Creative Matters Lecture Series, 2015-2016

2015-2016 Creative Matters lecture series

The Creative Matters lecture series seeks to demonstrate that creativity is not only at the core of all research and discovery, but also central to our human experience. The exciting lineup of invited speakers included artists, thinkers, builders, and doers who challenge conventional thinking about creativity, science, and artistic expression, and borrow from a range of influences and disciplines in their work.
Click here for the 2016-2017 Creative Matters lecture series lineup.

photo of William D. “Bro” Adams

William “Bro” Adams

Creativity and the Common Good


Thursday, August 27, 2015
6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Room 240 of Art Building West


William “Bro” Adams is chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Adams’s formal education was interrupted by three years of service in the Army, including one year in Vietnam. It was partly that experience, he says, that motivated him to study and teach in the humanities. “…as a 20-year-old combat infantry advisor, I came face to face, acutely, with questions that writers, artists, philosophers, and musicians examine in their work — starting with, ‘What does it mean to be human?’”

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David Lang, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer

David Lang

Music and its secret powers for good and evil


Wednesday, September 16, 2015
7:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Room 240 of Art Building West


David Lang is one of America’s most performed composers and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, Musical America’s Composer of the Year for 2013, and Carnegie Hall’s Debs Composer’s Chair for 2013–2014.

Passionate, prolific, and complicated, Lang embodies the restless spirit of invention. Lang is at the same time deeply versed in the classical tradition and committed to music that resists categorization, constantly creating new forms.

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Sunil Iyengar, Research & Analysis Director, NEA

Sunil Iyengar

Measuring the U.S. Creative Economy


Monday, September 21, 2015
4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A


Sunil Iyengar is Director of Research & Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts

Iyengar and his team at NEA have partnered with organizations such as the Brookings Institution, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Institutes of Health to study the arts in relation to such topics as economic development and the health and well-being of older adults. He writes poetry, and his book reviews have appeared in publications such as the Washington Post, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle.

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photo of Etgar Keret

Etgar Keret

The Seven Good Years


Thursday, October 22, 2015
7:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Room 240 of Art Building West


Etgar Keret is the author of The Seven Good Years; Suddenly, A Knock on the Door; The Girl of the Fridge; Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God; Missing Kissinger; and Gaza Blues. Keret has received the Book Publishers Association’s Platinum Prize several times, the Chevalier medallion of France’s Order of Arts and Letters, and has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize and the Ministry of Culture’s Cinema Prize. His books are bestsellers in Israel and have been published in over thirty languages.

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Theo Jansen

Theo Jansen

Strandbeest – The Dream Machines


Tuesday, November 10, 2015
5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
C20 Pomerantz Center


Jansen, a kinetic sculptor, has been creating Strandbeest, wind-walking examples of artificial life, since 1990. What was at first a rudimentary breed has slowly evolved into a generation of machines that are able to react to their environment: “over time, these skeletons have become increasingly better at surviving the elements such as storms and water, and eventually I want to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives.”

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Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson

The American Scholar Now


Wednesday, December 9, 2015
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Englert Theatre


Marilynne Robinson is the recipient of a National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama, for “her grace and intelligence in writing.” She is the author of Lila, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, Gilead, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Home, winner of the Orange Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Robinson’s nonfiction books include When I Was a Child I Read Books, Absence of Mind, The Death of Adam, and Mother Country.

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Margaret Wertheim

Margaret Wertheim

The Poetic Enchantments of Science


Thursday, February 11, 2016
5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Room 240 of Art Building West


Margaret Wertheim is an internationally noted science writer and curator whose work focuses on the relations between science and the wider cultural landscape.
Wertheim also leads a project to re-create the creatures of the coral reefs using a crochet technique invented by a mathematician — celebrating the amazements of the reef, and deep-diving into the hyperbolic geometry underlying coral creation.

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Sarah Lewis

Sarah Lewis

The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery


Tuesday, April 12, 2016
6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Room 240 of Art Building West


Where do new innovations—new ideas—spring from? It’s an enduring enigma, but, in this exquisite talk, Sarah Lewis offers a new understanding of what enables creative endeavors.
Drawing on figures such as Frederick Douglass, Angela Duckworth, J. K. Rowling, and others, Lewis reveals the importance of play, grit, surrender, often ignored ideas, and the necessary experiments and follow-up attempts that lead to true breakthroughs.

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