a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Conference

The a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Conference, hosted at Stanford, takes place Thursday, January 30, through Saturday, February 1, 2014. Over 100 interdisciplinary students, each from an a2ru partner university, were selected to attend this conference. All selected students share a deep interest in crossing creative boundaries and actualizing collaborative projects, and this conference provides the frameworks and tools to enable this group of emerging creatives to develop, execute, and sustain new interdisciplinary collaborative endeavors.

Students attending the a2ru Emerging Creatives Conference will:

  • Develop a national network of interdisciplinary colleagues and future collaborators from a2ru partner universities.
  • Learn from scholars and entrepreneurs about ongoing research, successful projects and lessons learned related to interdisciplinary collaborative work.
  • Push ideas and projects forward by acquiring design thinking, effective interdisciplinary communication and failure-seizing strategies.

Because a2ru is focused both on the infrastructural realities to which research universities must respond as well as the students that they serve, the Emerging Creatives Student Conference is specifically designed to extend students’ skillsets beyond those learned in the classroom. a2ru Interim Executive Director Dr. Anthony Kolenic explains that, “the a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Conference exemplifies a national movement that reaches beyond STEM to STEAM; it shows how interdisciplinary work inclusive of the arts can be further understood on its own terms and puts the tools with which to do so right into the students’ hands. Not only that, this conference will give students a much fuller picture of interdisciplinary scholarship and production because of its experiential approach.”

Not only will this conference provide students training in design thinking from the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, a.k.a the d.school, as well as access to a wide range of experts and scholars, it also makes possible the development of long-standing collaborations among students from a2ru partner institutions. a2ru Educational Specialist Lauren Fretz noted, “[i]t’s a terrific opportunity for interdisciplinary students from across the country to share their areas of expertise and work together on meaningful projects. Students have the opportunity, here, to create networks beyond their campuses that can continue well after the conference and even their formal educations.” Fretz organized the collaborative event with the generous help of the Stanford Arts Institute staff.

Students attending the a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Conference have self-selected into one of five areas of interdisciplinary interest that require arts-integrative problem solving:

  • “Arts & Hacks” is for students with an interest in productive troublemaking
  • “Projects for Social Justice” is for students interested in making the world a better place
  • “Odyssey” is for students interested in personal and/or professional growth and the pursuit of knowledge
  • “Winner’s Circle” is for students interested in competition, recognition and/or profit
  • “Wayfinders” is for students interested in general problem solving.

Stemming from these motivations for making and doing, students will generate projects using the interdisciplinary skills they already have and by enacting those they learn at the conference.

The hashtag for the a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Conference is #a2ruCreatives. To find out more about this and future a2ru conferences visit http://www.a2ru.org and click on the events tab.

The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) is a partnership of nearly 30 institutions committed to transforming research universities in order to ensure the greatest possible institutional support for interdisciplinary research, curricula, programs and creative practice between the arts and other disciplines.