B.F. Skinner Demonstrates His “Teaching Machine,” the 1950s Automated Learning Device

The name B.F. Skinner often provokes darkly humorous references to such bizarre ideas as “Skinner boxes,” which put babies in cage-like cribs, and put the cribs in windows as if they were air-conditioners, leaving the poor infants to raise themselves. Skinner was hardly alone in conducting experiments that flouted, if not flagrantly ignored, the ethical concerns now central to experimentation on humans. The code of conduct on torture and abuse that ostensibly governs members of the American Psychological Association did not exist. Radical behaviorists like Skinner were redefining the field. His work has come to stand for some of its worst abuses.

But Skinner has been mischaracterized in the popularization of his ideas — a popularization, it’s true, in which he enthusiastically took part. The actual “Skinner box” was cruel enough — an electrified cage for animal experimentation — but it was not the infant window box that often goes by the name. This was, instead, called an “aircrib” or “baby-tender,” and it was loaded with creature comforts like climate control and a complement of toys. “In our compartment,” Skinner wrote in a 1945 Ladies Home Journal article, “the waking hours are invariably active and happy ones.” Describing his first test subject, his own child, he wrote, “our baby acquitted an amusing, almost apelike skill in the use of her feet.”




Skinner was not a soulless monster who put babies in cages, but he also did not understand mammalian babies’ need for physical touch. Likewise, when it came to education, Skinner had ideas that can seem contrary to what we know works best, namely a variety of methods that honor different learning styles and abilities. Educators in the 1950s embraced far more regimented practices, and Skinner believed humans could be trained just like other animals. He treated an early experiment in classroom technology just like an experiment teaching pigeons to play ping-pong. It was, in fact, “the foundation for his education technology,” says education journalist Audrey Watters, “that we’ll build machines and they’ll give students — just like pigeons — positive reinforcement and students — just like pigeons — will learn new skills.”

To this end, Skinner created what he called the Teaching Machine in 1954 while he taught psychology at Harvard. He was hardly the first to design such a device, but he was the first to invent a machine based on behaviorist principles, as Abhishek Solanki explains in a Medium article:

The teaching machine was composed of mainly a program, which was a system of combined teaching and test items that carried the student gradually through the material to be learned. The “machine” was composed of a fill-in-the-blank method on either a workbook or on a computer. If the student was correct, he/she got reinforcement and moved on to the next question. If the answer was incorrect, the student studied the correct answer to increasing the chances of getting reinforced next time.

Consisting of a wooden box, a metal lid with cutouts, and various paper discs with questions and answers written on them, the machine did adjust for different students’ needs, in a way. Skinner “noted that the learning process should be divided into a large number of very small steps and reinforcement must be dependent upon the completion of each step. He believed this was the best possible arrangement for learning because it took into account the rate of learning for each individual student.” He was again inspired by his own children, coming up with the machine after visiting his daughter’s school and deciding he could improve on things.

The method and means of learning, as you’ll see in the demonstration films above, were not individualized. “There was very, very little freedom in Skinner’s vision,” says Watters. “Indeed Skinner wrote a very well-known book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity in the early 1970s, in which he said freedom doesn’t exist.” While Skinner’s machine didn’t itself become widely used, his ideas about education, and education technology, are still very much with us. We see Skinner’s machine “taking new forms with adaptive teaching and e-learning,” writes Solanki.

And we see the darker side of his design in classroom technology, says Watters, in an industry that profits from alienating, one-size-fits all ed-tech solutions. But she also sees “students who are resisting and communities who are building practices that serve their needs rather than serving the needs of engineers.” Skinner’s theories of conditioning were and are incredibly persuasive, but his reductive views of human nature seem to leave out more than they explain. Learn more about the history of teaching machines in Watters’ new book, Teaching Machines: The History of Personalized Learning.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

British Actor Bob Hoskins Helped Thousands Learn to Read in On the Move, a 1970s “Sesame Street for Adults”

British character actor Bob Hoskins has been remembered for “playing Americans better than Americans,” as USA Today wrote when Hoskins passed away in 2014. Characters like Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’s Eddie Valiant, Nixon’s J. Edgar Hoover, and The Cotton Club’s Owney Madden stand out as some of his best performances in Hollywood. But he began his career in British film and television, playing cops and gangsters. Helen Mirren, who starred opposite him in his first major role, The Long Good Friday, and onstage in The Duchess of Malfi, penned a glowing tribute for The Guardian. “London,” she wrote, “will miss one of her best and most loving sons, and Britain will miss a man to be proud of.”

