Raising the Bar makes learning just another great night out.
Raising The Bar is a non-profit that gives New Yorkers free access to academic content in a more appealing environment – more specifically, your local bar. The group of aspiring actors, doctors, economists, writers, and bankers believe that education should be intertwined with our daily lives in a way that makes it enjoyable to learn a new skill, not just another chore.
Yali Saar, one of the co-founders, explains the initiative in more detail:
We wanted to turn lectures into part of the pop-culture – something that people go and see at night no different than the way they would go to see a concert or a comedy show. The internet has opened the gates to knowledge but someone still has to be in the real world to frame learning as something that your average person can pursue in his free time.
Raising the Bar wants to attract the people who aren’t already interested in going to see a TED talk, or similar educational event. Their aim is to bridge the gap between the academic world and our “real” lives – to prove that they are actually one and the same. The idea is also likely to encourage mixing across different social groups that might not otherwise happen in a lecture hall. “When we do our fishing at bars we can get to the people that surf TMZ rather than those who are already watching TED talk,” says Saar.
Not only would the idea mean education is more accessible, and enjoyable, but it also creates the potential for unexpected connections, and in turn, unexpected ways of seeing the world. Saar explains it best, “This is an opportunity to actually turn education mainstream. The topic of conversation on a first date changes pretty dramatically if a Nobel Prize winning economist is sitting three feet away.”
The first event is happening on April 29th across 50 different bars, so there is little excuse not to find one near you and see what the hype is all about. Find out where the nearest event is by visiting the Raising the Bar website.
Images: Kenn Wilson