop in, and who knows how those opportunities are going to open up.

Going into classes will depend on collaborations with faculty, but I hope to offer an array of exciting one-hour workshops or seminars that can easily come into a science class or an anthropology class, you name it. I hope these experiences will contribute to the learning experience for students, because so often when we are moving so fast to produce during a block, as you know, it's nice to find a way to break up that energy so that everyone can catch their breath and grab onto some tools that will help them complete projects. So, I hope I can infuse that kind of opening into classes, help create that place where we can rise up and see the bigger picture and work creatively toward our learning experiences. I want to bring those experiences into classrooms, where students and faculty will gather. So I want to bring an infusion of energy, so we can see the opportunities that are before us more clearly.

Students are encouraged to register for Myra's Dynamic Half-Block workshop:
Innate Mindfulness: Exploring our Inner Ecology for Thriving on a Changing Planet
January 18-22, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. MT each day
For more information about the class and to register, visit https://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/careercenter/our-programs/non-credit-half-block.html

Welcoming Felicia Chavez - Bronfman Creativity & Innovation Scholar in Residence

Creativity & Innovation is excited to announce the appointment of Felicia Rose Chavez as our Inaugural Bronfman Creativity & Innovation Scholar-in-Residence.

"We are thrilled to welcome Felicia as our first Bronfman Creativity & Innovation Scholar-in-Residence. As an educator, creative practitioner, and scholar, Felicia embodies the program's goals to nurture students' creative capacities and to support the College's ongoing anti-racist work. In this new role, Felicia's work has the potential to benefit our entire CC community. " Dez Stone Menendez, Director of Creativity & Innovation

This new, three-year Residency will allow Creativity & Innovation to expand our service to the College by hosting longer-term Residents from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds to share their creative practices, scholarship, and innovative ideas with our community. Working in collaboration with CC faculty members in all divisions and the Creativity & Innovation team, the Scholar-in-Residence will develop and implement curricular elements that help build students' creative capacities, teach block courses that engage aspects of creativity theory and practice, host workshops for faculty, develop and disseminate scholarship within their field, and engage audiences within and beyond Colorado College to invite collaboration and expand possibilities for creativity pedagogies across disciplines.

BluegrassBebe-9383Felicia Rose Chavez is an award-winning educator with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Iowa. She is the author of The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom and co-editor of The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT with Willie Perdomo and José Olivarez. A familiar face here at Colorado College, Felicia taught courses in English, Film and Media Studies, and the Colket Center for Academic Excellence from 2012-2018.

Formerly, Felicia served as Program Director to Young Chicago Authors and founded GirlSpeak, a literary webzine for high school students. She went on to teach writing at the University of New Mexico, where she was distinguished as the Most Innovative Instructor of the Year, the University of Iowa, where she was distinguished as the Outstanding Instructor of the Year, and Colorado College, where she received the Theodore Roosevelt Collins Outstanding Faculty Award. Her creative scholarship earned her a Ronald E. McNair Fellowship, a University of Iowa Graduate Dean's Fellowship, a Riley Scholar Fellowship, and a Hadley Creatives Fellowship. Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Felicia has returned to Colorado Springs to serve as the inaugural XX Creativity and Innovation Scholar-in-Residence at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. Find her at www.feliciarosechavez.com.

In her role as Bronfman Scholar-in-Residence, Felicia will assist the Creativity & Innovation team to develop and support creativity pedagogies across campus and host faculty workshops. In addition, Felica will teach selected creativity-related block courses, beginning with Creative Non-Fiction in Block 2, thus reviving one of several popular courses that she taught at Colorado College as a Riley Scholar Fellow. Other courses include: Podcasting; The Inspiration Lab; Audio Essay; Audio Documentary; and Thesis Boot Camp. An award-winning teacher, Felicia possesses a special gift for helping students to connect with each other, with community, and to their own internal creative capacities. As former student recounts, "She encouraged a present-ness in each of us, not only as classmates, but also as human beings, as fellow artists. She strives to build and foster an environment of encouragement, one in which the heart is relaxed and the mind is at ease, a room of trust, an atmosphere of relationship. Her direct connection and respect for each of us paved the way for confident experimentation in our works. She is a genuine artist concerned with the growth and maturation of her students. I am extremely thankful to have been taught by her."

As Bronfman Scholar-in-Residence, Felicia will also continue developing and sharing her creative practices, as well as her scholarly research. Felicia's book The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom (Haymarket Books, January 2021) is a call to create healthy, sustainable, and empowering classroom communities. The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop invites educators to liberate their thinking from "the way it's always been done," and specifically addresses how to:

  • Deconstruct our biases to achieve a cultural shift in perspective.
  • Design a democratic teaching model to create safe spaces for creative concentration.
  • Recruit, nourish, and fortify students of color to best empower them to exercise voice.
  • Embolden our students to self-advocate as responsible citizens in a globalized community.

In The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop, Felicia exposes the invisible politics of power and privilege that have silenced writers of color for far too long, and presents a teaching model that protects and platforms students of color, because every writer deserves access to a public voice. It's more urgent than ever that we consciously work against traditions of dominance in the classroom, but what specific actions can we take to achieve authentically inclusive communities?Described as a captivating mix of memoir and progressive teaching strategies, the book demonstrates how to be culturally attuned, twenty-first century educators.

Last updated: 01/04/2021