Living Arts: End of Year Symposium

  • June 13, 2014
  • By a2ru      
Students use standard phases of creative process while working in interdisciplinary teams to produce viable solutions to problems.


Living Arts is a residential learning community in Bursley Hall that focuses on interdisciplinary creativity and collaboration across engineering and the arts.  First-year students participating in Living Arts were given three concepts and asked to create interdisciplinary group projects using common phases of creative process. The prompts given, under the overall concept of innovation were light, motion and stability.  Through the process of research, internalizing, collaboration and visual representation, each group developed a unique approach to each of these concepts. Their projects were shared with the University of Michigan community on Saturday, April 13, 2014. Attendees had an opportunity to speak with students about their projects.

Mark Jones, Program Director for Living Arts, was impressed with the students’ projects, “They worked very hard to produce interesting and thought provoking projects. These final projects represented the third iteration after working through two earlier versions that were critiqued by staff and peers. It was impressive to see how well the groups worked through problem solving together and dealt with occasional conflicts that would arise. Some of the groups needed to stop their direction and begin all over again after delivering the first or second versions, making them frustrated at times, but ever more determined to deliver their best work.”

Jones was equally impressed with student engagement especially when it came to how they managed process and failure, “It was wonderful to see our students become more comfortable with giving and receiving constructive criticism, and using that information to improve the next iteration of their project. Our goal was not only to deliver a successful project, but to learn from others by working through difficult problems successfully and accepting failure as a learning modality. Failure is a perfectly acceptable outcome as long as it leads to analysis for the purpose of finding out why the process failed, coming up with an action plan to address the issues, and resuming efforts with a new set of improved parameters to yield a more successful outcome.”