Pondering Scenius and the Collective Inspiration

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My good friend, Michelle King, introduced this concept of “scenius” (from music producer Brian Eno) to a three day gathering of educators, park rangers and environmental educational partners that I was part of. We were all on Zoom, alas, but the facilitators were thoughtful in the ways they used the chat as a generative channel for feedback, support and questions to be generated throughout small group presentations and discussions. The chatter flowed.

When someone mentioned how powerful that chat-side sharing was, Michelle (who was joining in as a featured guest poet/educator/creativity instigator) shared Eno’s term of Scenius to mean that a collective working together within a common theme or “scene” has an elevated power to it. Genius might refer to a single person; Scenius refers to many people, together, in a single “scene” with shared passions.

It’s a term that has surfaced through others, too, such as Austin Kleone, who has done a deep dive into the idea. In an interview, Eno explained that he realized that what he had learned in art school about individual genius working solo was more likely the result of the cultural scene that created the possibility for an artist to flourish. It didn’t likely happen in isolation.

What really happened was that there was sometimes very fertile scenes involving lots and lots of people – some of them artists, some of them collectors, some of them curators, thinkers, theorists, people who were fashionable and knew what the hip things were – all sorts of people who created a kind of ecology of talent. And out of that ecology arose some wonderful work. — Brian Eno

I am thinking how this concept connects to Connected Learning and Affinity Groups and other concepts in which the larger energy of creativity sparks individuals to raise their game, take a chance, and find others for collaboration. For me, I think of CLMOOC, and DS106, and the National Writing Project, and the organization that was hosting the gathering, Parks in Every Classroom.

Also, of course, I wonder how this conceptual understanding of how we learn within given cultural moments might translate into how educators approach learners in schools.

scenius | THIN|SILENCE

Scenius. Interesting.

Peace (thinking it),
Kevin