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These 250th Anniversary Conversations are an extension of interviews that Professor Richard Fishman is conducting as part of the Creative Mind Initiative (CMI), a program to develop innovative strategies for creative thinking.

CMI explores the creative process and integrates it across disciplines, and between students and faculty. Fishman is a Professor of Visual Art, Director of the Creative Arts Council and the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, and co-founder of the Creative Mind Initiative. Since 1965, Fishman has pioneered interdisciplinary initiatives that seek points of collaboration between artists, scientists, and scholars.

Creative Mind: The Videos

Terrie "Fox" Wetle is a Professor of Health Services, Policy, and Practice, and the inaugural dean of the School of Public Health at Brown. Fox is an award-winning researcher who concentrates on assessing and improving the health infrastructure for American senior citizens. Brown's School of Public Health houses a variety of undergraduate and graduate research centers that seek to address devastating health crises including AIDS, Preventative Medicine, and Alcohol Addiction.

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Eric Ehn is the Head of Playwriting and Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies. Work includes The Saint Plays, No Time Like the Present, Wolf at the Door, Tailings, Beginner, Ideas of Good and Evil, and an adaptation of Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. The Soulographie project is currently in development — a series of 17 plays written over 20 years, on the history of the US in the 20th Century from the point of view of its genocides; it was produced at La MaMa, in NY, November 2012 (scripts included Maria Kizito, Heavenly Shades of Night are Falling, Yermedea, Drunk Still Drinking). His works have been produced in San Francisco (Intersection, Thick Description, Yugen), Seattle (Annex, Empty Space), Austin (Frontera), New York (BACA, Whitney Museum), San Diego (Sledgehammer), Chicago (Red Moon), Atlanta (7 Stages), Los Angeles (Cal Rep, Museum of Jurassic Technology), Belgrade (Dah), and elsewhere.

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Jim Head is the Louis and Elizabeth Scherck Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences. He came to Brown University in 1973, following his work with the NASA Apollo program, in which he analyzed potential landing sites, studied returned lunar samples and data, and provided training for the Apollo astronauts. His current research centers on the study of the processes that form and modify the surfaces, crusts, and lithospheres of planets, how these processes vary with time, and how such processes interact to produce the historical record preserved on the planets. Comparative planetology, the themes of planetary evolution, and application of these to the study of early Earth history are also of interest.

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Odest "Chad" Jenkins is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Brown University.  His research group, Robotics, Learning and Autonomy at Brown (RLAB), explores topics related to human-robot interaction and robot learning, with a specific focus on robot learning from human demonstration and robot software systems. His work strives towards realizing robots and autonomous systems as effective collaborators for humans in real-world tasks.

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Lawrence E. Larson is the Founding Dean of Brown University's School of Engineering. He holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from UCLA and has worked at UCSD and Hughes Research Laboratories. His research explores innovations in wireless technologies that improve quality of life and tackle pressing global threats. He has put the Brown School of Engineering on the map as a top program and encouraged an interdisciplinary climate where engineering students collaborate with neuroscientists, archaeologists, sociologists, and medical doctors to generate creative solutions to broad-ranging problems.

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Richard Locke is the Howard R. Swearer Director of the Watson Institute for International Studies and a Professor of Political Science at Brown. Locke was previously head of  MIT's Sloan School of Management and Global Entrepreneurship Lab. His research explores the complexity of securing ethical labor practices in a globalized economy, and he has intensively studied the efficacy of various strategies for improving worker conditions at factories of international corporations like Nike, HP, and Apple.

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Amanda Lynch is Professor of Geological Sciences and Director of the Environmental Change Initiative at Brown. Her research seeks to model and predict climate patterns and emphasizes the rights of under-represented minorities in climate policy issues. Brown's Environmental Change Initiative is a University-wide initiative that draws from diverse disciplines to produce climate research and broadly assess the global repercussions of this data.

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Wolfgang Peti is an Associate Professor of Medical Science and Associate Professor of Chemistry. The focus of the Peti laboratory is to understand the basis of essential biological processes. The American Diabetes Association recently awarded $1.6 million to Peti for his research on type 2 diabetes.

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Sohini Ramachandran is an Assistant Professor of Biology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown who draws on human gene-pool data to help understand medical, linguistic, and evolutionary trends throughout human history. Her research examines human genes with and through other disciplines, in order to understand how gene mutations were affected by cultural, geological, and historical factors.

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Tricia Rose is a Professor of Africana Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America. She specializes in 20th century African-American culture and politics, social history, popular culture, gender, and sexuality. In addition to her scholarly interest in black cultural production, the role of new technologies and ideologies about race in U.S. life, and the politics of intimacy and social justice, a central facet of her work reflects a deep interest in examining the current legacies of racial and other forms of structural relations and exploring the creative and visionary strategies developed by artists, communities, and movements to build a more just society.

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Andries "Andy" van Dam is the Thomas J. Watson, Jr. University Professor of Technology and Education and Professor of Computer Science. He has been on Brown's faculty since 1965, and was one of the Computer Science Department's co-founders and its first Chairman, from 1979 to 1985. He was a Principal Investigator and was the Director from 1996–1998 in the NSF Science and Technology Center for Graphics and Visualization, a research consortium including Brown, Caltech, Cornell, North Carolina (Chapel Hill), and the University of Utah. He served as Brown's first Vice President for Research from 2002–2006. His research has concerned computer graphics, hypermedia systems, post-WIMP user interfaces, including pen-centric computing, and educational software. He has been working for over four decades on systems for creating and reading electronic books with interactive illustrations for use in teaching and research.

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Arnold Weinstein is the Edna and Richard Salomon Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at Brown. His numerous books, which include Morning Noon and Night: Finding the Meaning of Life's Stages Through Books and A Scream Goes Through the House: What Literature Teaches Us About Life draw together different literary traditions together to reveal fiction as a vital index to individuals' own hope, fear, and experience. In addition to being an award-winning teacher at Brown, Weinstein conducts a popular online course through coursera.com, The Fiction of Relationship.

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A hallmark of CMI is a series of short faculty interviews that provide an opportunity for Brown faculty to reflect on their creative process and to explore how the institutional culture at Brown nurtures creative teaching and research.

As we celebrate 250 years of Brown, themes of interdisciplinary dialogue, pioneering curriculum, and eclectic, empowered undergraduates commonly emerge in these conversations. Brown’s history of collaboration, independence, and creative thinking all played a role in attracting these extraordinary educators to campus. The students encountered in their classrooms and laboratories all exemplify the unique Brown spirit, contributing to a rich, diverse, and rigorous academic environment. This collection of interviews provides a glimpse into the creative minds of the faculty that help shape Brown today.

 

Richard Fishman is a sculptor, teacher, and creative entrepreneur. He is a Professor of Visual Arts, Director of the Creative Arts Council, and founder of the Creative Mind Initiative at Brown. His sculpture investigates the intersection of the natural world with man’s emotional landscape, often through manipulations of wood, glass, or gold. At Brown, Richard has pioneered interdisciplinary initiatives that seek points of collaboration between scientists and artists. The Creative Mind Initiative stages conversations and events that seek to showcase and enhance Brown’s creative climate.

 

To learn more about The Creative Mind Initiative, please visit BrownCreativeMind.com.

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