Institute of World Culture

African American Contributions to Music
Rhiannona Giddens is a classically trained opera singer, folk singer and multi-instrumentalist. Having grown up in North Carolina, she's on a mission to re-frame the history of African Americans and their contributions to the musical landscape, and especially the role of the bango as a distinctly African American instrument.
Click here for an interview with Rhiannona on Ananpour and Company
Click here for a performance of "Quasheba, Quasheba" by Our Native Daughters, a group of four powerful black women bango players, Rhiannona being one.
Click here for a clip on Roots and the African American Bango Tradition with Our Native Daughters

Unchained Melody


Chip Thomas: Physician and Street Artist on the Navaho Reservation

Chip Thomas, a physician and street artist who has lived on the Navaho Nation for three decades, shares the stories of his indigenous neighbors with large scale murals in cities in Oakland, California to Phoenix, Arizona. His work under the name Jetsonorama has drawn attention to the impact of uranium mining on the Navajo people.
Click here for audio link

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau – Still in the Mail: Messages from the Imagination

A talk centering on Thoreau's first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers and his correspondence with Harrison Blake, first given at the Institute of World Culture by Joseph Miller in 2014.

"Is not nature, rightly read, that of which she is commonly taken to be the symbol merely?"
~ Henry David Thoreau

Click here for audio link

In the Hands of Artists
An artist is a creater, a maker and the hands know what do do, the hands of a dancer, a musician, a mechanic, a cook, a weaver, a painter. a gardener, a mother, a writer . . . the hands of an artist remember.
Click here for a short video


Tolstoy with children

Tolstoy as Teacher
Tolstoy wrote that "men are like rivers." What did he mean by that?
Click here for the full quote

The Russian playwright, Maurice Maeterlinck, spoke of the 'spirit of the bee-hive'. Tolstoy wrote very much the same way of the 'spirit of the school.'"
Click here for the full quote

Marcia Warrecker and friends will give a presentation at the Institute next year, when face-to-face programs are again possible. They will focus on Tolstoy and Non-Violence in a Reader's Theater style. Thanks to Marcia for these quotes in honor of Tolstoy's birth anniversary.

Explore the Getty Online
The Getty Museum offers extensive online resources, including in depth podcasts that cover a range of topics. Two examples are:
India and the World: A History in Nine Stories

Curator Naman Ahuja discusses an online exhibit that aims at bringing about a more inclusive view of India by drawing on histories from folk traditions alongside classical traditions.
Click here about the project
Click here to view the objects on display
Click here to listen to the podcast

The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World–and Globalization Began
Valerie Hansen, Yale Professor and author, and Mary Miller, director of the Getty Research Institute, explore early economic and cultural exchanges along trade routes that led to interactions between diverse cultures, including bold travels by the Vikings, and trade routes between China, Europe, Iran and Africa, and within North and Central America. Click here to listen to the podcast

Spaceshuttle Endeavour
Spaceshuttle Endeavour is a retired orbiter from NASA's Space Shuttle program and the firth and final operational Shuttle built. It embarked on its first mission in May 1992 and its 25th and final mission in May 2011. Its last mission was expected to be the final mission of the Space Shuttle program, but, in fact, authorization for another flight was given, and Atlantis became the last shuttle to fly. Endeavor was retired to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The journey of the craft through the streets of LA drew large crowds along the entire path. The exhibit at the Center is IMPRESSIVE and is available for a virtual tour.
Click here for a virtual tour

LibriVox and Percy Bysshe Shelley
"True love in this differes from gold and clay,
That to divide is not to take away.
Love is like understanding, that grows bright,
Gazing on many truths; 'tis like thy light,
Imagination! which from earth and sky,
And from the depths of human fantasy,
As from a thousand prisms and mirros, fills
The Universe with glorious beams, and kills
Error, the worm, with many a sun-like arrow
Of its reverberated lightning.
~ "Epipsychidian" by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Click here for a reading of the full poem, and much more (all free)

