Creativity Studies


Saybrook Graduate Aurora Sidney Ando Shares Her Perspectives on Creativity and Helping At-Risk Communities

Saybrook Graduate Aurora Sidney Ando

Aurora Sidney Ando, a 2015 Saybrook University Ph.D. graduate in Psychology specializing in Creativity Studies, used her dissertation research to create a community art project to help marginalized youth in at-risk communities in Anchorage, Alaska. We asked her about what motivated her to pursue Creativity Studies and to use it to support others in her community.

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Monisha Rios on Struggles with the VA and the Role of Saybrook University


Saybrook University student Monisha Rios tells us about her experiences as a U.S. veteran, concerns with the mental health industry, and how Saybrook has helped her.

Tell us about what life was life before Saybrook:

 The foundation for my work was laid by my personal experiences in seeking services from the VA.  It all began in 1998.  I was freshly discharged from the Army and fully equipped with advice from one of my drill sergeants.  She told me to go straight to the VA for counseling as soon as I got out, since going to mental health on active duty was certain death for your career.  I did as instructed but was turned away because, according to the staff member I spoke with, despite my having been sexually harassed and assaulted multiple times, I had not been penetrably raped, so therefore I did not “deserve” to ask for help.  To make matters worse, they told me I was not eligible for any care because I was discharged before 24 months, even though my service was honorable.  The Army told me I was a veteran deserving of care, why was the VA disagreeing?  The only way I could get care at that point was if I had been medically discharged or attained a disability rating.  Since I had been conveniently denied a medical board evaluation prior to discharge there was only one choice.  On I went through the ridiculous claims process.    

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Stay Weird and Stay Different


by Diana Rivera

The Academy Awards could be a time to honor professional artists who have impacted the entertainment industry and the world.  Many have told stories that have challenged history, defied reality, and surpassed former limitations of storytelling and technology.  In some cases the awards have become a who-is-who industry game, a competition between artists, and the focus on glamour and parties that celebrities attend often overshadow the powerful vehicle of human expression that is film.

This years award program proved to be a space for artists social and political commentary.  Patricia Arquette spoke of wage increases for women, while Alejandro Inarritu made a shout out to improvements in the Mexican government.  The stage became a soap box to those who were honored, allowing them to highlight areas of deep personal concern.  Graham Moore’s speech also illumined some important humanistic concerns: suicide, authenticity and human potential.            

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Listen to an interview with Ruth Richards on the ethics and psychology of creativity!


Saybrook alumna Dr. Dr. Aurora Sidney-Ando isn't the only member of the Saybrook community to be interviewed on ServiceSpace. 

Dr. Ruth Richards, a legendary scholar on the creativity of everyday life and member of our faculty, has also been profiled and interviewed there. 

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Nurturing the Arts and Creativity as a tool to help others grow


As a child, Saybrook alumna Dr. Aurora Sidney-Ando was so shy she used to hide behind books.  

But it was the arts - especially painting - that helped her overcome that burden.  At Saybrook, she studied how the arts can be used to help others, and worked to help teenage girls express themselves through paintings.

Dr. Sidney-Ando tells us all about it in a moving interview she gave, which you can read here.

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Meet Creativity Studies student Glenn Graves


What made you decide to apply to the Creativity Studies program at Saybrook University?

I received my Master’s in Human Science from Saybrook in 2002, while I was living in Asia. At that time I had been working in film production and creative directing in the advertising world. Once I received my Master’s I began working as a psychotherapist and have since been Managing and counseling in private practice in Singapore. However I have continued my creative work in the advertising industry.

What do you plan to do with the knowledge and experience you're getting in the program?

I really value working as a psychotherapist and feel it is a great opportunity to get people connected to the creativity that each of holds for healing ourselves. I incorporate as much of the unconscious in to my therapy work as is appropriate by using EMDR, or dream working but I also believe in the power of perspective shift and like to work with this as well.

In addition I hope to use creativity to enter into other arenas of change management or innovation, be it the corporate sector or inventing products or leading creativity experientials.

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Teaching Creativity: Is the Tyrant Teacher in Whiplash a Good Role Model?


by Steven Pritzker, PhD

Whiplash, a movie nominated for best picture this year, is about a drummer in an elite music school’s relationship with a strict highly demanding teacher who runs the schools premier jazz orchestra. The teacher is played by J. K. Simmons who won a Golden Globe for the role and has been nominated for an Academy Award. No question that Simmons does a very good job in the role.

The teacher he plays is a sadist who tortures his best students by belittling them. He mocks their families, uses homophobic slurs, makes fun of their physical appearances, mercilessly pits musicians against each other and even slaps them. All this is done, the character claims, in the interest of achieving excellence. And of course, in true Hollywood fashion, he drives his prize student to almost quit but them come back and find true greatness fulfilling his own dream as well as that of his student.

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Creativity in the Classroom: a big push on arts and creativity in California Schools


by Diana Rivera

Creativity studies students balance their academic interests with a strong mission toward social and organizational change.  They are conscious of the lack of quality experiences related to creativity in many social spheres, specifically in education.  Many Saybrook students work in or are familiar with the lack of arts education for primary, elementary, and high school level students throughout the country, and can carry eloquent conversations to assert the reasons why it is important.  There have been some notable nation-wide and state-level attempts to turn around the situation as a result of data suggesting higher grades and increased self-esteem for students who are part of arts integration programs.

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Adventures in Creativity: A Venture, A Block and A Breakthrough


by Linda Riebel

Last year, I boldly went where I had never gone before. In the beloved tragic French opera /Carmen,/ there is a gorgeous instrumental melody in the overture to Act III, an air that appears nowhere else in the opera. I wondered, Why has it never been given words and made into a song of its own? As my tenth wedding anniversary approached, I did exactly that as a surprise gift to my opera-loving husband.

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Meet Creativity Studies PhD Student Melinda Rothouse


Tell us a little about your background.

I’m a singer, songwriter, and bass player and I work as a writing and creativity coach and consultant, working with individuals and organizations to deepen their facility with the creative process, through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and retreats. I have a B.A. in Biopsychology, as well as Master’s degrees in Religious Studies and Performance Studies, and have worked as a professor and writing center tutor in a number of colleges and universities. I also practice and teach Buddhist meditation and contemplative arts programs.

What made you decide to apply to the Creativity Studies program at Saybrook University?

I had been flirting with the idea of doing my Ph.D. for a long time, but knew that I wanted to find a non-traditional, low-residency, and very progressive program. When I discovered the Creativity Studies specialization at Saybrook, I knew I was on to something, and once I spoke with Steve and Ruth, I decided to go ahead and apply (it was the only program I applied to in the end). Once I arrived at my first R.C. I knew I was in the right place.

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