Go to main navigation Navigation menu Skip navigation Home page Search

A Note on Notes; a brief record of points or ideas written down as an aid to memory

Art Initiative asked Sara Rosengren, Professor of Business Administration (Marketing), to write a text on Elisabeth Frieberg´s mural in the premises of the center she is heading - Center for Retail at SSE. And she did:


Color notes by Elisabeth Frieberg from her visit at Vihamanaafushi, one of the islands in the Maldives, in 2019. 

Note taking is a skill perhaps more often associated with the life of students than that of artists. But, paying attention, taking note, is a key skill that we all need to nurture regardless of our chosen path. Through note taking we can store experiences for the future. Through note taking we move from passive consumers of experiences and knowledge to active creators of ideas and insights. There is research showing how note taking by hand leads to a more active processing of the content and better memory and learning than other approaches, such as typing or recording what has been said.

When first seeing Elisabeth Frieberg’s notes I was intrigued. These notes are far from mine. If we were both to experience the same thing, Frieberg’s notes would be sorted in colors and shapes, mine in letters and lists. Had I gone diving in the Indian Ocean, my notes would have been verbal, not visual. Had I been asked by the SSE Art Initiative to use my notes to create something for the school, that something would have been a lecture or text (a note just like this?). When Frieberg’s uses her notes, artworks, paintings, and this mural, come to life.

Having Frieberg’s notes taking shape on the walls of Center for Retailing can be seen as a reminder to the importance of actively keeping track of what you experience. But, also of systematically documenting and digesting experiences and knowledge gained in a way that allows them to become part of your own person at the same time as they are available to aid memory for the future.

Having Frieberg’s note taking shape on the walls is a reminder of the importance of curiosity and play when it comes to putting your knowledge and skills to use. On the walls Frieberg’s notes are transformed into visuals and shapes spanning two floors and close to 150 square meters. In the mural there are several imperfections. But these imperfections are not based on lack of knowledge, but rather embedded in expertise. These imperfections make the mural come to life.

Vihamanaafushi, Indian Ocean is one of many places vulnerable to climate change. As such the mural will remind students and faculty at the school not only about the wonders of nature, but also of the responsibility we all have for the conditions on earth. Just as with Frieberg’s art, our abilities to take note and to be curious and brave in how we use our knowledge and skills will be important in addressing this and other challenges.

Text by:

Sara Rosengren, Professor of Business Administration (Marketing) and Head of Center for Retailing (CFR)


Sara Rosengren and Elisabeth Frieberg, at Center for Retail, June 2023.