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OpenGrounds Student Scholars Attend a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Conference

  • February 12, 2014
  • By Lindsey Hepler     
Regardless of the outcomes, the process of collaboration is a success because you are being exposed to new ideas that may extend and expand the definition of success.


The Art and Environmental Action Student Scholars, Director Bill Sherman, and Program Manager Lindsey Hepler, took part in the a2ru Emerging Creative Student Conference at Stanford University. The conference took place on  January 30 thru February 1st.

Students and leaders from a variety of disciplines who were interested in collaborating on interdisciplinary projects attended the conference. Apart from serving as a gathering of like-minded individuals, the conference focused on providing the inspiration and tools needed to help this group of emerging creatives develop, execute, and sustain new interdisciplinary collaborative endeavors.

Gwendolyn McGinn, one of the four University of Virginia scholars, reflected on the opportunity that the conference gave her to interact with a variety of students from univerisities across the nation.

These [interdisciplinary] conversations were the most important part of the weekend. [It provided] the opportunity to step outside our field and talk about what’s on our desks for the moment. Overlaps emerge, we’re introduced to differing and aligning academic inquiries. These glimpses are sure to alter my work in many tangible and intangible ways.

Music PhD candidate Jon Bellona’s emphasized the importance of using a shared language that allows scholars to communicate across disciplines. Bellona also emphasized the idea of “falling forward”.

Regardless of the outcomes, the process of collaboration is a success because you are being exposed to new ideas that may extend and expand the definition of success in ways we could never imagine (for example, capital, personal growth, professional growth, community development, strengthening relationships, etc.).

Bellona and fellow UVA scholar Erik DeLuca were able to perform their musical compositions at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford. While not a formal part of the a2ru Conference, Bellona noted that it, “was a nice highlight of interdisciplinary work that we do and a connection from one university to another.”

OpenGrounds, as an institution aiming to facilitate and strengthen collaboration among students from different disciplines, is constantly on the lookout for ways that other schools and institutions help their students do the same.

Earlier in 2013, OpenGrounds participated in George Kembel’s workshop at UVA that revolved around the design thinking process and how it could be applied to academia and design-conscious institutions. The goal for participating in such events is to discover how other institutions are facilitating collaboration among their members and to share some of what OpenGrounds has been doing to help UVA students and members of the community collaborate on interdisciplinary projects.

Photography by Yuto Watanabe