Mirren’s sentiments were echoed by British actors everywhere. Shane Meadows called him “the most generous actor I have ever worked with.” Stephen Woolley described Hoskins as a working-class hero. “With his talent, Bob gatecrashed the world of celebrity, and made all of us ordinary people feel a little better about ourselves.” It was a role he was seemingly born to play, despite his range. Hoskins was “a great actor,” writes Woolley, “yet unlike many actors he was first and foremost a courteous, sweet and caring human being. He could make monsters human and wring a smile out of any situation without a whisker of embarrassment.”




Those are the very qualities that endeared viewers to Hoskins’ first breakout character, Alf Hunt, a furniture removal man who struggled with reading and writing in On the Move, a kind of “Sesame Street for adults” that ran in 1976 on the BBC. The 10-minute shorts ran on Sunday afternoons “as part of the BBC’s adult education remit,” Mark Lawson writes at The Guardian. Hoskins’ performance brought to life for viewers “a proud man who has desperately disguised his learning difficulties.” It met a serious need among the nation’s populace.

“The show attracted 17 million viewers a week, (way beyond the size of its target audience),” notes a MetaFilter user. On the Move “helped make Hoskins famous. It was also responsible for persuading 70,000 people to sign up for adult literacy programmes.” Hoskins treasured the letters he received from viewers who decided to change their lives after seeing the show. They may well have done so because he gave his all to the character, as Lawson writes:

Handed a working-class stereotype (not for the last time in his career), Hoskins gave Alf a vulnerability and poignancy far beyond the requirements of a public information short. Apart from its intended audience of adults struggling with reading and writing, On the Move gained a large secondary following among literate viewers because, even then, Hoskins’ expressive face and growly voice made you want to watch and listen.

In each episode, Alf revealed his struggles to his friend Bert, played by Donald Gee. The show also featured inspiring interviews with adults who had taken adult literacy classes and appearances by special guest stars like Patricia Hayes and Martin Shaw (who both appear in the episode at the top). While other famous actors may disown early television work, Hoskins never did. On the Move “shared the qualities of his best stuff. Whereas most footage in Before They Were Famous type shows is calculated to be bathetic or embarrassing,” Hoskins’ earliest work does quite the opposite, explaining why he “went on to become the star he did.”

On the Move may also have earned Hoskins another title, one he might have cherished as much as any acting plaudit. George Auckland, who later directed the BBC’s adult education program, called him “the best educator Britain has produced” because of his wide reach among adults struggling with literacy in 1970s Britain. See an episode of On the Move at the top of the post and hear what commenters call “the catchiest theme song ever” just above.

via Metafilter

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

A 4,000-Year-Old Student ‘Writing Board’ from Ancient Egypt (with Teacher’s Corrections in Red)


Americans raised on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books tend to associate slates with one room schoolhouses and rote exercises involving reading, writing and ‘rithmetic.

Had we been reared along the banks of the Nile, would our minds go to ancient gessoed boards like the 4000-year-old Middle Kingdom example above?

Like our familiar tablet-sized blackboards, this paper — or should we say papyrus? — saver was designed to be used again and again, with whitewash serving as a form of eraser.




As Egyptologist William C. Hayes, former Curator of Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan Museum wrote in The Scepter of Egypt: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 1, From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom, the writing board at the top of the page:

…bears parts of two model letters of the very formal and ultra-poite variety addressed to a superior official. The writers consistently refer to themselves as “this servant” and to their addressees as “the Master (may he live, prosper, and be well.)” The longer letter was composed and written by a young man named Iny-su, son of Sekhsekh, who calls himself a “Servant of the Estate” and who, probably in jest, has used the name of his own brother, Peh-ny-su, as that of the distinguished addressee. Following a long-winded preamble, in which the gods of Thebes and adjacent towns are invoked in behalf of the recipient, we get down to the text of the letter and find that it concerns the delivery of various parts of a ship, probably a sacred barque. In spite of its formality and fine phraseology, the letter is riddled with misspellings and other mistakes which have been corrected in red ink, probably by the master scribe in charge of the class.

