Interview with expert educator and LooktoLearn founder
Project: Walking into the natural history museum is a profoundly religious experience. LooktoLearn inspires Jewish children to learn about the world around them and their Jewish heritage through their connections with Tanach and museum artifacts.
In one sentence, tell us who you are.
My name is Nic Abery, and I am the Creative Director of Look to Learn. I live in London with my husband Simon and our children Jonah and Rafi and our dog Emily.
What inspired you to embark on the path of an innovator?
I don't think it's a choice. Some people sigh and roll their eyes, others get inspired. When I come up with ideas many times they are "just" dreams, but this one is coming true.
What challenges do you foresee in your field?
England is a hard place to truly innovate. We are conservative, we question innovation. To make a difference you have to change more than a mind, you have to change a mind-set.
Who can you relate to in Jewish history (or in your field of interest)?
I struggle with role models. Rambam—he is one of the first to connect the religious world to science and fora and the world around him.
What is the most valuable thing you have learned from the PresenTense community?
How to make my dreams into realities. We are all artisans wanting to make the world a better place. PresenTense gives us the tools to do this.
Who have you met at PresenTense that has made the most impact on your project?
Yaffa Epstein, my coach, and my mentor Gary Levine. They both really believe in me.
What big question are you struggling with right now?
How do I maintain this momentum when I get back to England and real life commences again?
If all goes as planned, where will your project be one year from now?
Sixty-percent of Jewish primary schools will be hosting LooktoLearn experiences, and I will training teachers across Europe.
What do you hope to see change / to help change in your field in the next ten years?
I hope Jewish and secular education can be taught on a deep level so that the next generation of Jewish graduates make cohesive links between the world around them and their Jewish identity. They can see the world around them with a Jewish perspective and vice versa.
What is your vision for the future of PresenTense?
More global fellowships that encompass people of various backgrounds, nationalities, and affiliations to better the world.
Nic is just one of 16 fellows from the PresenTense Global Fellowship's Class of 2010. Read and learn about the others here.