Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ruth Farmer: Engaged Education

Ruth Farmer, IMA Interim Director, has a long background in education. As she writes of her background in her Goddard profile: "My activism took root in North Carolina during the turbulent, liminal 50’s and 60’s. Fighting for social change and seeing it come into fruition – of a sort – gave me hope as well as faith. I have always lived in the borderland between pragmatism and idealism because I know that hearts and laws change at vastly different rates. This border existence is a place of learning. I live with the past and in the present, while envisioning and preparing for the future. I’ve marched, boycotted, written letters, organized conferences, donated money, and amassed thousands of volunteer hours. In these small ways, I help to improve others’ lives. In these small ways, I help myself to become a better person. I learn about the things that make this planet a more humane place." Listen to a podcast of Ruth talking about how innovative and meaningful education unfolds in Goddard's IMA Program.

Two photos of Ruth: Bottom one is Ruth being introduced by now-alumni Cynthia Curley while being applauded by IMA faculty member Ralph Lutts

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ann Armbrecht: Thin Places and the Pilgrimage Home

Ann Ambrecht, IMA faculty member, writer and filmmaker, looks at the places -- thick or thin -- between cultures, and between humans and the earth. In her memoir, Thin Places: A Pilgrimage Home, she writes about how studying the Yamphu Rai people in northeastern Nepal changed her view, and showed her more about the deep wisdom about living on the earth. Her film, "Numan: The Wisdom of Plants," looks at the healing powers of plants and the natural world. Ann talks about writing and teaching, and how both show her how we can open ourselves up to the possibilities for real change and deep understandings in the world. Terry Tempest Williams, author of Finding Beauty in a Broken World, writes, "Ann Armbrecht has written an intricate, smart, soulful story about the shape-shifting boundaries bewtwen culture and landscape; people and place....It is a brave rendering of what happens when we allow our intellect to bow to our instincts and recognize love for what it is: a transformative pilgrimage requiring great courage and generosity of spirit, including forgiveness."