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Fourth Annual 42 Hours of Re_Creativity Competition

  • December 18, 2014
  • By Michelle Krell Kydd     
Interdisciplinary teams of students create wearables from upcycled materials.


The fourth annual 42 Hours of Re_Creativity competition took place on October 24th – 26th, 2014, at the Duderstadt Center at the University of Michigan’s North Campus. Nine interdisciplinary student teams competed for three prizes totaling $2650. This year’s competition focused on wearables using recycled materials. The students took a variety of approaches to “making” which included fashioning dresses out of recyclable items and creating performance art pieces based on the wearables theme.

Students’ robust approaches to problem solving reflect how 42 Hours of Re_Creativity serves as a catalyst for inspiring creative capacity. The competition builds skills by establishing conditions for problems to be analyzed in ways that may not have been previously considered. Students learn that solutions may be found in processes that are problem-generative; an approach that can seem counterintuitive in disciplines that live next to or outside of the arts.

An interdisciplinary panel of three experts served as judges for this year’s competition and included: Lynn Conway, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Emerita at the University of Michigan; William Milam, Technical Expert, Embedded Systems, Ford Research and Innovation; and Lia Min, Joint Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and Adjunct Lecturer at The University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute and the Penny Stamps School of Art and Design. Each judge was impressed with the quality of the students’ work and the level of thoughtfulness put into conceptual designs. The results were provocative and challenging for the judges when it came time to select the winners.

Dr. Mark Jones, Program Director for Living Arts, reflects on the outcome of the competition, “The students really raised the bar this year. They came up with new ideas I didn’t anticipate. I was particularly impressed by two performance art pieces that illustrated creative approaches to addressing the reusability aspect of the challenge in a way that we haven’t seen in past competitions. If we could give awards to everyone, this would have been the year to do it. The students’ work was outstanding. There were no losers in this year’s competition,” says Jones.

Jones reflects on the work of the winning team, “the Upcycle team, who took first place, had a well thought out plan that was simple in concept but, had the potential to grow into something marketable while bringing awareness to the issue of waste created by plastic bags; an important environmental issue. Upcycle team members thought of an important message and incorporated a way to promote the message sustainably via marketing. This is what pushed them to the top.”

42 Hours of Re_Creativity Participants

First Place: Upcycle
Upcycle focused on creatively reusing recyclable materials and created a marketing plan focused on promoting the importance of being environmentally conscious as a consumer. Using plastic grocery bags and discarded fabric, Upcycle used a heat source to mold the plastic bags into backpacks and laptop bags for students. They also created a logo for the bags that, when students are wearing them, promotes the concept of recycling and being environmentally conscious. They plan to use the first prize award as seed money to start their business so they can mass-produce their product.

  • Brandon Goethals – Engineering
  • John Larsen – LSA
  • Chance Munger – Engineering
  • Han Na Shin – Art and Design

Second Place: Harsha
Harsha took a unique approach to the concept of wearable items by producing a performance art piece that was based on the story of Prometheus as seen through the lens of modern day man. With one of their team members bound and chained, a ringing telephone was placed before him on a platform as he struggled to reach it. With the phone seemingly mocking him, the scene was meant to portray man being denied the technology that he so desperately craves.

  • Kate Arnson – Engineering
  • Spencer Haney – Engineering
  • Ellen High – Art and Design
  • Jake Myers – LSA
  • Tanner Petch – Art and Design

Third Place: Metamorphosis
Metamophosis focused on the issue of blindness and other sight related issues. Using old 35 mm film and discarded compact discs, this group created extensions for the fingers that would allow a visually challenged person to have a better sense of the immediate environment in which they move. The extensions served as a type of “bumper” for objects that they may have otherwise run into. They also created headgear for the eyes using compact discs. These were designed in a way to direct light into the eyes in order to give a person with limited sight a sense of the direction in which they were headed or what may be in their path.

  • Michelina Risbeck – Art and Design
  • Jennifer Yang – School of Business
  • Victor Yang – College of Engineering

Other participants in the fourth annual 42 Hours of Re_Creativity competition included: Angela Brazil, Zachary Boulanger, Brianna Broderick,  Sarah Chen, Maya Elise Crosman, Patrick Dunlop-Karagianis, Ava R. Farab, Paul Giessner, Charles Gushue, Katelyn Hoag, Peter Larsen, Gloria Li, Xingjian Liao, AnneMarie Mueller, Hannah Nathans, Kyle Oberleiter, Michael Parmelee, Anthony Renwand, Ira Richardson, Daniel Segal, Mihir Sheth, Samuel Sikanas, Michael Wang, John Yoon, and Haolu Zhang.