April 11, 2018

PU’s CST, Engineering, and Lewis Center Present “Living at the Intersection”

By Donald Gilpin

Engineering and the arts will interweave in a variety of venues and manifestations April 12-13 on the Princeton University campus in a series of performances, panel sessions, and a keynote address by American sculptor and fiber artist Janet Echelman. The event is presented by Princeton University’s Council on Science and Technology (CST) and is co-hosted by Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and by the Lewis Center for the Arts.

CST’s inaugural “Living at the Intersection Symposium” will open on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Murphy Dance Studio at the Lewis Center for the Arts with a performance of dance faculty member Rebecca Lazier’s “There Might Be Others.” Featuring So Percussion, New York dancers, Princeton alumni dancers, and guests, “There Might Be Others” is a dance, music, and engineering collaboration that examines the role of presence, performer agency, and collective decision-making to create a composition. From 7-8:30 p.m., faculty, students, and staff will showcase their work bridging engineering and the arts in the Forum of the Lewis Arts complex.

The symposium will continue Friday at the Friend Center Convocation Room with the keynote address and panel discussions designed to “engage participants in a lively and forward-looking conversation about living at the intersection of engineering and the arts with researchers, artists, faculty, students, and professionals who create at or near this intersection,” according to Evelyn H. Laffey, senior associate director of CST.

“People are really excited about this event,” Laffey said. “We thought it was time to bring these people together. So many of these faculty are more than their discipline or department labels. Part of the inspiration for this comes from courses we’ve developed in partnership with faculty and in supporting research that our faculty does.”

She continued, “Many of these participants have collaborated for years, advancing their respective fields, but also pushing the boundaries towards new ways of doing dance, music, and engineering. Many of them have spoken at great length about how moving their collaboration has been.”

The four panel topics include Asking Questions; Taking Risks; Form Beyond Function; and Inspiration, Collaboration, and Process, with the final panel presenting one example of an engineering-arts team that will discuss how they were inspired to collaborate, use processes within and across disciplinary fields, advance their respective fields, and craft theoretical and physical spaces for working at the intersection of engineering and the arts.

“Living at the Intersection” is designed to further CST’s mission to innovate and cultivate “opportunities to deepen and broaden participation in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math]. Its mission “is founded on the belief that scientific and technological literacy are essential to responsible decision-making and innovation in the 21st century and help us make the world a better place.” CST also directs its efforts towards “improving the understanding of the fundamentals of STEM, exploring the societal impact of STEM, and investigating synergies between STEM and the arts, humanities, and social sciences.”

All events in the two-day symposium are free and open to the public. To register, go to https://cst.princeton.edu/symposium.