top of page
  • Writer's pictureMatt Arnold

The Iowa Idea Podcast Explores Creativity, Craft, and Collaboration

The new podcast, produced by Spark, examines stories of creativity, collaboration, innovation and persistence through interviews with modern creatives, craftspeople, and community leaders.

The Iowa Idea Podcast explores modern extensions of the original “Iowa Idea.” This project is rooted in the concept originally conceived at The University of Iowa by University President, Walter Jessup, and Graduate Dean, Carl Seashore, in the 1920s. The innovative Iowa Idea brought together practicing artists and scholars, creating a new form of collaboration. With the help of Iowa’s School of Art and Art History, Jessup and Seashore’s idea blossomed. The Iowa Idea led to many innovations, including the creation of the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree - allowing creative works to be submitted to meet degree requirements. With persistence, creativity, and a strong commitment to collaboration, the idea was extended to create the world-renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The foundation and legacy of the Iowa Idea can be seen in Iowa City’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.

Examining the core tenets of The Iowa Idea, this podcast tells the stories of Iowa natives, transplants, and friends who demonstrate the Idea in the 21st Century. With interviews that typically range from 45-60 minutes, the in-depth conversations guests explore how they approach their craft.

The concepts that brought forth the original Iowa Idea are critically important today. As the world is growing ever more complex, we need to cultivate and celebrate creativity, collaboration, innovation, and persistence. By using longer-form interviews, afforded by the podcast medium, I believe that others can learn from modern practitioners to extend the Iowa Idea in their own lives. It’s hard to imagine a world without the Writers’ Workshop or MFA programs, but those things didn’t happen overnight or by themselves. I hope these stories can help provide innovative forms of creativity and collaboration that make our communities more interesting and resilient.

As I write this, six episodes have been released and many episodes have been recorded or scheduled.

The Iowa Idea: Stories of Craft, Creativity, Collaboration, and Persistence from the Heartland can be found online at and through most podcast services. You can follow The Iowa Idea podcast on Twitter and Linked in.

Thanks for the time. I hope you enjoy the podcast.


bottom of page