Archive for the ‘conferences’ Category

Creativity and Cognition 2011

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Just back from Creativity and Cognition 2011, which was truly ace. I gave the paper I wrote with my co-supervisor, Prof. Ernest Edmonds, which people seemed to like. Saw some thought-provoking presentations and met a number of inspiring and wonderful people. Everything one could wish for in a conference, really.

Guy Claxton gave a truly thoughtful keynote. Creative-Mindedness: When Technology Helps and When It Hinders. He pointed out that formal education as it’s currently instituted systematically destroys the creative habits of mind. In response to a question on how precisely it does this, he referred to his chart of those habits. For example, one creative habit is inquisitiveness, which is damaged by the focus in structured curricula on requiring students to study questions they have not asked. Another is creative stamina & resilience (exemplified by Einstein, who said that it was not so much that he was especially clever, but more that he stayed with problems for longer). This is damaged by the scheduling of classes that require every problem to be solved in an hour.

The papers continued through the next few days – but there were also a  lot of excellent posters. Apparently as there was only a single track for papers, the organisers could not accept some submissions that were actually very good, so those people were encouraged to resubmit as posters. Which meant that the quality of work in the posters was pretty impressive.

Of course, it’s Creativity and Cognition so there was also room for art – my favourite works were Matt Ruby’s Sympathy for Pacman and Jack Stenner & Patrick LeMieux’s Open House: Interaction as Critical Reflection. To top it off, the conference was held at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, and we were permitted an after-hours tour. As well as some tragically unmoving Calder mobiles (which really don’t belong in temperature controlled rooms), there on a wall was perhaps my favourite artwork of all time: Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q. Shaved. Yes, you have to know the story for this one to work properly.

So finally: a few people asked for my slides, so after the break I’ll embed a Quicktime movie of them. Thank you everyone at C&C 2011, and especially the erstwhile organisers for providing such a great atmosphere for collaboration and creativity.


Notes from a SIGGRAPH Panel on Successful Collaboration Across Time & Space

Monday, August 8th, 2011


  • Tim McLaughlin – Texas A&M University
  • Tommy Burnette – Lucasfilm Singapore
  • Tim Fields – Certain Affinity
  • Jonathan Gibbs – DreamWorks Animation
  • David Parrish – Reel FX Creative Studios


Creativity and Cognition 2009

Monday, October 26th, 2009

In a few hours I’m off to Berkeley for Creativity and Cognition 2009 to participate in the Graduate Symposium. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ben Shneiderman, Jane Prophet and my advisor Ernest Edmonds will be among the speakers. I’m quite excited about the whole thing… updates to follow, or see my twitter feed in the meantime.


Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Despite United “Airlines” best efforts to prevent my attendance I’m at SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans, and twittering about it. And I just ran into the inimitable Ian Bogost, who was just visiting us in Sydney. Now try to tell me that geography still means what it used to mean.

OZCHI 2008

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Quite a cohort from CCS went to OZCHI this year. It was my first, and I got a pretty good overview; I presented a paper, attended a workshop and participated in the Doctoral Consortium. That last was particularly excellent. Paul Dourish, Margot Brereton and Wally Smith generously gave their time to help a roomful of PhD students make a little more sense of our personal maelstroms. All of them helped me considerably. I cite Paul rather a lot, and I’m kind of a fan so that was a buzz as well.

Naturally I twittered constantly, so my stream-of-consciousness impressions of OZCHI 2008 are archived for eternity, along with everyone else’s.

Run out of TEDTalks?

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

pop!tech has been doing the podcast thing since TED was still a stodgy old chatham-house confab. Copy and paste this URI into iTunes (or whatever it is you like to use on your custom-built Slackware rig) – don’t use the phobos link that iTunes will give you, it’s no good.

Design Transformations at CHI 2008

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

I arrived in Florence last week fairly alert, considering the time difference from Sydney. I’d done the right thing and stayed awake for the last 20 hours of the flight, crashed at my hotel on arrival in the evening and got a good 10 hours sleep before the opening plenary.

It was worth it. I hadn’t heard of Irene McAra-McWilliam (Head of the School of Design at the Glasgow School of Art) before but I’m a fan now. Her speech was uplifting. She wove a tapestry of design history and theory, to come elegantly to the conclusion that designers in a connected world have a responsibility to enable others; to come to some problems not with a solution but with a box of tools.

This is just what I hope to do with my research into creativity support tools, and it’s what I’m seeing in my studies of creative place. I don’t need to design the perfect virtual studio; I need to design an environment with the right parts and the right affordances, to enable inhabitants to configure the perfect studio for their task.

TED: Bjorn Lomberg spins and spins

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Bjorn Lomberg’s TED talk was so chock-full of basic errors of logic that I could only stand to listen to about half of it.

TED: Phil Borges

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Phil Borges started his talk with the same abysmal fact that Wade Davis did: out of the 6,000 languages on earth when we were young, 3,000 are no longer being taught to children. Great stories, beautiful photos. Note: tell people mostly what you found out, not what you did, because the former is probably more interesting.

TED: Wade Davis on cultures at the far edge of the world

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Wade Davis’ talk was fascinating. Note: consider ideas of creativity, place and creative place that are outside the western enlightenment tradition. Also consider the usability principle of designing for impairment; note that some users may be creating in non-standard brain states; using DMT for example.