Idea Blog

Coding for Bottle

Posted on: July 22nd, 2016 | 0 Comments

Ben Knight – July 11, 2016

Hey guys! I’ve been in Knoxville working for Bottle since the beginning of the summer. They’re a tech startup that hosts business-to-customer messaging, with the goal of making purchases and customer service easy over text. One of their two founders, Will Schreiber, is a former Vandy Curb scholar. He handles all of Bottle’s code has been awesome to work under and to learn from. I’ve already been handed some pretty cool projects this summer, mostly involving the creation of bots to crawl through and interact with different social media platforms. I’m pretty happy with my progress as well! With no prior experience, I’ve picked up and made decent use of both Python and Ruby on Rails. Read More

Aspen Music School

Posted on: July 20th, 2016 | 0 Comments

The wifi in Aspen is non-existent. It is the perfect opportunity to focus on personal, musical, spiritual, and philosophical growth in the presence of the staggeringly beautiful nature that surrounds the town. The first week of the Aspen Music Festival has been overwhelming. From understanding the jam-packed schedule of concerts, masterclasses, and lessons, to navigating the bus routes to the music school and beyond, there is so much to see and do. But before we get to the intensive music activities, the staff insisted that a large part of the festival is non-musical, meaning that we must first engage with the grand mountains, green pastures, and lush waterfalls before we think about what our purpose is in the art of music. Read More

New York is an intense city.

Posted on: July 18th, 2016 | 0 Comments


Getting settled doesn’t just mean understanding the subway or figuring out the commute between Brooklyn and Manhattan, getting settled means getting comfortable with the loneliness that is NYC. There is so much to do, there are so many people around you, yet if you don’t make yourself a community, you won’t have one. The city itself certainly isn’t your friend.

It’s been a dance of going out with friends of friends, basically strangers, and going to pizza shops alone, finishing a pie by yourself. Both are challenges in their own way. Read More

Living in London

Posted on: July 15th, 2016 | 0 Comments

by Matthew Thompson

My trip to London was circuitous, spiraling around the city before finally settling here.  I began in the north of England with my family.  I visited my grandmother and aunt in Manchester, then moved north into Scotland.  On the way, I spent two days in the Lake District, a region of beautiful countryside where mountains reach high into the sky.  While there, I visited Castlerigg (photo attached), a stone circle placed here 4,500 years ago.  Touching these stones was like feeling the bones of the earth; I was struck by the power of human endeavor, and the permanence of this species.

I returned to our modern creations in Edinburgh.  The city felt like good preparation for London: quieter and more manageable, if colder and wetter.
Continuing on my spiral, I traveled to Paris. 
I knew here that nothing I could say of the city would be new; this is a form of permanence too, as humanity’s own creations can wow us in the same ways for centuries, eventually exhausting our ability to capture these experiences.  Instead, I include a photograph.
The time had come for me to reach my inevitable destination, but, on the way, I stopped in Madrid.  Here, I had my only real experience of summer, as temperatures threatened 100.  I sat outside at cafes in the long Spanish evenings, cooled by sprinklers attached to the canopies of the restaurants.  This city was not as directed toward tourists as the others I had visited, and I was able to see the strong ties that exist between families and friends as a result.
By the time I was on the plane to London, travel had lost much of its stress, and some of its excitement too; I did not expect to be surprised by London. I was here ten years ago, and my memories of the place had taken hold in nostalgia.  This, coupled with the fatigue of so much travel, made me complacent about what I would find here.
But I was wrong.  Read More

