2023 Emerging Creatives Explores Design-Based Approaches to the Future

a2ru News, Cross-disciplinary

Mar 30, 2023

From March 2-5, 54 students from 19 universities convened at the University of Cincinnati’s new Digital Futures Building for this year’s Emerging Creatives Student Summit, “The Future: By Design.” 

Over the course of the 3-day event, a2ru Research Program Manager Veronica Stanich led the students through a series of workshops and exercises to strengthen their ideation and collaboration skills as they worked in teams to develop interdisciplinary, arts-inclusive projects.

In addition, students heard from a panel of Digital Futures Lab leaders and toured the building’s state-of-the-art facilities.


They also traveled to downtown Cincinnati to view the current exhibitions including “Ecologies of Elsewhere” at the Contemporary Art Center and meet with CAC Director of Interpretive Learning Shawnee Turner.


The summit culminated with presentations of the interdisciplinary projects that the students had created over the course of the weekend. Projects ranged from an installation educating the public around data security to an app to teach children social media literacy skills to a card game drawing connections between music and science.



Stanich says, “”From the time they meet each other on the first night to presenting their collaborative projects three days later, the Emerging Creatives have an intense schedule. It is remarkable to see how well they rise to the occasion/handle the pace set for them and, even more special, is the opportunity to witness their curiosity about peers from other institutions. The variety of disciplines really ignite shared exploration and then result in innovative, thought-provoking projects, but I think what the students got from the weekend far exceeds the tangible.”

Geoffrey Zhang, a government and information sciences student from a2ru partner school University of Maryland, said of his experience, “Emerging Creatives brings together people that think interdisciplinary – something that is hard to come by in my daily classes. I had chills talking with people that shared the same value of thinking beyond our own disciplines to solve the challenges of the future, conversations that ultimately led to the provocative and unexpected solutions we came up with for the future. With everyone coming from different backgrounds, it was also truly eye opening to see the different ways people approach design, and extremely fun to exchange those approaches to try out on our own. I will be thinking about the conversations I had at this conference for many years to come.”

To learn more and hear additional student perspectives about the event, read this article from a2ru member–and 2024 Emerging Creatives host!–Rochester Institute of Technology.

We want to extend a special thank you to our 2023 hosts, the University of Cincinnati Office of Research, for making the event such a success!

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