Creative Matters Lecture Series, 2016-2017

2016-2017 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 current Creative Matters lecture series lineup.

The Q Brothers

Q Brothers in conversation with Miriam Gilbert

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Mabie Theatre, Theatre Building

Before Hamilton: The Musical, there were The Q Brothers. The Chicago-based ensemble is world renowned for rewriting Shakespeare plays into contemporary expressions including Othello: The Remix and Funk It Up About Nothin’. This fall, they will work with students from the University of Iowa to devise, revise, and remix Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar into a modern hip-hop musical. In this project, they will explore the themes of fate, betrayal, and political corruption.

Miriam Gilbert, UI Emeritus Professor and Shakespeare scholar, will join them on stage as they discuss and demonstrate their creative process.

Please click here for coverage of the event.

Basil Twist

Basil Twist, puppeteer

Thursday, September 29, 2016
5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Room 240 of Art Building West

Basil Twist is a puppeteer and theater artist whose experiments with the materials and techniques of puppetry explore the boundaries between the animate and inanimate, the abstract and the figurative. This December, Twist is bringing his dynamic artistic style to the creative team developing an all new production of The Nutcracker for the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago with preview performances at the Hancher Auditorium, December 1-4. In addition to working on the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Twist’s works range from productions of classic stories to abstract visualizations of orchestral music and are informed by puppetry traditions from around the world. His maverick Rite of Spring – a ballet without dancers, made its world premiere in 2013. Twist is the recipient of a 2015 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant.”

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Leslie Jamison

Leslie Jamison, author

Compassion and Confession

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

The author of the acclaimed book The Empathy Exams, Leslie Jamison collection of visceral and revealing essays asked essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How can we feel another’s pain, especially when pain can be assumed, distorted, or performed? Her lecture for the Creative Matters series will go even deeper by exploring the moral and aesthetic complexities of narrating the lives of others. What kinds of creativity become possible in the act of writing about other peoples’ lives, and what kinds of creativity—or imagination—become ethically problematic when you are turning the lives of actual human beings into art? She will talk about the obligations a writer might feel towards her subjects—the interplay between guilt and the affection, between care and skepticism – drawing on her own experience as well as the work of other writers in the documentary tradition.

Jamison will also be presenting at the UI Carver College of Medicine’s 10th annual Examined Life conference, which explores the intersection between the arts and medicine. Jamison is a 2006 graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

Please click here for coverage of the event.

Paul Miller (DJ Spooky)

DJ Spooky, composer, multimedia artist

The Imaginary App

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Room 240 of Art Building West

DJ Spooky (aka Paul D. Miller) is the executive editor of ORIGIN Magazine, a composer, multimedia artist, editor and author of The Imaginary App. Part lecture, part demonstration, Miller will explore how technology has shaped creativity throughout history and continues to guide how we actualize the future.

His talk is centered around a short preview of his original electronic score EXPLORER I REMIX, commissioned by the University of Iowa and incorporating newly restored and digitized audio and visual data from the historic 1958 satellite mission by the late UI physicist James Van Allen that led to the discovery of the earth’s radiation belts. The musical score, which will premiere at the UI in spring 2017, will be accompanied by visuals created in collaboration with University of Iowa’s video team. EXPLORER I REMIX will be a moving collage at the intersection of art and science, seen through Miller’s unique perspective as a composer, DJ, and conceptual artist.

Please click here for coverage of the event.

Marc Edwards

Marc Edwards, environmental engineer & water activist

The Flint Michigan Water Crisis: Miracle or Disaster?

Thursday, October 27, 2016
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Room W10 of Pappajohn Business Building

Presenting the Richard L. Valentine Distinguished Lecture

Dr. Marc Edwards and his colleague, Mona Hanna-Attisha, were recently named to Time Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People” as a reflection of their publicly engaged scholarship during the Flint Michigan water crisis. Dr. Edwards previously researched the elevated lead levels in the drinking water of Washington, D.C. and Edwards publically discredited a scientifically indefensible report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that seemingly attempted to cover-up the issue. Edwards was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2007 for “playing a vital role in ensuring the safety of drinking water and in exposing deteriorating water-delivery infrastructure in America’s largest cities”.

