In the words of the late Sir Ken Robinson, creativity is the ability to come up with new ideas that have value. Whether painting a picture, writing a book, building a fort, or performing a dance, creativity can manifest in diverse ways.
While each student has in-born gifts, these can be improved upon by careful cultivation through careful exposure to appropriate stimuli.
At the Thirdofeight Institute for Creativity, we see creativity itself as fundamentally story making. We train students to use the lens of story in divining and developing their unique and original ideas. Narrative provides an intuitive and relatable framework within which they can thrive.
An individual's experiences are always reflected in the stories he tells in one way or another, and no two stories are the same. We help students find their own identity and creative voice in a supportive and inspiring environment of truth and light.
Upon enrollment, a personal mentor works with each student. As the student engages with him or her, this personal life coach of sorts is intended to be a student's first line of defense, information, and access to the resources of the institute. The mentor has the privilege of assessing and assisting the student in catering the curriculum to his or her needs, and to take an active role in facilitating and monitoring as it begin to play out in the life of the student.
As the achievements and needs of the student change and develop, the number and role of mentors in a student's life can multiply or shrink. It will be a function of the needs and desires of both the student and the mentors involved. As students proceed with the curriculum, the students will become more and more integrated into the community, and thereby given access to all the resources and opportunities available that are needed to help them succeed with their goals.
In the beginning, each student is sorted into one of three groups. This is distinguished by an assessment of the student's strongest personal story making inclinations. Students are by no means limited by this organization, rather it's a way to hasten participation and success by beginning with what they are best at or most inclined to pursue.
Students will be put into one of three groups: performance artists, crafts people, or world builders.
Performing artists tend to be occupied with the internal feeling or expression of the immediacy of the moment. Dancers, actors, and musicians fall into this category. These story makers are drawn to express their creativity through the feeling within the moment. They often rely on live audiences and incorporate their bodies in the expression of the feelings they seek to convey.
Crafts people, tend to be preoccupied with the externalization and contextualization of the story into objects and environments. These are usually expressed outside and beyond the body. Set design, costume creation, wood working, handicrafts, and prop creation fall in this category.
Authors, directors, and dungeon masters fall within a category of creativity that encompasses performing artists and craftsmen, but also incorporates a broader scope of a larger narrative. Rather than preoccupying oneself with the nitty gritty, these kinds of creators are primarily drawn to the widest and grandest scope and scale of story. They deal with themes and overarching messages, and traffic in laws and principles of the world. Running a collaborative story campaign, writing a novel, or producing and/or directing a movie would each be included in this category.
Once a mentor determines a student's chosen or dominant medium of story creation, the student is invited to enroll in one of our exploratory classes. Each class is designed to explore and expand the student's existing capacities, and to provide them with knowledge of other similar mediums that they might be good at, but due to ignorance or lack of experience have never had the chance to explore.
Once a student gets perspective on the types of forms his stories take and determines where he'd like to begin to invest his time, the mentor will help the student connect to a specialist in that field.
We offer a variety of specialized skills and story-oriented trainings listed here.
These hands-on classes can last anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours in length, and generally happen once a week. Length and frequency depend largely on the subject, the number of students attending per class, and the current level of expertise of current participants.
Field trips and other applied learning experiences are an integral part of learning to tell good stories, and we incorporate them often.
On certain occasions, special experiences, skills, and/or tools may require costs in addition to the price of general enrollment. Specialized shoes, clothing, musical instruments, uncommon construction materials, and ticketed access are some examples of these extra financial requirements. In this event, costs will be made clear to parents and students before students engage in the particular activity.
PRINCIPLES AND PATTERNS DISCUSSIONS
Each Wednesday we devote one meeting a week for an hour and a half to discuss the foundational principles of the nature of the world. These are the principles which define us and govern all processes. They are the principles upon which all instruction is based. A deeper understanding of these principles will assist students in comprehending and gaining competence in their objectives.
These virtual classes are more like open discussions where students can learn at their own speed from a mentor who adapts the ideas to the level of understanding of the group. These principles are listed and explained in detail, and can be read and studied ahead of time in our manual, which can be downloaded here.
Once a week we hold informal video conference calls for each specific area of study and preoccupation. They are typically on Sundays, and are made up of both students and mentors. Students are encouraged to participate, both as listeners and contributors.
Meetings usually begin with introductions, then we invite questions. Individuals might share what they are currently working on, discuss any unique needs we might be seeking help with, as well as share stories and talk about the various relevant principles that are helping us succeed.