Monday, September 25, 2017

Spotlight on CEE Presenter: Tamara Doleman

Head of the Visual Art department at Ashbury College/CPS Facilitator

CEE Topic: The importance of keeping creativity alive in the classroom to ensure students feel free to explore and expand their own creativity on a personal level.

Interview conducted by Shalisa Crews

Q: At what point did you realize creativity studies was what you wanted to study?

A: I have been waiting my entire life to study this topic! Ten to fifteen years ago I did not know it even existed. I was interested in studying creativity from a neuroscience perspective and went to a brain conference to learn more about it, and fell in love with what the speakers presented to us.

Q: What inspired you to keep going?

A: I have always used art as a form to express myself, and just simply cope with everyday life and challenges. Creativity really saved my life, and I want to pass it along to as many kids as I possibly can.

Q: How do you follow the structured education system while keeping creativity alive with your students at the same time?

A: Communication, and being honest with them about who I am. I share my strengths and vulnerabilities so they recognize that we continue to grow ourselves in our adult years. I believe creativity is all about having confidence so building an atmosphere of trust is really important. I model the vulnerability we experience through the process. I keep creativity relevant by allowing students to feel free to express themselves without feeling judged.  

Q: What characteristics do you have about yourself that you feel brings out the confidence in your students?

A: I want to know about each one of them. I show them I am curious about what matters to them without judging them. I want my inner passion to rub off on them, and I want them to know that they are an important part of my space in my life.

Q: Typically, artists are considered creative individuals. In what other ways do you show your students creativity revolves around so much more? In other words, how do keep their creativity alive in other ways?

A: I reassure them that first and foremost, we are all creative people. You can turn it off and on whenever you are ready. I also hare that not all art is creative. Creativity is about expanding your thoughts, exploring, inventing new things and new possibilities. By doing this, we discover areas we can develop, and grow within ourselves.

Q: What motivated you to teach and work with students?

A: I was always interested in becoming an art therapist. What I do now still allows me to offer students the chance to express themselves, which brings out self-awareness. I allow my students to look at their products and search for hints at what is going on in their thoughts, which also allows self-reflection and understanding.

Q: How did you approach taking charge of your own life while facing and dealing with obstacles and challenges? How did you overcome it?

A: Never allowing myself to get comfortable. The process of life itself goes back and forth just like creativity. There will always be good days and bad days, parts we look forward to and parts that are difficult. I emphasize not pushing too hard to make things happen. Let things figure themselves out without mentally fighting yourself. Remember nothing is meant to be easy. Just go into your space, because it is a nice place to be. The world is greedy for the almighty dollar and greediness to me is so unethical. We must keep self-awareness alive so we can celebrate, and inspire each other about the things that matter.

Q: What do you feel we can do as a society to ensure creativity is never lost or fades away?

A: This is a call to action in so many ways. We all can make our mark, and make a difference in the lives of others. For instance, We should just love, accept, and appreciate each other’s individuality and allow each of us to explore our uniqueness through our creativity.

Q: What are a few ways to network in the creativity studies field?

A: ICSC awareness and engaging in social media: engage, respond, attend, and connect with others. We have an amazing community, join and put yourself and your voice out there! I have connected with people online whom I have yet to meet in person but have been able to set up great projects and develop great ideas.

Q: What ignites your motivation to stay involved and interested in Creativity?

A: I value my own creativity, and the creativity of others. Creativity can heal, it can solve problems, it is a celebration of all that is best about us. I feel that using it holds the answer to our problems in both small and big ways.

Q: If there were a few things you could say to current Creative Studies students to encourage us as we move along in the program what would you say?

A: Get out there! It is okay to be nervous and afraid, because fear is good. You are not going to grow until you change scenarios and confront yourself with new things. Get your senses to experience new stimuli. Let things happen. Sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t. Never doubt or spoil your own magic!

Shalisa Crews is currently enrolled in the Creative Studies program at Buffalo State College. She has dedicated herself to the youth in the inner-city school districts in a few different states for the last fifteen years. She has a passion for helping students grow and reach their greatest potential. In her leisure time, she writes poetry, and loves to travel!

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