Iny-su would also have been expected to memorize the text he had copied out, a practice that carried forward to our one-room-schoolhouses, where children droned their way through texts from McGuffey’s Eclectic Readers.

Another ancient Egyptian writing board in the Met’s collection finds an apprentice scribe fumbling with imperfectly formed, unevenly spaced hieroglyphs.

Fetch the whitewash and say it with me, class — practice makes perfect.

The first tablet inspired some lively discussion and more than a few punchlines on Reddit, where commenter The-Lord-Moccasin mused:

I remember reading somewhere that Egyptian students were taught to write by transcribing stories of the awful lives of the average peasants, to motivate and make them appreciate their education. Like “the farmer toils all day in the burning field, and prays he doesn’t feed the lions; the fisherman sits in fear on his boat as the crocodile lurks below.”

Always thought it sounded effective as hell.

We can’t verify it, but we second that emotion.

Note: The red markings on the image up top indicate where spelling mistakes were corrected by a teacher.

via @ddoniolvalcroze

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Google & Coursera Launch Career Certificates That Prepare Students for Jobs in 6 Months: Data Analytics, Project Management and UX Design

We live in an age of less-than-total agreement as to the purpose of higher education. Should it immerse students in the best that has been thought and said? Provide an environment in which to come of age? Produce “leaders”? Or should it, as increasingly many argue, first and foremost secure professional futures? In the practice of recent decades, higher education has done a bit of each, to the satisfaction of some and the dissatisfaction of others. It has, in other words, become an industry subject to “disruption” by other players offering specialized solutions of their own. Take for example the new Career Certificates offered by Google and the online education platform Coursera.

“Designed to prepare learners for an entry-level role in under six months,” as Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda explains it, these newly-unveiled Career Certificates “don’t have any prerequisites,” which means that most anyone interested in earning them can do so right now. This goes for “new grads landing their first job, front-line workers seeking stable employment, mid-career professionals making a pivot, or parents planning their return to the workforce,” and presumably myriad other walks of life besides.




Available in Data Analytics, Project Management, and User Experience (UX) Design, “each certificate is completely online, self-paced, and costs $39 per month” — significantly less than most existing forms of higher education, even of the most professionally or technologically oriented varieties.

If you’ve dipped into our list of online courses, you’ve probably encountered Coursera, a leading platform for massive online open courses (or MOOCs) used by some of the world’s best-known traditional universities. Its new provision of Google’s Career Certificates should go some way to making more familiar — at least to those us who’ve already learned online — a reimagining of professional education. This program’s “disruptive” potential, due not least to Google’s own consideration of these certificates as equivalent to a four-year degree, has already been well noted. “But while the new programs offer a fast track to new skills and possibly even a new job in a fraction of the time of a degree program,” writes Inc.‘s Justin Bariso, “students shouldn’t expect the courses to be a walk in the park.” And given that they’re unlikely to get easier, anyone interested in earning a Career Certificate would do well to look into it today.

Below, you can find a list of the new Career Certificates.

  • User Experience (UX) Design Professional Certificate – UX design jobs are projected to steadily grow over the coming years, with median salaries for an entry-level role around $82,000. This seven-course certificate explores UX principles, UX terms, and industry-standard tools, including Figma and Adobe XD. By the time they complete the program, learners will have three portfolio projects to use in their job applications.
  • Data Analytics Professional Certificate – In the U.S., there are nearly 15,000 open entry-level data analytics roles, with an annual median entry-level salary of more than $63,000. This seven-course certificate explores analytical skills, concepts, and tools used in many introductory data analytics roles – including SQL, Tableau, RStudio, and Kaggle.
  • Project Management Professional Certificate – Employers will need to fill nearly 2.2 million new project-oriented roles each year through 2027, according to the Project Management Institute. This six-course certificate prepares learners to launch a project management career. It covers industry-standard tools and methods, including the agile project management system, and key soft skills, such as stakeholder management, problem-solving, and influencing.
  • IT Support Professional Certificate – Prepare for an entry-level job as an IT support specialist. In this program, you’ll learn the fundamentals of operating systems and networking, and how to troubleshoot problems using code to ensure computers run correctly. This is for you if you enjoy solving problems, learning new tools, and helping others.
  • IT Automation Professional Certificate – This is an advanced program for learners who have completed the Google IT Support Professional Certificate. This is for you if you want to build on your IT skills with Python and automation.