Please click here for coverage of the event.

Joe Palca

Joe Palca, NPR science correspondent

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Room 100 Phillips Hall

After years of reporting for television, radio and publications including Nature and Science, NPR science correspondent Joe Palca radically changed his journalistic approach. Now in his eponymous series “Joe’s Big Idea,” he steps back from announcing what’s been cured in mice and instead explores how scientific ideas are translated into innovations and inventions. In this quest to delve deep into the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors, he invites listeners to share his fascination and be inspired.

Palca has won numerous awards, several of which came with attractive certificates. He, along with Flora Lichtman, is the co-author of Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us.

Please click here for coverage of the event.

panel discussion participants

Panel discussion with the creative team of the new Nutcracker

Monday, November 28, 2016
5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Hancher Auditorium

The creative team reimagining the Christmas classic The Nutcracker will join members of the Joffrey Ballet to discuss their process in this event at Hancher Auditorium.

The panel will include Christopher Wheeldon, one of the most sought-after choreographers working today. Award-winning scenic designer Julian Crouch will also be on the panel, as will Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Joffrey dancer April Daly. The panel will be moderated by Rebecca J. Ritzel who recently joined the Minneapolis Star Tribune staff as a performing arts critic and reporter. Prior to arriving in Minneapolis, she spent eight years as a freelance dance critic for The Washington Post.

The panel discussion is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required to attend.  The event is co-sponsored by the Creative Matters lecture series.

Please click here for coverage of the event.

Michael Rohd

Michael Rohd, artistic director

Devising Civic Practice: Listening is the New Revolution

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Room 240 of Art Building West

What does it take to build an effective, ethical and productive partnership across fields and areas of experience? Michael Rohd, Artistic Director of Center for Performance and Civic Practice and the Sojourn Theatre, will speak about his work with arts councils, service organizations, artists, community agencies and local governments around the country to make space and context for meaningful arts based partnership practice. The Sojourn Theatre’s current projects include How To End Poverty in 90 Minutes, a devised and participatory performance model for community engagement being staged in Chicago, Louisiana, Washington, DC, among others. 

 During Michael’s visit to the University of Iowa, he will lead a half-day workshop for faculty, staff, students, and community members, in partnership with the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, Division of Performing Arts, United Action for Youth, Riverside Theatre, and Hancher Auditorium.

Neri Oxman

Neri Oxman, architect and designer

Everything Is Connected: How to Innovate and Collaborate Across Diverse Disciplines

Thursday, April 20, 2017
7:30 PM
Main Lounge, Iowa Memorial Union

Neri Oxman’s breakthrough model, The Cycle of Creativity, is a Theory of Everything that boldly connects design, science, engineering, and art in surprising new ways. Oxman’s intention is to help organizations—any organization—break down silos, unleash latent potential, and create in truly interdisciplinary ways. Among leading organizations, the Cycle of Creativity is gaining tremendous influence. Based on years of her work, research, and observation, Oxman’s method is a major contribution—a total rethink of the future of innovation and collaboration.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required to attend.  The event is co-sponsored by the Creative Matters lecture series.

photo of David Grinspoon by Grand Central Publishing

David Grinspoon, astrobiologist

Earth in Human Hands: Creating Our Future with a Cosmic View of our Past

Tuedsay, April 25, 2017
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Room 240 of Art Building West

What are we doing here on this planet? Can a deep-time and deep-space viewpoint help us gain the perspective to create a sustainable civilization? Informed by comparative planetology and a survey of the major transitions in Earth history, David Grinspoon will describe a taxonomy of planetary catastrophes meant to illuminate the unusual nature of the “Anthropocene,” our current time of human-driven planetary changes, and reframe our environmental predicaments as part of a larger narrative of planetary evolution. This saga has now reached the pivotal moment when humans have become a major agent of global change, and geological and human history are becoming irreversibly conjoined. Is this a likely or even inevitable challenge facing other complex life in the universe? Possible implications for SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence) will be considered, as well as the choices our civilization faces in seeking to foster a wisely managed Earth.

Please click here for coverage of the event.