It's probably one of the more potty ideas in recent times - giving schoolkids pot to stimulate their imaginations.
But Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art thinks it’s “brave and creative”.
Rather than condemning the idea from teaching artist Leon Ewing, MONA creative director Leigh Carmichael defended it saying Tasmania needed to think “big” and be open to “provocative ideas” in a bid to improve Tasmania’s education outcomes.
“We don’t necessarily agree with this idea, but we love that it’s brave and creative, and in order for seismic change, we’ll need to think big and be open to provocative ideas,” Mr Carmichael said on Tuesday.
For three days in June, MONA will - as part of its annual winter event Dark Mofo - host a festival of ideas on how to improve education levels in Tasmania, which are among Australia’s poorest.
Mr Ewing will take part in the event but has already put forward his idea. “We already prescribe amphetamine-like medications to our children for focus and docility. What if we medicated for creativity? Educational marijuana, if you will,” he said.
Mr Ewing cited a history of use of mind-altering substances by artists to “broaden their consciousness”.
“What genius could be nurtured, if not unleashed, in such circumstances? What a transformational experience,” he said of his proposal.
The plan would include recruiting a “voluntary control group, screened for robust mental health” and use customised vaporisers to deliver the drug, Mr Ewing said.
The children would work in residence at MONA, in partnership with some of the world’s leading artists, to unleash their creativity, Mr Ewing said of his idea.
Mr Carmichael said it is important for Tasmania to embrace a bold new approach to education and all contributions should be encouraged. “We have to be open to the broad spectrum of creative ideas that may emerge, whether we agree with them or not,” he said. “We hope this is just the first of ideas that emerge to challenge us and get people talking.”
But selling this idea to parents, as well as those in the medical profession, might be a bit harder.
A recent study in The Journal of Neuroscience found even casual marijuana smokers showed significant abnormalities in two vital brain regions important in motivation and emotion.
The study analysed 20 pot smokers and 20 non-pot smokers between 18 and 25, the Washington Post reported.
The scientists asked participants to estimate how much marijuana they smoked and how often they lit up over a three-month test period.
The study found that even those who smoked once a week showed brain abnormalities, while larger changes were seen in those who smoked more.
(pictured: artist Leon Ewing)
May 20, 2015
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