You too can join cartoonist Lynda Barry for her "Unthinkable Mind" university course. It's based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but you can audit it from home (san enrollment) and, as Open Culture details, Barry will be "posting her weekly assignments and curriculum materials on her tumblr, a forum where her abiding interest in science is as apparent as her devotion to undirected doodling." The course is designed to appeal to both those in the humanities and the sciences. The class was limited to twenty students, who applied for it with a questionnaire that asked, for example, "Was there something you made by hand as a kid that made you happy?"
From the description of Barry's course:
A writing and picture-making class with focus on the basic physical structure of the brain with emphasis on hemispheric differences and a particular sort of insight and creative concentration that seems to come about when we are using our hands (-the original digital devices) —to help us figure out a problem.
No artistic talent is required to be part of this class, but students must have an active interest in learning about the physical structure of the brain, how memory, metaphor, pictures and stories work together, the relationship between our hands and thinking, and what the biological function of the thing we call ‘the arts’ may be.
This is a rigorous class with a substantial workload. Along with twice weekly writing, picture making, and memorization assignments, students will be required to complete a handmade book using visual and written elements by the end of the semester.
Via Open Culture, catching us up on the course, which has just begun:
Your first assignment, posted above, requires a box of crayons, the coloring pages of your choice, downloaded to four types of paper, and a significant chunk of time set aside for brain-related articles and vintage videos starring Cognitive Neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga and astronomer Carl Sagan. You should also be committed to keeping a four-minute diary and serving as your own guinea pig.