Iconic poet and musician Bob Dylan has been named Founding Patron of the University of Auckland’s Creative Thinking Research Fund. He is also being honoured as the inaugural Creative Laureate of the University’s Creative Thinking Project.
Stuart McCutcheon, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said that “as one of the most creative voices of our time, Bob Dylan inspires the imagination. He has been a restless and challenging creative force across the world for 50 years, writing anthemic songs that span generations. He is also the first rock musician voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. And he has been a frequent visitor to New Zealand to perform concerts since 1978.”
Peter Rajsingh, Chair of the US Friends of the University of Auckland said “Bob Dylan has been a transformative figure while remaining outside the mainstream. In this regard, he parallels the ethos of New Zealand, a country that has made significant contributions to the world by ‘leading from the edge.’”
The announcement was made at an event in New York last evening hosted by Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide CEO and Honorary Professor of Innovation and Creativity at the University of Auckland, Kevin Roberts. Speakers at the event included Agnes Gund, President Emerita of the Museum of Modern Art, Professor Nancy Andreasen, world renowned neuroscientist and Craig Nevill-Manning, Director of Engineering at Google.
Also contributing to the event were Kate Newby, Auckland artist and Walters Prize winner, and Christine Fernyhough, philanthropist of New Zealand arts and education.
The Creative Thinking Project was formed to deepen understanding of the creative process in order to foster wide participation, and promote creativity as central to individual and community wellbeing and development.
The associated Creative Thinking Research Fund will support research in New Zealand and internationally, across all disciplines seeking to understand creativity and find creative solutions to global issues. The New York event launched an international fundraising initiative for the Fund.
“Creative thinking drives success,” says Jenny Dixon, Chair of the Creative Thinking Project and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland. “Creativity is a proven force for cognitive development, academic achievement and social and economic innovation. Being creative strengthens neural pathways and generates lasting connections. It opens up worlds of possibility and change.”
Jane Sutherland, Creative Thinking Board member and Director of Contemporary Art Projects at Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, added that Bob Dylan’s association places creativity “centrestage” as a vehicle for generating change and improving the world.