Google Arts & Culture
An online resource for exploring museums, works of art, places and more from where you are. You can take a virtual journey of creativity through inspiring museums, learn about art from multiple cultures throughout time, and explore captivating places around the globe.
Click here for the site
Scroll down the page for highlights and much more, including:
• Weekly Selections
• A Musical Journey with Wassily Kandinsky
• Get Up Close to Kandinsky's 'Composition VII' (1913), The State Tretyakov Gallery

On Being with Krista Tippett
On Being is an hour-long radio show and podcast hosted by Krista Tippett, who has interviewed guests ranging from poets to physicists, doctors to historians, artists to activists, including the 14th Dalai Lama, Maya Angelou, Mohammed Fairouz, Desmond Tutu, Tich Nhat Hanh, Rosanne Cash, Wangari Maathai, Yo-Yo Ma and many more. She received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama for her thoughtful delvings into the mysteries of human existence, for avoiding easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics, and moral wisdom. For more information on Krista and The On Being Project:

On-Being links of profound relevance:

John Lewis "Love in Action"
An extrodinary conversation with the late congressman John Lewis, taped in Montgomery, Alabama, during a pilgrimage 50 years after the March on Washington. Click here for interview

John O'Donohue "The Inner Landscape of Beauty"
For Krista Tippett "No conversation we've every done has been more beloved than this one with Irish poet, theologian, and philosopher John O'Donohue who insists on beauty as a human calling and values "the art of inwardness". Click here for interview

Jason Reynolds "Fortifying Imagination"
The Library of Congress' National Ambassador for young people's literature tells us that books for the young also have the power to help heal adults. Click here for interview

Honoring John Lewis
Civil Rights Hero John Lewis, a 17-term Georgia Congressmember, was a singular force for equality and justice in America. He was remembered July 30th at his funeral in Atlanta by the Reverend James Lawson, once described by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as "the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world", and former President Barack Obama for his deep, personal commitment to the path of non-violence.
Click here for the Reverend James Lawson's words
Click here for former President Obama's eulogy

Julliard alumni and students

Bolero – Julliard | April 2020
In normal times, the Julliard School halls are buzzing with collaborations: string quartets, jazz ensembles, and singer, dancers and ensembles, but our understanding of what it means to collaborate is changing. The community is now scattered around the globe but are thinking how they maintain and even enhance the creative ties that bind them together so easily and regularly when they are all under the same roof. A spirit lifting collaboration of 100+ students and alumni combine musicians and dancers and . . .
Click here for heart warming and exciting video

Rosa Parks

Paradigm Shift Happens
Paradigm shifts happen, and they are not random. Human consciousness causes and shapes them. And we seem to be experiencing one right now. A long-time Institute of World Culture member and Director of Still and Moving Center in Honolulu, Hawaii shares a few thoughts on the nature of change related to the issues humanity is facing today.
Click here for more information

Mount of Five Treasures, painting by Nicholas Roerich

Mount of Five Treasures (Two Worlds)
For the painter Nicholas Roerich, mountains were the physical representation of enlightenment. The Mount of Five Treasures presents the majesty of the third highest mountain in the world Kanchenjunga. The Indian writer Rabindanath Tagore writes about Roerich's ability to point out in his work that Truth is infinite.
Click here for more information on this painting and on Nicholas Roerich.

an astronaut viewing space from rocket window

The Overview Effect
Astronauts are so overwhelmed by the view from space that they often experience radical alterations in their perspectives. This experience has been explained by both science and religion and has been described in various ways. Most recently, it has been called the 'overview effect'. Planetary Collective has made a short 19 minute film documenting astronauts' life-changing stories of seeing the Earth from the outside – something early astronauts did not expect when they first viewed the 'blue marble' from their rocket windows.
The full documentary can be seen on Vimeo. Click below for the short version.
OVERVIEW documentary from Planetary Collective on Vimeo

Am I as Clever as a Squirrel?
A clever fellow finds out just how clever his local squirrels are. Squirrels were stealing his bird seed so he worked on finding out a way, with the help of mechanical engineering, to solve his problem. An adventure and a new respect for animal intelligence were the results.

