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Making Sense

Beauty, Creativity, and Healing

Edited By Bandy Lee, Nancy Olson and Thomas Duffy

Regardless of field, from the art world to healthcare delivery, there is a growing need for practically useful theory and theoretically informed practice. The time is ripe for a collaborative, creative conversation among thinkers and doers who are concerned about the larger world and our role in it. Making Sense: Beauty, Creativity, and Healing is a collection of essays and creative expressions written and produced in relation to a colloquium that tried to address these matters at the Whitney Humanities Center of Yale University. Beginning with a powerful essay on the individually and globally therapeutic qualities of art and beauty by Elaine Scarry of Harvard University, this volume brings together a diversity of theoretically minded scholars, scientists, artists, and healers. In the form of critical and reflective essays, alongside images, poetry, and fiction, this book allows the reader to experience the bursts of ideas and sensory triggers that respond to and extend the artistic installations and performances of the colloquium – and welcomes the reader into the conversation.
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Thoughts on the Colloquium on Beauty


by Kate St. Amand

Emerson once said:

“Never lose an opportunity to see anything that is beautiful. It is God’s handwriting—a wayside sacrament.”

The Colloquium on beauty at Yale University was a profound place for me as a choreographer. My company and I were still in the beginning stages of our newest work and I knew that taking part in this event would both raise questions in myself and provide complex thoughts and ideas to use in creating the new piece. The crisp November Saturday in Connecticut did much more than that. What I walked away with that day was a feeling; a mission. I listened acutely to everything that was said. I marveled at the scholars and admired the intricate work of fine artists. I absorbed the day completely and I began to see something totally different in the piece I was making. Something shifted in my perception of not only the piece, but the dancers—fellow human beings—with whom I was making it. What was once “about beauty” was now about something much more.

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