Brainstorm Symposium Explores Creative Thinking

David Kirsh, Scott deLahunta, Philip Barnard, Robert Whitman, Elizabeth Streb, and Michael Gordon to Participate

March 31, 2011 - Montclair State University's Office of Arts and Cultural Programming will present Brainstorm, a symposium exploring concepts of creative thinking on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at the Alexander Kasser Theater. Presenters include leaders in creative research and choreographic, performance, and visual arts exploring cognitive tools for accessing creativity, and how barriers can be broken through the creative process. The development of Choreographic Thinking Tools by the R-Research component of Wayne McGregor | Random Dance will be highlighted. This event is free and open to the public, with particular appeal to those interested in creativity and the creative process as it is realized through the arts, science, and education.

Brainstorm will include presentations by David Kirsh, professor of Cognitive Science at the University of California, San Diego; Scott deLahunta, R-Research director for Wayne McGregor | Random Dance; and Philip Barnard, program leader of the Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge.  The event will conclude with a panel discussion and question and answer session with performance/visual artist Robert Whitman, choreographer Elizabeth Streb, and composer Michael Gordon discussing intuitive creative thinking and the mental processes behind each artist's creative output.

According to Jedediah Wheeler, executive director of Montclair State University's Office of Arts and Cultural Programming: "Art and science have a natural synergy at Montclair State, as evidenced in the University's academic programs and in the realization of this transdisciplinary symposium.  Brainstorm also reflects my belief that art is universal and shares interests with other disciplines - helping people with divergent goals find common ground."

Brainstorm was developed as part of the 2010 Creative Campus Innovations Grant awarded to Montclair State University. The grant program is made possible by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Brainstorm is free and open to the public. Tickets will be issued on a first come, first serve basis.Tickets are available online at or by calling the Peak Performances box office at 973-655-5112. Free shuttle bus service is available from NYC by calling the box office or by reserving seats via the website (a bus reservation notice will pop up when ordering).

Montclair State University
Montclair State offers the advantages of a large university -- a comprehensive undergraduate curriculum with a global focus, a broad variety of superior graduate programs through the doctoral level, and a diverse faculty and student body -- combined with a small college's attention to students.

Schedule of Events
Tuesday, April 12, 2011; 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Montclair State University | Alexander Kasser Theater

Dance Engaging Science (1:00 p.m.)
David Kirsh, professor of Cognitive Science at UC San Diego
In collaboration with Wayne McGregor | Random Dance and using Random Dance rehearsals as a case study, Kirsch explores such questions as how dancers use their bodies to think, how memory is distributed across a group, and the differences between directions conveyed through speech, sounds, touch, gesture, and body movement.

Tools for the Imagination (2:15 p.m.)
Scott deLahunta, R-Research director for Wayne McGregor / Random Dance
Philip Barnard, program leader, Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge
Arts researcher deLahunta and cognitive psychologist Barnard apply insights from science to the creative process developed in collaboration with choreographer Wayne McGregor. They will discuss the development of Choreographic Thinking Tools in application with professional dancers from Wayne McGregor | Random Dance and in other contexts, including students at Montclair State.

Thinking Out Loud (3:15 p.m.)
Michael Gordon, composer
Elizabeth Streb, choreographer
Robert Whitman, performance/visual artist
Artists and researchers offer perspectives on thinking tools in the context of the creative process and engage with leading creators in the fields of dance, performance and visual art, and music, to probe the mental processes behind intuitive creative expression.