Click here for video

Wise Men from the East
A story told by Abraham Lincoln in a speech he gave in September, 1859. Its message that "All this will pass" is as relevant today as it was then.

Click here for story

The Man Who Planted Trees
Narrated by Christopher Plummer, this allegorical tale by French author Jean Giono, published in 1953, has been made into a charming tale of Elzéard Bouffier. It tells the story of one shepherd's long and successful singlehanded effort to re-forest a desolate valley in the foothills of the Alps near Porvence throughout the first half of the 20th century. The narrator of the story, perhaps the author Jean Giono, first meets the man who planted trees as a young man and vists him over the next four decades.

Click here for video

Ursula Le Guin

Ursula Le Guin's Comment on War as a Theme
What makes heros and villians? In the afterword of the pioneering novel, Earthsea: the Wizard of Earthsea, the author Ursula Le Guin explains why she does not use war or military heroes as a framework for her novels.

Click here for the full essay

Botso, the teacher from Tblisi

Botso, The Teacher from Tbilisi
he amazing story of nonagenarian Wachtung “Botso” Korisheli – musician, sculptor, beloved teacher to generations and an inspiring example of human resilience. Escaping Stalinist Georgia into Nazi Poland and Germany, Botso eventually found his way to Morro Bay. Through interviews with him and many musicians and artists he has mentored, and in sequences filmed on a trip to his native Republic of Georgia, the picture of a uniquely warm, creative, and gentle soul emerges. Even if you had a chance to see it when it was released, this is a wonderful life-affirming documentary you will no doubt enjoy watching again. It is not available at no charge through May 15 courtest of the producers.
Click here for full-length documentary
In assocation with the San Luis Obispo Film Fest

The Green Bean Connection
This is an especially important time to keep our gardens going. It's a great place to get grounded, stay calm and experience fresh, organic food that you grow yourself. There are many videos on YouTube to get you started. Here is a local, Santa Barbara Monthly Newsletter to remind you when and what to plant with tips on how to grow successfully.
See May 'Green Bean Connection' Newsletter

Channel Islands kelp forest

California Channel Islands Live Ocean Webcam
Experience one of the richest marine environments in the world with a virtual visit to the Ocean Webcam. This webcam captures your attention with views of the majestic amber-colored kelp forest and the nearly one thousand different species of marine plants and animals that are found within the Channel Islands kelp forests. One third of southern California's kelp forests are found within the Channel Islands National Park and CI National Marine Sanctuary where warm water currents from the south and cold water currents from the north create a unique habitat.
Click here for live webcam
Click here for more information on kelp forests

Lil Buck and Yo-Yo Ma

Lil Buck and Yo-Yo Ma
Charles 'Lil Buck' Riley was born May 25, 1988 in Chicago. IL. He moved with his family to Memphis when he was a small child and was introduced to an urban street dance style called 'Memphis Jookin". He always loved to dance so he was in his element. At some point he studied ballet at "New Ballet Ensemble" in downtown Memphis. In 2014, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and street dancer Lil Buck performed Camille Saint-Saens' "The Swan" at China's National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, part of the U.S.-China Forum on the Arts and Culture.
Click here to view this performance

Nature Meets Culture: Descanso Gardens
A garden is where nature and culture meet. Descanso Gardens is a unique Southern California landscape distinguished by its specialized botanic collections, historical significance and rare natural beauty. Its mission is to practice exemplary stewardship of Descanso’s distinctive character and assets; offer people an experience close to nature; and cultivate understanding of the natural world and people’s place in it through inspiration, education and example.
Click here to view PBS documentary this magical Gardens


California Poppies at their Best
It is a tough time of year to feel like you are stuck indoor – with spring busting out all over the trails and parks that are not current accessible. Fortunately, you can live vicariously through the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve's PoppyCam Live Stream

Brian Stevenson

We Need to Talk About Injustice
In an engaging and personal TED talk -- with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks -- human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America's justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country's black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness. His talk inspired one of the longest and loudest standing ovations in TED's history.
Click here for TED talk
Watch HBO documentary True Justice which focuses on Bryan Stevenson's life and work. 

