Landscape Painting by Conor O\'Keefe

Landscape painting with my son, Conor O’Keefe

Each fall, I get a welcome reminder of the vital role that cultural inspiration plays in the work of communicators. I teach a graduate course on cultural exploration at the VCU Brandcenter. The curiosity to seek out culture, from opera to hip-hop, Rembrandt to graffiti artists, is a trait that most successful marketers exhibit. A grounding in culture provides the context for communication. Besides, it’s a fun course to teach. In past years our explorations have covered topics like homelessness, russian painting, truck drivers, carnies, army wives, NASCAR, and many other topics from high culture to popular culture.

In each case, the course is built around direct immersion. So when we learned about homelessness, we spent time with homeless people in a city park. (Instead of PowerPoint, the student presentation was scrawled on pieces of scrap cardboard.) 

Keep an eye on this space come September to see what we’re up to.