• Artists don’t typically start with a hypothesis, or structure their practice to prove that hypothesis. But I think that artistic practice can itself be a form of research and knowledge production. In art, the outcomes may be more open-ended, but they’re driven by a similar process of inquiry and desire for discovery.

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Emerging Creatives: Tess Torregrosa, Northeastern University

  • March 14, 2017
  • By Amy Tackitt     
It was my “eureka” moment, proving that my two majors, chemical engineering and drama, could work together in harmony.


IMG_5791My senior year at Tufts University, I saw Orchids to Octopi by Melinda Lopez, a play about evolution. It was my “eureka” moment, proving that my two majors, chemical engineering and drama, could work together in harmony. Fast-forward two years to a chemical engineering Ph.D. student, struggling to find a community of people who were interested in both STEM and the arts. I went to the MIT Hacking Arts Festival and found scientists and artists who were interested in turning art on its head. But after a quick 24 hours, it was over, and I was back in the real world, hungry for more. When I touched down in Gainesville for the a2ru Emerging Creative Students Conference, I really wasn’t sure what to expect (I don’t think anyone really is), only thinking that I was ready to be open to all sorts of ideas. There. Were. So. Many. Ideas. Every conversation I had, from geological modeling, farm houses being turned into galleries, different meanings of access, to the carbon footprint of art and science, was so refreshing and unexpected. Throughout the three days I just kept repeating to myself, “I found my tribe,” these people, who were not just artists and scientists exploring this intersection because it was cool, but to actually inspire activism. I think that the most important takeaway from over those three days we spent exhaustingly deep design thinking, was that both STEM and the arts heavily relied on the process of trying and failing and tweaking until finding success. I found it really interesting that in both fields the finished piece is considered most important to the general public, but both scientists and artists respect the process and will to get there. This realization has inspired me to integrate art into my Ph.D. thesis. I’m thankful to have been part of a weekend that brought together so many inspiring people into the same room.