Apollo 13 Moon View

Apollo 13 Moon Views
Fifty years ago, on April 17, 1970, the Apollo 13 spacecraft returned safely to Earth after its loop around the far side of the moon. Apollo 13 had been meant to land two astronauts on the moon, but an oxygen tank explosion two days into the journey imperiled the mission and the astronauts’ lives. With some new technology, the video they took has been recreated in 4K high resolution, and it is completely amazing.
Click here for video
Read more: It’s been 50 years since Apollo 13’s safe return to Earth

North Campus wildflowers

North Campus Open Space
UC Santa Barbara's Cheadle Center for Ecological Restoration and Ecology (CCBER) is an unprecendented restoration project that currently has 1.4 miles of public trail. The space is an ecological wonderland for research, teaching and just plain enjoyment. In all, this project represents a 10 percent increase in coastal wetland area in Santa Barbara County and demonstrates that restoration on this scale, of seriously impacted wetlands, can happen in an urban setting and in a way that offers multiple benefits in our changing world–improving downsteam water quality, reducing flood risk, adaping to climate change and providing opportunities for people connect to the larger California trail network and peacefully enjoy nature and wildlife. There are multiple entrance points but you can park at 6975 Whittier Drive and walk over bridges and trails to see the newly restored upper arms of Devereux Slough and explanded floodplain.
Click here for iinformation

The Metropolitan Opera Streaming
During this extraordinary and difficult time, the Met hopes to brighten the lives of its audience members. Each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is being made available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for a period of 23 hours, from 4:30 p.m Pacific until 6:30 p.m. the following day. The schedule will include outstanding complete performances from the past 14 years of cinema transmissions, starring all of opera’s greatest singers.

Click here for a full schedule of operas, including synopses, articles and more

For an annual donation you can access a wider range of program at any time. Click here for more information on wider access to the Met archives

Alma Deutscher

"While the world is shutting down here in Austria the blossoms in the apricot tress are just coming out. They obviously haven't heard of the new regulations that everything should close." – Alma Deutscher

Alma Elizabeth Deutscher is an English child prodigy composer, pianist and violinist. At age six she composed her first piano sonata. At age seven, she completed a short opera The Sweeper of Dreams. Aged nine, she wrote a concerto for violin and orchestra. Now, at age 15 she has written two waltzes to honor Beethoven on his 250th birthday. Each waltz uses themes from Beethoven's own work. In the videos, Alma's introduces the waltzes herself.

Waltz #1
Waltz #2

Deep Ecology

In April 2020, the IWC Study Circle took up the study of Deep Nature. We discovered a number of ways to gain new perspectives and insights into the topic through an understanding of sound dynamics.  Some of these new perspectives are embodied in a few videos that are particularly interesting: 

Bernie Krause:  The Voice of the Natural World (15 minutes 
In this Ted Talk, we are introduced to the world of soundscapes.  Bernie has been recording wild soundscapes for over 45 years.  He has recorded the sounds of the Geophony (non-biological sounds such as wind and waves), as well as sounds of the Biophony (the collective sound of organisms in their collective wild habitat).  His work has formed a kind of database of natures ‘voice’ that has allowed us to track various changes in specific areas across the decades.  As Bernie often says, “A picture is worth 1,000 words, a soundscape is worth 1,000 pictures.”
Click here for video

