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NEA Sponsors Lincoln Center Institute’s Imagination Conversations

NEA Sponsors “Imagination Conversations” Conducted by the Lincoln Center Institute

Imagination is crucial if America is to compete in the 21st-century global marketplace. Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education, with major support from the National Education Association, is fueling the development of imaginative thinking through the Imagination Conversations, a series of moderated public panels launched in 2009 and projected to take place in all 50 states. Each brings together leaders from an array of fields to discuss the impact of imagination on their education, and its present importance in their professional lives.

The Imagination Conversations:

  • Build national awareness of imagination as a key skill in work and in life.
  • Spark dialogue about imagination among policy makers, business leaders, educators, scientists, artists, and citizens.
  • Will culminate in an action plan to put imagination, creativity, and innovation at the center of American education.

Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education, established in 1975 and located in New York City, is the educational cornerstone of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. It is the leading organization in developing skills of observation, imagination, and creativity through guided encounters with the visual and performing arts. Over the past 35 years, Lincoln Center Institute has shared its unique method of education with more than 20 million students, teachers, college professors, and arts administrators representing public schools, arts organizations, and professional teaching colleges in New York City, across the nation, and around the world.

Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility, by Scott Noppe-Brandon, Lincoln Center Institute Executive Director, and Eric Liu, was written to transform the way people see—so that they can change the way they live. Imagination—the ability and willingness to conceive of new possibilities—is central to success in life.

The best companies know that innovative thinking is the only competitive advantage that can’t be outsourced. The best schools are those with deep cultures of creative problem-solving. But both innovation and creativity depend on there being imagination first. And fortunately, imagination is something that all people can cultivate—with practice.

Imagination First shows how. At the heart of Imagination First is a set of universal practices for opening minds at work, home, and play. These 28 (and a half) practices, with titles like Think Inside the Box, Break the Hand, and Routinize Randomness, are designed to enable anyone—from corporate executive to platoon sergeant or preschool teacher—to get unstuck, to reframe challenges, and to help others do the same.

At, you’ll find a community blog; resources for further study; a discussion guide; and an open-ended list of practices that starts with excerpts of the ones in the book but leaves room for your ideas.

About Online Courses

Lincoln Center Institute’s Online Courses, dedicated to inquiry, imagination, and arts and education are available to educators year-round. LCI’s educational approach is applicable across the curriculum and invaluable for all teachers. Online course participants address the importance of studying works of art; explore the Capacities for Imaginative Learning ( PDF, 72K, 1pg.); join the experiential workshop focused on Ghostcatching, a visual work of art created in digital format; and learn how to plan instructional units. Video case studies provide real-life explorations of issues in classroom settings.

Choose from a four-course series or choose Course 101: Survey of LCI Practice, which has a two-pronged goal: to whet the appetite of those who want to immerse themselves in education for imagination but don’t know what to expect, and to provide a thorough introduction to imaginative teaching and learning.

The four-part series provides an in-depth exploration of Ghostcatching, the Capacities for Imaginative Learning, LCI’s planning process for instructional units, and the method of guiding the students through their observations on the work of art under study. Find more information about the four-part series.

Register now.

About Lincoln Center Institute Consultancies

How can an immersion in Lincoln Center Institute’s approach to teaching and learning in the arts benefit your community? LCI’s experienced and efficient staff can help you implement and carry out a custom-designed professional development workshop or a series of workshops. Long-term models include customized school- or district-wide sessions modeled on our Summer Session introductory workshop. The Institute also designs semester and yearlong courses that focus on a variety of art forms and engage participants in an exploration of ways to integrate arts-and-education strategies into classroom practice.

Resources offered by LCI:

  • Direct access to LCI’s expert staff to co-plan and design a consultancy that aligns with your program goals
  • Access to LCI’s uniquely-trained teaching artists
  • Training in LCI’s teaching methodology
  • Curriculum materials

One- to multi-day immersions through an LCI consultancy include the experiential and contextual study of live works in the performing and visual arts, discussion, discovery, invention, and a dynamic balance between philosophy and practice; activity and reflection; theory and application. For more information contact: Cathryn Williams, Director of Strategic Alliances at 212.875.5560 or