What is a Think-a-thon?  It is a gathering of brilliant and compassionate people, from a wide variety of perspectives and expertise, coming together to think and talk, to push each of us out of our boxes to find rich and radical new approaches to tough problems.

In collaboration with the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, the college and Center has hosted four Think-a-thons at Westminster Hall in Baltimore.   A Think-a-thon is an intense, one day collaboration of invited humanists, artists, medical professionals, researchers, social activists, scientists, foundations and area political representatives. The purpose of the Think-a-thon is to identify challenges presented by the current and past conditions in Baltimore and to brainstorm about them in dedicated subgroups that include thinkers from a wide variety of perspectives.  We are particularly interested in problems that have been resistant to single discipline interventions and to which the arts and humanities might contribute significant theoretical and methodological insight because they pull in additional considerations, such as place and culture. 

The combination of creative thinkers and practitioners presents a powerful tool for problem solving. The more global thinking styles and knowledge bases of the arts and humanities are particularly efficacious at innovative problem solving and interventions. The humanists provided history and cultural context.  The artists provided innovations that stem from the “big picture” cognitive style and “strategic intuition” of the artistic “right brain;” they will also report the groups’ innovations through a preliminary sketch or draft in their own art form. The practitioners and activists brought in field knowledge based on the realities of everyday life.  Some long and short-term outcomes were accomplished in the same day.  We expect that the ideas generated by this complex and diverse group will result in a number of nascent grant/action research-intervention ideas which will serve as bases for further collaborative development. 

For more information on the next Baltimore Thinkathon:  https://www.arhu.umd.edu/thinkathon