Recording the Sounds of Nature’s Quietest Places (8 minutes)  
In this CBS Sunday Morning production, we are treated to the journeys of Gordon Hempton, a Sound Tracker and ‘acoustic ecologist'.  We are able to journey to the Olympic Rain Forest in Washington, as well as to Glacier National Park where we can gain an awareness of how human made sound impacts nature, and how natures sound impacts humans.
Click here for video

Making Sound Visible Through Cymatics (5 minutes)  
In this Ted Talk we will view several demonstrations of the science and art of Cymatics, which is a process that makes sound waves visible.  Even complex sounds like music and dolphin calls can be rendered into visible shapes.
Click here for video


"The smaller we come to feel ourselves compared to the mountain, the nearer we come too participating in its greatness." ~ Arne Naess

Hope is the Thing
with Feathers

A Poem by Emily Dickinson

"Hope" is the thng with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heart –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I've heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

Emily Dickinson published only eight poems during her lifetime. Today her nearly 2,000 succinct, profound meditations on life and death, nature, love, and art make her one of the most original and important English poets. Click here to learn more about her

San Francisco Symphony –– Keeping Score

Through nine one-hour documentaries, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony trace the lives of eight influential composers from around the world. Michael Tilson Thomas explores the motivations and influences behind major classical works by Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Copland, Stravinsky, Berlioz, Ives, Shostakovich, and Mahler. Each episode is accompanied by a one-hour concert program by the San Francisco Symphony. The 'Keeping Score' web site is designed to give people of all musical backgrounds an opportunity to explore the music and life of the composers featured in the Keeping Score television series in depth, and at their own pace. Extensive audio, video, and critically acclaimed interactive material explores each composer’s scores and pertinent musical techniques as well as the personal and historical stories behind them in a user-friendly way.
Click here for Keeping Score episodes to view

woman speaking by whistling

People who Talk Like Birds

Kusköy, Turkey is a remote mountain village with an ancient form of communication–whistliing. The practice not only highlights humanity's amazing linguistic diversity; it may also help us to understand the limits of human communication. In most languages, whistles are used for little more than calling attention; they seem too simple to carry much meaning. But research has now identified more than 70 groups across the world who can use whistles to express themselves with all the flexibility of normal speech. These mysterious languages demonstrate the brain’s astonishing capacity to decode information from new signals – with insights that are causing some neuroscientists to rethink the fundamental organisation of the brain.
Click here BBC article on whistlling languages
Click here for video on the whistling village of Kosköy, Turkey
Click here for an article and video on India's whistling village

Concerts at Home with Camerata Pacifica

Drawing the finest chamber artists from around the world, Camerata Pacifica, under the artistic direction of Adrian Spence, explores the breadth of the chamber music genre in dynamic performances presented for a dynamic 21st century audience.
In lieu of in-person, public performances this season, they are providing a remarkable collection of free Concert Videos on their website:
In addition, weekly live “Concerts at Home” broadcasts every Sunday on YouTube Live.  To receive a weekly link to their live Sunday performances, join their mailing list on their website, or mail and ask to be added. The links you will receive are merely for convenience.  You can also go straight to Camerata Pacifica’s YouTube or Facebook pages any time.  It’s important to click on the “LIVE” aspect when you get there.  Plan to connect a few minutes early, and you’ll see a countdown clock to the beginning of the stream.  If you arrive late, you can wind back to start at the beginning of the stream.
Click here for more information

Rumi and Mystical Sufism

Join the Rumi Educational Center on the second Monday of each month to learn about the mystical poetry of Jalal al Din Rumi. Whatever our tradition of origin or current practice, Rumi’s poetry and teaching takes us step by step within, allowing us to explore the hidden dimensions of our inward journey, offering a universal path to self-discovery and healing. His search for wisdom and transformation into Love will enliven our soul’s connection to the Holy and our ability to seek divine in everyday life. Voluntary donations are appreciated.
Click here for more information on the monthly webinars
Click here for the Rumi Center's website and other offerings

"A bird can only fly with a wing of knowledge and a wing of love." ~Rumi