Growing up in a scientific and artistic family, I’ve always had an interest in the hybridity of the two. My Dad taught my brother and I biology, ecology, and systems-thinking regarding the Earth’s ecosystems, where my Mom taught us the discipline and patience to learn music. a2ru encapsulates these pursuits, and the emerging creatives summit allowed for further like-minded collaboration between other young professionals and university faculty to meet, discuss, and learn about the power this hybridity offers towards creative solutions around the world’s most pressing issue: water.
Having a chance to be ourselves at the summit was my favorite part. People are more engaged when they have the opportunity to express who they are from their own perspective and working towards a common goal without instructions to prime a particular direction really allowed our creativity to really flourish. This creative drive only grew through participating groups’ arts/sciences approach, providing evidence-based products of very real solutions to water-related issues. Education for communities young and old – one example included a game to educate families where participants build a pizza and learn the expenditure of water at every level (pepperoni pizza costs around $70 to make!) – was the predominant approach, with fun and easy to explain ideas highlighting the summit.
The diversity present within our (and every) group at the summit further exemplified both the freedom to create solutions and desire to share in common passion for arts/science collaborative development. Climate change issues also contributed to the summit, with narrative design and emotional connection through music to overarching issues providing similar drive to create solutions as water issues alone. Emerging creatives at the summit really got their hands dirty through interactive project development of their own doing, and I think that engaged students at a level far greater than panel discussions and lunch/dinner conversation alone.
One last thought to share, STEAM education is essential. No matter the cost, we must continue to push for the humanizing effects offered through arts education opportunities not present in the other contributing fields to the same extent. Emotions are stimulated via the arts, yielding personal connection to a cause, be it water, food shortage/obesity, literacy/illiteracy, smoking/health, sex education, cultural sensitivity or otherwise. Emotions are an essential part of communicating messages that elicit meaningful response, and the hybridity of the arts and sciences via a2ru initiatives like the Emerging Creatives Summit offer participants the chance to collaboratively get dirty and produce personally impassioned solutions to life’s pressing issues.