Don Pizzolato has a thoughtful post this morning on the Duke City Fix that reaches beyond the traditional “rise of the creative class” economic development palaver that underpins much discussion these days in Albuquerque to examine the underlying premises. In the careful way of my favorite writers, Don’s smart enough not to come to any bombastic conclusions. But his piece suggests that, while there may be meat on the creative class bones, it’s improper to hitch every neat new idea to the creative class bandwagon.
Go read the whole thing yourself, but I’d like to highlight one of his observations that resonated with me:
[T]he University of New Mexico should be a cultural and social hub, but is nearly invisible save for Lobo football/basketball and the occasional show at Popejoy.
This has always puzzled me. Perhaps a missed opportunity, perhaps something more complex that’s rooted in a strain of anti-intellectualism in our society. I spend a lot of my professional life in and around the university, what with all the scientists there and all. It’s a fascinating place, full of real live art and literature and science. Yet that life of the mind is largely self-contained, with neither the enormous university community reaching out to any great extent, nor the outside world peeking in.
Why is that? How does this compare to other academic communities elsewhere around the world?