2022 Emerging Creatives Student Summit Recap

a2ru News

Mar 18, 2022

a2ru’s 2022 Emerging Creatives, Learning in Liminal Spaces: Transformative Visions for the 21st Century, was a success! R. Benjamin Knapp, Founding Director of Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) and Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech, commented: “The creation of this Emerging Creatives Summit was, in itself, a creative process of ideation between a2ru, Steelcase, CannonDesign, and ICAT. This was the first time in the history of Emerging Creatives that companies were part of the summit. These ICAT board members contributed toward both the design and implementation of the summit and, because of this, it exceeded all my expectations. The transdisciplinary and diverse range of the students attending and the wonderful Steelcase WorkLife Center created an incredible energy that culminated in amazing ideas on the future of learning in liminal spaces.” Below, you’ll get a glimpse of some of that energy and see what the students worked on during the summit.


The students began their time hearing from representatives from this year’s sponsors: R. Benjamin Knapp from ICAT at Virginia Tech, Patricia Bou from CannonDesign, and Andrew Kim from Steelcase.


The next day, they headed to Steelcase, where they received tours of the D.C. showroom and got a look at some of the fun things they’d be able to use while creating their projects.


Students Amit Kaushik (UGA) and Yukti Agarwal (RISD) gave lightning talks, sharing their research with everyone present.


The first day ended with a trip to the Smithsonian Arts + Industries’ FUTURES exhibit, where students had the opportunity to speak with the exhibit’s curator, Ashley Molese.


a2ru Research Program Manager Veronica Stanich had a blast talking to the students about interdisciplinary collaboration, teamwork, and conflict management. We’re pretty sure the students enjoyed working with her too.


Representatives from a2ru, CannonDesign, ICAT, and Steelcase served as mentors throughout the summit, and before final presentations, students had two feedback sessions with these mentors which helped them to improve their projects and presentations. One of these mentors, Andrew Kim (Steelcase), commented on the experience, saying, “The a2ru Emerging Creatives Summit was a wonderful opportunity for the students, faculty, and sponsors to engage on the topic of Liminal Spaces and to reimagine learning experiences. I was especially impressed with the transdisciplinary backgrounds of the students and their ability to collaborate effectively with others from different disciplines. I was inspired by their enthusiasm for creating more equitable and impactful learning experiences.”


The final projects included:

  • a radically reimagined lecture hall,
  • a mobile sensory-friendly safe space,
  • a zine series to promote grassroots community learning,
  • an intentions-based study app, and
  • an interactive art installation conceptualizing the shared roots of academic disciplines.

From initial brainstorming sessions to final presentations, these students demonstrated true curiosity, intellectual flexibility and creativity.

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