By Dan Glenn November 8, 2017
What if scholarship could be viewed as a creative process? As a passion-fueled endeavor in the same realm as dance, music, or art? What if being a scholar or researcher doesn't have to be either completely dry and reproductive or overly subjective in a narcissistic way? When I first learned about Creative Inquiry, the approach to scholarship synthesized by Alfonso Montuori that is one of the core foundations of CIIS's Transformative Studies program, these questions startled and stirred me.
Not surprisingly, when it came time, midway through my first year in CIIS's Writing and Scholarship Fellows Program, to choose a topic to share with the wider community, Creative Inquiry was the first thing that came to my mind. However, as a distance learning student, I had to consider alternatives to physically facilitating a workshop at CIIS, which most of my Writing Fellow colleagues do. I thought about what would be the potentially most far-reaching medium through which I could share ideas. There was little doubt in my mind that the answer was a podcast.I have become an avid podcast listener over the past few years and have been struck by the power of the medium to share ideas widely. Particularly in our on-the-go culture, the ability to listen to a podcast on the bus or subway, in the car, while walking, or while at work, is a key factor in the modality's ability to reach people. Although I considered offering a video course series, I felt a podcast would be most likely to reach the most number of people-and that the conversation format would be conducive to discovery in a way that lectures are not.
Thus, the idea was born, and this fall, thanks to the assistance of former CWS fellow Shah Hussein, we launched Creative Inquiry: Scholarship for the 21st Century as a bi-weekly podcast. Each episode (after the first, which is a brief solo introductory episode), I interview a scholar, researcher, writer, professor, student, or activist who is approaching their work as Creative Inquiry. So far, the guests have all been CIIS students, but my intention is to expand beyond CIIS as well. The podcast is designed to ignite the fire of the curious and inspire creative, passionate scholarship.
Having listened to a lot of podcasts, I have always felt that the best interviewers strike a delicate balance between structure and improvisation, between form and free-flow. This is the approach I try to take as the host of Creative Inquiry; I want to have thoughtful questions prepared, but also to be flexible enough to spontaneously go where the conversation goes. That's where the creativity happens: having the openness, curiosity, and fluidity to move freely in the moment-to respond to what's actually happening.
The podcast can be found on Soundcloud, iTunes, or Stitcher. Enjoy and please help spread the word! Click below to start listening.
Dan Glenn is a Transformative Studies PhD student and a Writing Fellow in CIIS's Center for Writing and Scholarship. His research interests include Western esotericism and the occult, Tibetan Buddhism, depth psychology, creativity, imagination, and social change. Dan is currently based in Boston and has a background in organizational leadership and education.