The Iowa Idea: Over a Century of Creativity, Collaboration, Innovation and Persistence
My talk will be focused on The Iowa Idea – first conceived in the 1920s, at the University of Iowa. The then-revolutionary idea, was to bring practicing artists to campus to collaborate with scholars and students. This idea built a legacy that extends over 100 years, producing the first MFA program, The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Iowa’s International Writing Program, and Iowa City’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.
My talk will provide a brief history of The Iowa Idea and will examine what I’ve learned launching my podcast interviewing practitioners and craftspeople that represent a modern version of the Iowa Idea. More on the podcast at http://www.theiowaidea.com. My talk will highlight challenges faced to bring the then-revolutionary idea to life. From a legacy perspective, I will invite modern practitioners to examine modern approaches to the Iowa Idea. In a world of growing complexity, we need to embrace the spirit of the Iowa Idea. I will discuss how the themes that produced the original Iowa Idea are even more important today, as we face complex, wicked problems.
For context, the following is the description of the podcast:
Welcome to The Iowa Idea Podcast. Join host Matt Arnold for in-depth conversations with artists, designers, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders, as he explores how they approach their craft and represent a modern version of the Iowa Idea. The Iowa Idea was originally conceived at The University of Iowa by University President Walter Jessup and Graduate Dean Carl Seashore in the 1920s. The Iowa Idea brought together practicing artists and scholars to produce a new form of collaboration. The idea blossomed, bringing forth the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Master of Fine Arts degree, and Iowa City’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature. Nearly a century later, The Iowa Idea Podcast explores modern collaboration, craft, creativity, innovation, and persistence. This podcast tells the stories of Iowa natives, transplants, and friends who demonstrate The Iowa Idea in the 21st Century. The Iowa Idea Podcast is produced in Iowa City by Spark Consulting Group.