Wake Forest University hosts events to inspire creativity

By Maggie Barrett
February 15, 2006

During February and March, Wake Forest University is hosting "COOK IT UP — A Creativity Forum," an interactive series of events designed to inspire participants to think about creativity and what it means to be creative.

The series, which is free and open to the public, consists of four events featuring open discussions led by Wake Forest faculty. Students plan and execute each event, deciding what food to serve and how to serve it, as well as what kind of decorations and furnishings should be used to create the setting.

The first "COOK IT UP" event took place Feb. 9. The others are scheduled for Feb. 23 and March 2 and 16. Each is held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the common area of Luter Residence Hall on the Reynolda Campus.

The events center on topics about the nature of creativity determined by Lynn Book, an expert on creativity and visiting associate professor of theatre and dance at Wake Forest. The topics are presented for open discussion led by Book and two other Wake Forest faculty members from different disciplines. Students taking Book's "Foundations of Creativity and Innovation" class use the topics as inspiration to design and carry out the details of each event, including decor and catering.

Betsy Taylor, director of Wake Forest's Pro Humanitate Center, attended the first event, "Sourcing Creations: Wrestling Spirits and Making Meaning," which featured Cindy Gendrich, associate professor of theatre and dance, and Dilip Kondepudi, Thurman D. Kitchin Professor of Chemistry.

"Lynn Book and her students put together a wonderful and truly astonishing dinner and discussion," Taylor said. "I loved hearing such diverse perspectives on creativity. The food was good, too."

Book said that she and her students were also pleased with the first event.

"Between 50 and 60 people attended, many of them students but also faculty and staff from both campuses, as well as a few curious members of the general public," Book said. "People stayed long past 7:30 p.m., the official end of the event."

The remaining three events are as follows: "Creating Systems: Discoveries, Strategies and the Good Fortune of Mistakes," on Feb. 23, featuring Susan Fahrbach, Reynolds Professor of Biology, and Jacqui Carrasco, associate professor of music; "Creative Originals: the Myth of Genius and the Play of the Imagination," on March 2, featuring David Finn, associate professor of art, and Charles Richman, professor of psychology; and "Worlds of Creativity: Culture, Clashes and Inventing the Future," on March 16, featuring Mary Dalton, assistant professor of communication, and Ellen Miller, assistant professor of anthropology.

The series is sponsored by Wake Forest's Office of Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts and the theatre and dance department, with support from the Office of Residence Life and Housing and Aramark Dining Services.

"Foundations of Creativity and Innovation" is one of the new courses offered through Wake Forest's new minor in entrepreneurship and social enterprise.

For more on "COOK IT UP," contact Book at bookl@wfu.edu or 336-758-3383.