Mike Blackmore on Art’s Role in STEM, Confidence, Feedback, and Collaboration


It does behoove the creatively minded to acknowledge the significance of a STEM curriculum – If they fail to do so, they will struggle as entrepreneurs, artist, and creative professionals.  I will return t522337_10151213599163758_1892424262_no school for more training particularly to acquire more skills in technology and mathematics for the purpose of executing tasks in finance and management.  However, working in circus, in addition to experience accrued from having studied and worked in other arts genres, has developed a strong and broad base that will serve me well once I continue my education and progress in my career.


To highlight specific skills from the top ten list that resonate…


Confidence – It takes confidence to pack up and join the circus in the early stages of one’s career.  It is a bold step in an unexpected direction and not many of my peers are able to say they took a similar gamble.  I am not deterred from working in seemingly strange industries, taking unusual positions, or managing overlapping or disparate tasks.


Receiving (or Giving) Constructive Feedback – One of our performers was preparing for an audition with Cirque due Soleil.  I have no training in nor have I studied the style of art and movement that is the expertise of this performer.  However, I am strong with the language of aesthetics and I am able to describe things of which I have no expertise.  One is able to recognize art, beauty, and tasteful things without refined training IMG_2174– it is a philosophical intuition.  Even if the language used to describe performance is broad and unspecified, it is still aesthetic language and a way to creatively communicate feedback.  To describe body gesture as sensual, photogenic, or musical is a way for a performer to creatively reflect on their performance and, by being exposed to unexpected language, make nonlinear associations that can enhance their performance.

Collaboration – During any given performance there is the obvious idea of collaboratIMG_2192ion among performers.  However, there is another type of collaboration that is relevant to our current cultural debate about the worth of arts vs. STEM.  Art is what brings performers and administration to work for the circus, but our current work environment requires an ability to be fluid with skills; STEM skills are part of that necessary set.  It is important to know how to engineer sound and lighting and use media technology to capture the moment.  Artists, in addition to performing, are executing these tasks.  ‘Arts vs. STEM’ loses strength as a conflict of opposites.  Art and STEM coalesce into STEAM thus making the whole greater than its constituent parts.


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