Sam Melser

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In order to best confront the challenges of the future, it is essential we create spaces and mindsets that enable and harness, creativity.

Art-based Mind Mapping is a participative artwork designed with the support of Hanne Birk (didactic expert) and Nilima Chowdhury (Organisational psychologist) from the University of St.Gallen, in Switzerland. 

It is a toolkit for the construction of a contemporary art wall installation and is the fruit of a Master's Level course in Contextual Studies that was taught in the Autumn semester 2022 at SQUARE - Becoming Culturally Aware: the arts and intercultural communication.

After deciding on a theme that the group feels strongly about (either work-related or not), we create an improvised drawing and brainstorm that is used as the starting point for the installation.  Building trust is a central aspect of any functioning group - we develop this using improvisation, dialogue, and collaboration whilst creating a collective artwork. Provided art materials for the workshop include visual narrative prompts or performance "props" including original artworks, painted pieces of canvas, laminated photographs, a soft toy, coloured pencils, string and scissors…These materials are then combined by each group to create a dynamic and interactive mind map. 

The workshop installation is facilitated by the artist and uses project-based learning and embodied cognition as methodological frameworks.

The activity ends with the group presenting the installation to a non-initiated public unfamiliar with the activity. In this way, it also consists of an exercise in developing communication skills.  

The below photographs, featuring Hanne Birk, were taken in SQUARE, University of St.Gallen, in Feb 2023.

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