The new certificates have been added to our collection, 200 Online Certificate & Microcredential Programs from Leading Universities & Companies.

Note: Open Culture has a partnership with Coursera. If readers enroll in certain Coursera courses and programs, it helps support Open Culture.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Watch Cartoonist Lynda Barry’s Two-Hour Drawing Workshop

We know you’re Zoomed out, but might you make an exception for the pre-recorded drawing and writing session above with legendary cartoonist and illustrator Lynda Barry?

Under the auspices of Graphic Medicine’s participatory online series, Drawing Together, the notoriously playful Barry led participants through a series of exercises from her book, Making Comics, and seemed genuinely pleased to be back in teaching mode. (All of her in-person classes at the University of Wisconsin have been cancelled until further notice due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as has her usual summer stint at the Omega Institute.)




Barry endeavored to loosen her students up right away, brandishing toys and dancing to an amazing playlist in a friend’s borrowed attic, confiding that the wifi situation here was far superior to that in her old farmhouse.

Teacher divided the large group in half by birthdays, as a way to organize viewing each other’s work after each timed exercise.

This couldn’t quite replicate the experience of the live classroom, where students have the opportunity to handle each other’s work, and more time to take it in, but still fun to see the incredible diversity—and in the case of closed-eye exercises—thrilling similarities on display.

Barry’s delight extended beyond the confines of the page, imitating the way some students beam like swaying sunflowers throughout the 60-second closed eye sessions, while others knit their brows, lower their chins and power through.

A series of self-portraits followed, with prompts designed to tap into the sort of imaginative powers that frequently seep away in adolescence—draw yourself as an animal, an astronaut, a member of a marching band, any fruit that’s not a banana…

Longer exercises involved turning random squiggles into monsters, with an extra minute granted after the timer went off to add whatever missing things the artist felt each drawing needed, then choosing one of those monsters to star in a family album of sorts.

Barry, who has, over the course of her career, filled a number of panels with hilariously out-of-touch teachers making life a hell for child characters, is audibly appreciative of her students’ efforts, frequently congratulating them for bringing something into the world that didn’t exist a few minutes prior:

This is the thing about comics! They come intact, they come all together and the most important thing you need to do is just make time to draw them, the uninterrupted time, even if it’s just 2 minutes.

Truth!

The final exercise of the day drew on some of the writing techniques Barry featured in Syllabus, with participants, quickly jotting down memories after a prompt, then choosing one  to explore more deeply, with special attention devoted to sensory recall.

To play along from home after the fact, you’ll need a couple of hours, ten or so sheets of paper, a pencil or pen (Barry favors black felt tips), and your “original digital devices” (hint: they’re attached to the ends of your arms).

Find information on how to participate in upcoming free Drawing Together sessions here.

All drawings used with the permission of participant Ayun Halliday.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. She most recently appeared as a French Canadian bear who travels to New York City in search of food and meaning in Greg Kotis’ short film, L’Ourse.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Wired Co-Founder Kevin Kelly Gives 36 Lectures on Our Future World: Education, Movies, Robots, Autonomous Cars & More

Given recent events, 2019 may now seem to us like the distant past. But to those who were thinking hard about the future the year before last, nothing that has happened since has been wholly unexpected — and especially not to those who’d already been thinking hard about the future for decades. Take Kevin Kelly, co-founder of Wired magazine and writer on technology as well as a host of other subjects. It was in 2019 that state telecommunications company China Mobile commissioned him to give a series of 36 short video lectures on the “Future of X”: not the future of the internet in China and the future of India in competition with China, but a range of topics that will surely affect us all, no matter our part of the world.

