Our own Teaching, Learning, and Engagement Associate, Jennifer Alkzeweeny, maintains the wonderful blog “Lifting Bridges”. Read her post on Community-based Learning and Improvisation!
Not long ago, Portland State University had the pleasure of hosting a team of scholars from Japan’s Ryukoku University. We spent two days sharing community engagement stories from our respective universities, learning from each other, and forming a partnership. As we explored common references to describe community-based learning, we landed on the metaphor of jazz. The collaborative and improvisational nature of jazz resonated with the room. Shortly following that visit, I was fortunate to hear Portland-native and Jazz Musician, Esperanza Spalding, speak at Reed College. In a lecture titled, “Going Natural: Don’t Flat Iron Your Creativity,” Spalding explored questions about her creative process, authenticity in your work, and meaningful collaborations. These two events drew me in to exploration of jazz as a metaphor for community-based learning. (Appropriately, the coffee shop where I’m writing this post is playing jazz.)
When I think of jazz, one of the first words that comes…
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