TED Conversations

Simon Peter Debbarma

Student of History, Desire Machine Collective

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Why is art (or artistically creative fields) often not taken seriously?

My question is self-explanatory.

I live in India where the shortest path to success in life is getting a degree and a good job. Its basically the traditional way. Very few actually pursue something artistic. And very few parents actually encourage it.

I found that most parents don't want their children to take risks and enter the creative fields. Most want their kids to be engineers and doctors. Here in India, most kids either end up wanting to be an engineer or a doctor and many parents want just that. Maybe its the financial stress but there's no explanation for it.

The creativeness in kids is killed although some lucky ones have it until the end of their lives. This is also shared by Ken Robinson''s talk. Creativity is art and its sad to see art dying in the younger generations.

As you can see this is very prevalent in my country and other Asian countries. You can also figure out why we can be kind of over-achievers if we try hard. John Maeda's father as said in this TED talk says that his father told a certain shop owner that he was "good in math" while his teacher had said that John was good in "math and art". His father had left out art. I've been in similar situations too and its kind of sad to see that your talent is not uphold-ed or recognized by the ones you hoped would appreciate it. Maybe I was not good enough, but it didn't mean that I couldn't improve. Many go through this and I think coming up with a solution should be on our agenda.

What can you do to change this? Are you willing to change your society?
How can we keep children interested and their love for art burning through their school life?
Is this something only my generation will have to face? Do you think this will change in later generations?Will we be supportive of our children in what they are good at, and at not what you want them to be?

Topics: art creativity

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  • Aug 6 2013: Creative people are only taken seriously once they are successful... famous or rich or both. At school, creativity is only given credit if it adds to academic skill. Teachers are all academically minded, taught to control a class rather than inspire creativity. Ken Robinson tells it how it is and should be listened to.
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      Aug 13 2013: Ken Robinson is a charismatic speaker and he makes many valid points but he offers very little advice that is practical in his talk.

      It is the prevalent assessment systems that ruin education. They traditionally are unable to assess the arts and so the arts are sidelined because they are too inconvenient for the bureaucrats to get a handle on in their own speak.

      When it comes to the attitude that fame or riches denote success, then nobody is successful until they are rich or famous. What you are really talking about is the commercial side of 'creativity', in which case, it's not about creativity at all; it's about marketing of the (artistic) product.

      Schools and teachers are forced to work as people managers rather than teachers (in the true sense of the word) simply because of the way education systems operate.

      A lot of what Obi Wan KenRobinson touches on can be fostered by parents and students themselves. Because current education systems need to be able to measure "added value" creativity will never be seen as a substantial or robust part of mainstream education.

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