Self-driving cars, virtual reality, 5G, robots: Kelly has given consideration to all these much-discussed technologies and the roles they may come to play in our lives. But the important thing about them isn’t to know what form they’ll take in the future, since by definition no one can, but to develop habits of mind that allow you to grasp as wide a variety of their possibilities as you can right now.




The future, as Kelly frames it in his talk on uncertainties, consists of “known knowns,” “known unknowns,” and “unknown unknowns.” Those last, better known as “black swans,” are events “completely unexpected by anybody” that “change the world forever.” As examples of possible black swans to come he names World War Three, the discovery of cheap fusion energy, and, yes, a pandemic.

Societal preparation for the future, to Kelly’s mind, will involve developing “a very systematic way of collecting these unknown unknowns and turning them into known unknowns.” Personal preparation for the future, according to his talk on schools and learning, will involve ceaseless acquisition and refinement of knowledge and understanding.

If we want to thrive in an uncertain future, he argues, we should “adopt a method of learning called deliberate practice, falling forward or failing forward,” in which we keep pushing ourselves into unknown intellectual territory, always remaining “newbies” at something, assisted all the while by technology.

Just a couple of decades into the 21st century, we’ve already caught a glimpse of what technology can do to optimize our learning process — or simply to enable learning where it wouldn’t happen otherwise. “I don’t imagine that we’re going to go away from a classroom,” Kelly says, but we also “have the online video world, and more and more people today are learning how to do an amazing variety of things, that we wouldn’t have thought would work on video.”

Of course, since he spoke those words, one black swan in particular has pushed much of humanity away from the classroom, and we’ve found out a good deal more about what kind of learning works (and doesn’t) over the internet. The future, it seems, is now.

You can watch the full playlist of videos, all 36 of them, below. We also recommend his very insightful book, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

The Open Syllabus Project Visualizes the 1,000,000+ Books Most Frequently Assigned in College Courses

The Prince, The Canterbury Tales, The Communist Manifesto, The Souls of Black FolkThe Elements of Style: we’ve read all these, of course. Or at least we’ve read most of them (one or two for sure), if our ever-dimmer memories of high school or college are to be trusted. But we can rest assured that students are reading — or in any case, being assigned — these very same works today, thanks to the Open Syllabus project, which as of this writing has assembled a database of 7,292,573 different college course syllabi. Greatly expanded since we previously featured it here on Open Culture, its “Galaxy” now visualizes the 1,138,841 most frequently assigned texts in that database, presenting them in a Google Maps-like interface for your intellectual exploration.

If you click on the search window in the upper-left corner of that interface, a scrollable ranking of the top 100 most frequently assigned texts opens immediately below. Number one, appearing on more than 15,000 of the syllabi collected so far, is Strunk and White’s classic writing-style guide.




Click on its title and you’ll find yourself in its corner of the map, and you’ll see highlighted other popular readings that tend to be assigned together with it: Diana Hacker’s A Writer’s Reference (at the moment the second-most assigned text), Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” Jürgen Habermas’ The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere.

Michel Foucault holds by some measures the record for the greatest number of citations in the humanities. If you’ve read only one of his books, you’ve probably read Discipline and Punish, his 1975 study of the penal system — and current holder of sixteenth place on the Open Syllabus rankings. But zoom in on it and you’ll find plenty of relevant books and articles you might not have read: Alan Elsner’s Gates of Injustice, William Ian Miller’s The Anatomy of DisgustSoledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson. Similarly, an excursion in the neighborhood of Benedict Anderson‘s Imagined Communities brings encounters with other investigations of country and citizenship like Ernest Renan’s What Is a Nation? and Duncan S.A. Bell’s Mythscapes: Memory, Mythology, and National Identity.

