Liz Lerman’s “Toolbox Students” in Their Own Words

April 13th, 2015

Who are the students working with Liz Lerman on her toolbox of creative collaborators aids? We’ll let them tell you in their own words…

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Meet the IRC: Ben Nace

March 27th, 2015


Freshman computer science major Ben Nace has added an internship in the IRC to his busy schedule studying software design this spring. Joining the 5oth anniversary team, the Columbia, MD native has put his coding skills to work on building the social media site that will connect students and alumni during the upcoming celebration. When he’s not in class or trying to figure out how to get stories into and out of our online database, Ben mentors teens in the First Tech Challenge, a robotics competition, where his team has thrice made it to the state championships.

Liz Lerman’s “Toolbox Students”

March 18th, 2015

As part of Liz Lerman’s visiting scholarship in the IRC this spring, six undergraduate students from diverse disciplines – Heinz Adjakwah, Everett Ramon Burris, Andres Camacho, Emily Eaglin, Emily Francis Ferguson, and Max McGlinn Poole - have been invited to be key collaborators in her work. Engaging in a planning process for an online repository and community of engagement based on Liz’s celebrated work with behavioral and creativity “tools,” these students are participating in all aspects of the design, development, and drafting of the proposed “toolbox.” The students work on the project for 8-12 hours per week, individually and as a team facilitated by Liz, IRC administrator/researchers Lee Boot and Dan Bailey, and IRC Technical Director Mark Jarzynski.


Clockwise from top left: Heinz Adjakwah, Andres Camacho, Emily Ferguson, Max McGlinn Poole, Everett Burris, Emily Eaglin

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Meet the IRC: Sara Masoudi

March 9th, 2015


When Sara Masoudi got an email announcing internship positions for student programmers in the IRC, the freshman Computer Science major thought she would be a “long shot.” She applied nonetheless, and soon found herself a part of the IRC team, working on building a social media platform to enable UMBC alumni to connect with current students in conjunction with the school’s upcoming 50th anniversary celebration. When she’s not coding, Sara, a lifelong Baltimorean, likes to watch movies, especially “big-production movies with a lot going on, like Interstellar and Batman.”

Meet the IRC: Xavier Harris

March 2nd, 2015


Sophomore Xavier Harris joined the IRC this semester as a programming intern. He’s working on developing a website for UMBC alumni to share their school experiences with current students as part of the upcoming 50th anniversary celebration. Drawn by his interest in math and physics, Xavier has declared a major in Computer Engineering. He’s originally from West Orange, New Jersey, and when he’s not studying or coding, Xavier likes to relax by playing computer games, particularly multiplayer games.

A Visit from Lights, Camera, Shoot

February 25th, 2015


On Monday, February 16th, the IRC received a visit from Axel Kabundji and the Lights, Camera, Shoot film production group at Wheaton High School. These 9-12 graders toured the campus, visited UMBC’s Cinematic Arts program, and then came to the IRC for a look at our facilities and a demonstration of past and present IRC projects, hosted by director Dan Bailey. Technical directors Ryan Zuber and Mark Jarzynski demonstrated 3D modeling in Maya and basic game-control programming with Unity. Then the kids were let loose in the digital world, trying out what they’d learned with some DIY gaming. It was a great time, and we hope to see some of Monday’s guests back at UMBC full-time in a few years.

Dedicated filmmakers, the LCS students captured video all through their day at UMBC and in the IRC, and created a short video about their visit, which you can watch by clicking here.

Liz Lerman and Paul Rucker at Creative Alliance

February 9th, 2015

The UMBC team working with Liz Lerman to put her great creative and social interaction tools online recently got to see those tools in action. On Saturday, February 7th, students and faculty took production gear to visit Baltimore’s Creative Alliance and the work of artist and musician, Paul Rucker around his exhibition entitled, Rewind. (On another project, Paul is helping the IRC create media about socially engaged art practice.) The public was also invited to participate in a structured session of interaction, facilitated by Liz, culminating in a critique of the artist’s work.

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A “Tools of Artistic Practice” Convening

February 4th, 2015


The IRC recently hosted a convening of innovative arts professionals, invited by visiting scholar Liz Lerman to help clarify and shape the goals of our Surdna Foundation-funded toolbox project.

The group included:

* Anne Basting, director of the TimeSlips Creative Storytelling Project;

* Jan Cohen-Cruz, editor of Public: A Journal of Imagining America;

* Marjani Forté-Saunders, dancer/choreographer and co-founder of LOVE/FORTÉ A COLLECTIVE;

E. Ethelbert Miller, writer, literary activist, and director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University;

* Gail Mukaihata Hannemann, consultant for the advancement of STEAM education, healthcare, and youth leadership, and former CEO of the Girl Scouts of Hawai’i;

* Mark Valdez, executive director of the Network of Ensemble Theaters;

and they gathered around the conference room table for two days to discuss their various experiences in the interdisciplinary world of contemporary creativity, and to imagine what an online toolbox for creative professionals might be like.


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Meet the IRC: Jason Hughes

January 30th, 2015


Jason Hughes is a third-year graduate student in Intermedia and Digital Art. He divides his graduate assistantship time between working in the IRC, where he creates digital animations for projects like Brick Gardens, and managing the graduate studios in the Raleigh Industrial Center downtown.

Jason’s studio work in drawing, print media, and sculpture investigates issues of labor, value, and self-worth, examining the relationship between consumer culture and mental health. His work has been exhibited around the US, including recent exhibitions curated by Mera Rubell and Donald Kuspit, and has been featured in The New York Times. Jason is the RTKL fellow for his thesis class, and became a father last year.

Meet the IRC: Jaclin Paul

January 23rd, 2015


Born in New Hampshire, graduate assistant Jaclin Paul moved to North Carolina at 9, and lived there until she went to Chicago to earn her BFA in photography and painting at SAIC. After graduation, she stayed in the windy city for a few years as artist-in-residence and photographer at Elevarte, before joining the Peace Corps and shipping out to Ghana. In west Africa, Jaclin taught art to high-schoolers and built an art studio capable of accommodating 100 students.

In her first year in the IMDA MFA program at UMBC, Jaclin divides her research assistantship time between the IRC, where she has worked on time-lapse photography and the NAS Dome Explorer project, and teaching with SUCCESS for her Shriver Peaceworker fellowship. Her studio photographs explore identity, especially as it relates to phenotypes. Jaclin is also, it should be noted, a sharp and stylish dresser.