Coming soon to a School near you
(sign up here, if you are a teacher or know a teacher interested in teaching Consenses to your community, to be notified when it becomes available)
Consenses has developed a unique, multidisciplinary arts curriculum for the classroom setting in which students collaborate to create “Consenses Interpretive Chains.” Each week, students focus on a different medium (photography, music, dance, sculpture, poetry, painting) and use one another’s art from the previous week, as a catalyst for their own creations. In this 10-class course, students are given the tools and confidence they need to extract the essence of a piece of art and express their own interpretation of it in a new way.
Ultimately these multisensory “Interpretive Chains” (which show the transformation of a photo into a song into a dance into a sculpture into a poem into a painting) nurture a different understanding about how the world becomes. Just as the essence of each piece of art passes through the consciousness of multiple students to form a “Consenses Interpretive Chain,” so too does the essence of truth strain itself through each of our collective consciousness to form our reality. In Consenses’ Curriculum, students learn tolerance and empathy through “listening” to others, not through words, but through various art forms.
Consenses has conducted successful pilot applications of its Interpretive Chain curriculum in fourteen different schools and thirty-four classrooms in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Feedback from educators who collaborated on these pilots testify to the SEL impact. By enabling communication through a medium other than language, Consenses is highly effective at spreading the message that everyone’s perspective is equal and valid, helping people to appreciate in new ways both the limitations and the unique value of their own perspectives.
This exciting curriculum will be available globally Fall 2018. Please sign up here if you are a teacher or know a teacher who would be interested in teaching this course in your community.
The Elephant & The Blind Men
The curriculum was inspired by a fable.
An Indian fable describes six blind men who happen upon an elephant standing in the middle of a dusty road. Each man explores a separate section of the animal’s body and independently concludes what the object must be: the first man, holding the elephant’s tail, determines the elephant is a rope; the second man, exploring a leg, decides the elephant must be a tree; the third man, examining an ear, insists the elephant is a fan. The discourse grows contentious as each man grows increasingly righteous of his own perception. It is only when a king appears and suggests the men stop fighting and listen to one another that the elephant’s larger identity emerges.
This fable exposes the dilemma of our individuated human experience. Like the bind men, we are all culprits of the same illusion. Namely, that the tiny section of life we each have the privilege of exploring (via the tools of our five senses) gives us an overarching Truth about the whole.
With the moral of this fable in mind, Sally Taylor set out to create her own elephant for interpretation by “blind men” (artists, in this case) from around the world. Consenses believes more can be revealed by working together than arguing the righteousness of our individual perspectives. It is through collaboration that a greater Truth might be revealed.
The world is fragmented and divided. It is often difficult for people to consider, relate to or appreciate the perspectives of others. There is a large body of evidence that supports the need for social-emotional learning (SEL) in childhood to develop healthy, productive adults and combat these societal ills. Schools and teachers in the United States are therefore under increasing pressure to incorporate SEL across subjects, but they often lack expertise or knowledge of high quality methods.
Founded by artist and performer Sally Taylor in 2012, Consenses is an organization based on the innovative concept of an “Interpretive Chain.” It is like an artistic game of telephone: A photographer takes a photograph; then a musician creates a song interpreting that photograph; then a dancer makes a dance interpreting that song; and so on, until all five senses are represented. Consenses has engaged over 175 artists around the world to create and exhibit Interpretive Chains in a variety of settings.
For more information please watch our TED Talk http://consenses.org/about/watch-ted-talk/