In every sense, the results to be found in the Open Syllabus Galaxy are more interesting than those offered up by the standard you-may-also-like algorithms. Back in college you may have enjoyed, say, Edward Said’s Orientalism, but the range of texts that could accompany it would have been limited by the theme of the class and the intent of your instructor. Here you’ll find Noam Chomsky’s Failed States on one side, John R. Bowen’s Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves on another, Hans Wehr’s Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic on another, and even Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden on another still. If we want to understand a subject, after all, we must read not just about it but around it. In college or elsewhere, you might well have heard that idea; here, you can see it. Enter the Open Syllabus Galaxy here.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

The “Academic Tarot”: 22 Major Arcana Cards Representing Life in the Academic Humanities Under COVID-19

“Speculations about the creators of Tarot cards include the Sufis, the Cathars, the Egyptians, Kabbalists, and more,” writes “expert cartomancer” Joshua Hehe. All of these suppositions are wrong, it seems. “The actual historical evidence points to northern Italy sometime in the early part of the 1400s,” when the so-called “major arcana” came into being. “Contrary to what many have claimed, there is absolutely no proof of the Tarot having originated in any other time or place.”

A bold claim, yet there are precedents much older than tarot: “A few decades before the Tarot was born, ordinary playing cards came to Europe by way of Arabs, arriving in many different cities between 1375 and 1378. These cards were an adaptation of the Islamic Mamluk cards,” with suits of cups, swords, coins, and polo sticks, “the latter of which were seen by Europeans as staves.”




Whether the playing cards invented by the Mamluks were used for divination may be a matter of controversy. The history and art of the Mamluk sultanate itself is a subject worthy of study for the tarot historian. Originally a slave army (“mamluk” means “slave” in Arabic) under the Ayyubid sultans in Egypt and Syria, the Mamluks overthrew their rulers and created “the greatest Islamic empire of the later Middle Ages.”

What does this have to do with tarot reading? These are academic concerns, perhaps, of little interest to the average tarot enthusiast. But then, the average tarot enthusiast is not the audience for the “Academic Tarot,” a project of the Visionary Futures Collective, or VFC, a group of 22 scholars “fighting for what higher education needs most,” Stephanie Malak writes at Hyperallergic, “a bringing together of thinkers who ‘believe in the transformational power and vital importance of the humanities.’”

To that end, the Academic Tarot features exactly the kinds of characters who love to chase down abstruse historical questions—characters like the lowly, confused Grad Student, standing in here for The Fool. It also features those who can make academic life, with its endless rounds of meetings and committees, so difficult: figures like The President (see here), doing duty here as the Magician, and pictured shredding “campus-wide COVID results.”

The VFC, founded in the time of COVID-19 pandemic and “in the midst of the long-overdue national reckoning led by the Black Lives Matter movement,” aims to “trace the contours of things that define our shared human condition,” says Collective member Dr. Brian DeGrazia. In the case of the Academic Tarot, the conditions represented are shared by a specific subset of humans, many of whom responded to “feelings surveys” put out by the VFC in a biweekly newsletter.

The surveys have been used to make art that reflects the experiences of the grad students, professors, and professional staff working the academic humanities at this time:

VFC artist-in-residence Claire Chenette, a Grammy-nominated Knoxville Symphony Orchestra musician furloughed due to COVID-19, brought the tarot cards to life. What began as a three-card project to complement the VFC newsletter grew in spirit and in number. 

“In tarot, the cards read us,” the VFC writes, “telling a story about ourselves that can provide clarity, guidance and hope.” What story do the 22 Major Arcana cards in the Academic Tarot tell? That depends on who’s asking, as always, but one gets the sense that unless the querent is familiar with life in a higher-ed humanities department, these cards may not reveal much. For those who have seen themselves in the cards, however, “the images made them laugh out loud,” says Chenette, or “they hit hard. Or… they even made them cry, but… it needed to happen.”

Struggling through yet another pandemic semester of attempting to teach, research, write, and generally stay afloat? The Academic Tarot cards are currently sold out, but you can pre-order now for the second run.

via Hyperallergic

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Salvador Dalí’s Tarot Cards Get Re-Issued: The Occult Meets Surrealism in a Classic Tarot Card Deck

Carl Jung: Tarot Cards Provide Doorways to the Unconscious, and Maybe a Way to Predict the Future

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.