Creativity, Entrepreneurship, & Arts Education - Danish Film School, Copenhagen, Denmark, August 17, 2018

Guest presentation by Skype to a seminar in which participants were assessing their work to date on the integration of entrepreneurship across the complete director / producer relationship, and developing next stage strategies. I drew on my creativity research plus film school leadership experience to make the case that if entrepreneurship is understood more broadly than the standard business definition, the perceived tension between creativity and commerce is mitigated to the benefit of all screen learning and production specializations. 


Mirror / Hammer: How Film & TV Schools Reflect & Redefine Society & Culture - CILECT Ibero-American Region Conference, Bogota, Colombia, August 31, 2017

This was one of my favorite keynote presentations because I was able to connect my work on creativity with questions of social responsibility and activism that used to be central in almost all film education but have been submerged beneath the cold realities of neoliberal market dogma. The film education culture least compromised (though not unaffected) is in Latin America. Almost all the other conference presentations were in Spanish, and the only simultaneous translation was into Spanish from English during my presentation. Having to find ways to understand the other concepts and perspectives being presented was a most pleasurable challenge. This was also where Jyoti Mistry and I realized the synchronicities across our work.

Discussing The Psychology Of Creativity - Radio New Zealand Interview, Auckland, New Zealand, March 14 & May 24, 2015

This was included in the New Zealand radio show Standing Room Only, which "is literally radio with pictures... and arts, theatre, film, comedy, books, dance, entertainment, pop culture, and music – all the things, in other words, that make life worth living." I enjoyed the conversation very much, even with some travel fatigue (not jet-lag), which always seems to help me. Note how well I settled into the cadences of the Kiwi accent.

Creativity: Embodied, Extended, Enactive - Tallinn University, Estonia, January 11, 2018

I met Pia Tikka after she gave a mesmerizing presentation at the 2017 CILECT Congress in Zurich and we had what turned into about a 2 hour conversation. One thing led to another and Pia invited me to visit the lab in Tallinn that is the base for her Enactive Virtuality Research Group. The visit was short, but I did finish with a presentation to a group of faculty and staff that helped me work through the enactive part of my creativity picture. Pia Tikka is doing fascinating work at the intersection of enactivism, avatar deployment, cinema theory, and virtuality.

Being Human In A World Of Intelligent Machines - CNA Digital Innovation Seminar, UFVA Conference,  Las Vega, Nevada, July 31, 2016

When the University of Nevada, Las Vegas hosted the 2016 University Film & Video Association Conference, the timing meant the entire event had to take place in one of the "conference casinos" rather than at the university campus. CILECT North America (CNA) curated and provided a conference pre-day discussion around digital innovation, and Francisco Menendez convinced me to present in order to connect the inevitable "tech and toys" focus with deeper questions of the kind he knew I was addressing in my creativity research. I was skeptical as to how a 45 minute dose of philosophical rumination would be received, but Francisco was right: a lot of attendees really did want to get into some positive ways of thinking about human centrality in a world of AI.

I/WE: Collaborative Creativity & The Urban Matrix - Cities In A Climate Of Change Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, July 4, 2015

This conference provided me with an opportunity to explore more deeply what I think of as the "myth of individual primacy". In my keynote I presented the idea that human beings do not start life as atomized individuals who over time develop a network of connections in which they constitute a discrete node. I contend that this atomized assumption underpins much of what inhibits learning and creativity. It is more accurate to see the individual as a partial distillate from a social vapor that precedes and surrounds her. Teased out, this means the individual is always in a state of flux that's like a detectable, shifting current in an ocean rather than a solid entity in a fixed edifice. Conclusion: "Given the embodied and socially situated nature of our cognitive abilities, we should treat the urban environment through which we move as both a matrix and raw material for the imaginative and generative recursion to which we are so well adapted."


Metamorphosis of Cinematic Experience - Universidade Lusófona, Lisbon, Portugal, October 6, 2017

I made one of the keynote presentations at a two day conference called Assembling Essemble. The Essemble project was a 7 year initiative of Universidade Lusófona developed in partnership with the ifs- International Film School CologneLuca Art School in Brussels, MOME Budapest and TH Köln to explore the frontiers of language and film narrative and how the diversity of aesthetic and artistic domains are extending. I concentrated on exploring the future for screen creators & audiences in a world of virtual and augmented reality. Started the presentation with an José Saramago quote in Portuguese - very satisfying.

Imagination And Artistic Development - School of the Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois - October 6, 2015

Earlier in 2015 I had met Mary Jane Jacob in New Zealand when we gave the keynote addresses at a conference called Cities in a Climate of Change. We both found it amusing that we had been working half a mile apart in Chicago for years and never met. Once we were back in the U.S. Mary Jane and I started having often highly esoteric conversations over lunch at the Palmer House that were intellectually addictive (the food wasn't bad either). Mary Jane invited me into an initiative she had going at SAIC, where I met Walter Osika, a fascinating Swedish medical researcher with a special interest in stress who was based in Chicago for a year. Then there were three of us at the now hyper-addictive lunches. Early in this period Mary Jane asked me to give this presentation to a group of SAIC faculty and staff.  

Educating For A Creative Future: Integrating Art & Science - Creative Thinking Project Creative Fellow Presentations, New Zealand, March 2015

As the fourth Creative Fellow selected by the Creative Thinking Project I spent a month based at the University of Auckland and gave presentations in Auckland, Wellington (at the National Museum - Te Papa), and New Plymouth (in association with the Govett-Brewster Gallery, repository of Len Lye's work - Lye is to blame for me first noticing experimental film as a 14 year old). In the presentations I focused on how recent work in fields such as neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and cognitive psychology undermines both the extreme polarization of art and science in education and the rigid silos of specialization that dominate academia. This was my first concerted attack on cognitivist theories of mind that give primacy to brute computation across passive mental representations, and the beginning of my attempts to incorporate aspects of what's now called 4E cognition into my "ecology of creativity".