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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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Introduction

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by Bandy Lee

Making Sense began as a movement in 2009 to bridge the gap between theory and practice, noting that many problems of contemporary inquiry stemmed from this gap. With the ever-growing specialization of all fields, for instance, it will hardly escape notice that we have ceased to talk to one another. Regardless of field, from the art world to healthcare delivery, there is a growing need for practically useful theory and theoretically informed practice—or, more accurately, practice as theory-development and theory as practical-motor—in other words, for the “camps” to come together. 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, and the Making Sense series strives to bring its small contribution to this conversation.

Our response has taken the form of an annual colloquium series, through which we have encouraged bringing our whole selves, our good “sense” as well as our “senses”, to engage one another in a search of unity over division, and of solutions to problems over habits of thought. In 2011, this came in the shape of a collaboration with Yale’s Muriel Gardiner Program for Psychoanalysis and the Humanities and Yale’s Program for Humanities in Medicine. While the Gardiner Program began in the 1970’s and serves as a gathering of scholars and practitioners dedicated to exploring the ways psychoanalysis and the humanities can illuminate each other, the Humanities in Medicine began...

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