January 2016 Director’s Fellows Updates

By phewing, 2 years ago

Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s start 2016 with good news from our Fellows.

Ben Flannagan, from the Al Arabiya News Arts and Culture section, interviews Sultan Al Qassemi about the Arab art exhibit recently unveiled at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.

Maurice Ashley has teamed up with The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis to launch after-school chess programs in the Ferguson-Flourissant district. St. Louis has a rich chess tradition and routinely hosts chess championships. The U.S. Senate passed a resolution last year declaring the city the “Chess Capital” of the U.S. Read more about this initiative in Education Week’s most recent article: Cultivating Young Chess Masters in Some of St. Louis’s Poorest Schools.

Gillian Caldwell is continuing her collaboration to build a beta online storytelling and advocacy platform with MIT’s Media Lab via Global Witness, the organisation she leads from London. She will also be attending the annual TED conference in Vancouver Canada in February and would love to connect with any Director’s Fellows who are planning to be there.

Gabriella Gomez-Mont was approached by Josep Roig from United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), a global network of city government representatives, to “hack” Habitat III by giving space to a more speculative and bold thinking-ground about the next 20 years of city living. Gabriella and her team at Laboratorio para la Ciudad have been given free rein to invite 10-15 guests to a two-day meeting in NYC titled “The Future Edge of Cities: a 20-Year View.” Guests will have an opportunity to meet, talk and budget for an editorial project that will grow out of this encounter. Results of the meeting will be presented at Habitat III, and shared with city Mayors around the globe.

Gabriella was also interviewed by Rebecca Greenwald, from Metropolis Magazine, about the Laboratorio para la Ciudad, and the work Gabriella and her team are doing in Mexico City.

Dream Corps Unlimited, the nonprofit social and enterprise incubator founded by Director’s Fellow Van Jones, is launching a multimillion-dollar #YesWeCode scholarship fund and other programs next year.

Joyce Kim’s Stellar.org is featured on Bitcoin Magazin’s article: What’s New on the Upgraded Stellar Network.

Marco Tempest reports that the video of his INK Asia presentation is now available online: A Magic Show Like You’ve Never Seen. Also, his new website is up and running. Take a look!

Read Baratunde Thurston’s latest contribution to Fast Company: The Human Shield Against Technology.

This month, we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with various fellows in creating exciting opportunities of learning and sharing as part of the Independent Activities Period:

Gabriella Gomez-Mont and two team members from her Lab in Mexico City, Sofía and Daniel, visited the Lab for two days of meetings and work sessions, continuing the conversations and collaborations that started when various students attended the Mexico City workshop last September.

Jeff Sturges brought us an incredible experience titled: Music as a Tool for Conviviality: How does music — its tools, environments, experiences, and culture — contribute to a convivial society? Can musical tools be used to build conviviality? Through presentation, conversation, audience-interactive demonstration and performance, Jeff and Aaron Blendowski of Uno Nix shared—and invited participants to share—their explorations in music making, and in making music more inclusive. Fellow artist Onyx Ashanti shared his research on creating music capable of programming one’s own mind and interfacing it with computers for the purpose of designing and programming new species of realities.

The Director’s Fellows program is working with Katy Croff Bell, Expedition Leader of the E/V Nautilus, an ocean-going oceanographic research vessel, to design a 3-day research expedition off the coast of southern California next July. The expedition would accommodate 8-9 students and faculty sailing on the Nautilus itself and additional land-based team members participating virtually from the Media Lab or from the Inner Space Center in RI. Participating individuals and teams would be chosen in February and would develop their projects over the course of the spring semester in preparation for the expedition in July. Ideally, the data collected or prototypes tested on the expedition would be used by students for their SM/PhD theses. In preparation for this adventure, we held an information session and workshop at the Lab, during which students shared and developed ideas with Katy and other guests.

Allison Tauziet offered the most incredible journey for the senses during a 3-hour session called Wine: A Vehicle for Exploring the Range of Human Senses. Allison talked about winemaking as an expression of her creativity via her connection to the land, and how biology reinforces that connection. By tasting styles and vintages from around the world under Allison’s guidance those attending the class learned about the philosophy, the science, and the sensuality of wine.