UAB faculty mentor, student leader to attend a2ru Emerging Creatives conference

A2ru is an organization that helps to integrate the arts and art practices into other areas of study, such as engineering and medicine.
doug barrett 1University of Alabama at Birmingham Assistant Professor of Art Doug Barrett, MFA, and senior Betsy Cates, who is majoring in studio art graphic design, have been chosen to attend the a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Conference from Thursday, Jan. 30, through Saturday, Feb. 1, at Stanford University.

a2ru is the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, of which UAB is a founding member. The a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Conference is for students of all disciplines who are interested in crossing creative boundaries and actualizing collaborative projects. One hundred students from all over the country will attend. The conference will focus on providing the inspiration and tools needed to help emerging creative professionals develop, execute and sustain new interdisciplinary collaborative endeavors, according to the a2ru website.

Lauren Lake, chair of the UAB Department of Art and Art History, says it is a tremendous opportunity for faculty mentors and student leaders.

“I am pleased that Doug and Betsy were chosen to represent not only the UAB Department of Art and Art History but the College of Arts and Sciences and the entire university at the conference,” Lake said. “Support of this unique opportunity highlights the commitment we have for true arts engagement and practice in the research university.”

catesBarrett says the conference brings together students in many different areas of study and disciplines to work together on projects.

“a2ru is an organization helping to integrate the arts and art practices into other areas of study, such as engineering and medicine,” Barrett said. “I will act as a facilitator in the Winners Circle group. The facilitators help groups stay on track, work in a timely manner, and motivate and promote idea growth. Facilitators also keep notes and organize the groups’ materials. This is my first time facilitating a group, and it should be fun and interesting.”

The faculty participants will also observe Stanford’s Design School Bootcamp, as well as meet and discuss how the arts fit into a research institution with members of Stanford’s Art Institute.  

Student attendees will be given opportunities to develop a national network of interdisciplinary colleagues and future collaborators, hear from scholars and entrepreneurs about ongoing research, successful projects, and lessons learned related to interdisciplinary collaborative work, and learn strategies related to design thinking, as well as how dealing with failure can push ideas and projects forward.

Cates was part of Bloom Studio, a student graphic design group mentored by Barrett and tasked with helping to rebrand UAB’s Department of Art and Art History. Cates was a media fellow in fall 2013 with the UAB Digital Media Commons, and she specializes in graphic and Web design.