Posted on: July 12th, 2016 | 0 Comments

Reflections in Belfast

by Lily Pollack

Belfast, Northern Ireland is a bustling place. Everyday I make my 45-minute morning commute to Oh Yeah Music Centre on foot, watching all of the working people hurry along to their offices. I see teenagers totally owning their own style and individuality, Dr. Martens taking them to their summer hangout for the day. I see people marvelling at the beauty of Queen’s University, fresh off the tour bus. I usually try to listen to a new album on my way to work to accompany the people watching. Every minute counts, as there’s too much music and not nearly enough time. When I arrive to work, I’m greeted by such friendly faces everyday. I make a double shot espresso and get started with the day’s jobs. First, I have to take note of the catchy tune playing. Then I check to see if we’ve raised any money for our program Volume Control, which strives to introduce teenagers to music enterprise. I was tasked with starting an online fundraiser through another charity called Localgiving, and we have a goal of raising 1,000 pounds before mid July. Right now, we’re a little over halfway there. From there I usually create a social media post to encourage more people to donate, to promote an event we have on, or to inform the world wide web of the plethora of opportunities community members can take to become more involved with the music scene in Belfast. Next, I’ll start writing a blog post for a new blog that I created. Read More

Interning at Windy Films

Posted on: August 26th, 2015 | 0 Comments

by Lucy Rahner

This summer I’ve been interning with Windy Films, a small Boston-based documentary film studio started by former Curb Scholar, Harvey, and his long-time friends Tripp and Will. From feature-length documentaries to promotional pieces for social impact organizations, they aim to “tell stories that matter.”

In the mornings, I fittingly take the train to the Maverick station, heading towards Wonderland, and a slew of possibilities. That’s about where the day-to-day regularity ends; I never quite know what I’ll find when I walk into Studio 16. Curious visitors (both human and animal) and diverse clients, as well as new problems to solve and fresh visions to fulfill make the cavernous studio a true place of possibility, yet the discipline of deadlines and bottom lines keep it serious enough for the creative energy to have direction.

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Inside an Artist’s Life in the Ryman Lofts

Posted on: August 25th, 2015 | 0 Comments

Guest post from Lily Hansen author of Word of Mouth: Nashville Conversations, and resident of Ryman Lofts, Nashville’s first affordable apartment residence for artists.  Lily coordinated our visit to Ryman Lofts (you’ll hear more about that in our next post!), and her book Word of Mouth will serve as the inspiration for many of our visits this year.


by Lily Hansen

Today I signed my third lease at the Ryman Artist Lofts in downtown Nashville. If you haven’t heard, Music City is beyond boom status. We are competing with Chicago, my hometown, for who can jack up their rent prices faster. It seems as though a new structure emerges from the ground every other day.

Just as I was initialing my paperwork this morning, my property manager’s telephone rang. Debbie is the gatekeeper who breaks people’s hearts on an hourly basis by telling them that we are on a five-year wait list. Now I know why the masses are clamoring to get into our 60-unit community.

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Curb Scholars Opening Retreat: Tuesday and Wednesday

Posted on: August 24th, 2015 | 0 Comments

by Elizabeth Meadows

It’s that time of year again, when students return to campus, and we all have to scramble to make sure we’re ready for them. At the Curb Center, this annual return becomes a swirl of events, as we try to coordinate the opening of the academic year (which means new teaching adventures for me and Director Jay Clayton, along with continuing research) with

➢ the Curb Scholars Opening Retreat,
➢ the kickoff of our second year of the Public Scholars program,
➢ a new art exhibit around the theme of gentrification both here in the Edgehill neighborhood and in other cities around the country,
➢ getting started on the REAL (Race Equity in Arts Leadership) Project we’re working on with the Metro Arts Commission,
➢ AND planning for all the other stuff we do every year with our many campus partners…

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Metro Arts Announces Race Equity in Arts Leadership (REAL) learning cohort and research partnership

Posted on: August 13th, 2015 | 0 Comments

Building Bridges by Claire Evans

Posted on: July 9th, 2015 | 0 Comments

Building Bridges

Shortly after arriving in Hong Kong for my internship at Ove Arup & Partners, I pulled out my notebook and started a list. Guidelines to make the most of the summer
Act as if this is permanent
If you’re considering something but are scared or tired do it anyway.
Don’t worry about doing the touristy things, just live life as if this is home and it will be.
Those first few days had been a slow push through culture shock I both expected and didn’t. I was fighting a sense of obligation to do the sort of things an Adventurous Person does when they travel the world, though I wasn’t sure what those things were. I was simultaneously overcome by an opposing urge to do Nothing At All.

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