Every day, we see the spark of imagination and invention in Rice’s classrooms, labs, studios and galleries — crossing disciplinary boundaries and generating new ideas and solutions. This year, creativity is a theme of lively classroom conversations and lecture series. We picked 13 ways that Rice faculty and scholarly guests are studying, teaching, expressing or nurturing the creative force that is available, surprisingly, to us all.

I. BEND, BREAK, BLEND
If you know where to listen, you can hear the creative process unfold right before your ears. That’s especially so if you have a guide like Anthony Brandt, a professor of composition and theory at Rice’s Shepherd School of Music. READ MORE

II. THAT’S GENIUS
What do geniuses have in common? Is the mind of an artistic genius the same as a scientific genius? Can you (or I) learn to be a genius? These are some of the questions that drive the decadeslong research of Dean Keith Simonton. READ MORE


III. MIXING IT UP
What makes a painting by 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer distinctly recognizable? The intimate settings? The natural light and shadows? The exquisite details? Most people would probably not answer, “the painter’s use of technology.”  READ MORE

IV. FAILING BETTER
What do a giraffe feeder, an IV drip and a robotic arm have in common? They’re all recent Rice engineering design projects that were tested and refined using a process of rapid or low-fidelity prototyping. READ MORE

V. CRAWL, WALK, RUN.
Comics belong in college, artist Christopher Sperandio contends. They’re educational, artful and powerful vehicles of cultural criticism — not to mention entertaining. READ MORE

VI. IMPROV AND TRADITION
As in daily life, improvisation in jazz means the spontaneous invention of something new. To the audience, this think-on-your-feet creativity may sound effortless — a talent channeled from some mysterious source. READ MORE

VII. BORDER LINES
“My creative process always starts with research,” said Veronica Gomez ’19, a recent Rice architecture graduate. While designing her master’s thesis, she studied the history, people, natural terrain, and political and social issues of the Mexico-United States border. READ MORE

VIII. A FAMILY STORY
How do you distill and communicate the essence of a person? As a guest lecturer in Anthony Brandt’s Creativity Up Close class, Anne Chao ’05 challenges students to inject creativity into the work of oral history. READ MORE.

IX. PLIÉ AND LEAD
What does leadership have to do with the elegant agility of dance? Everything, if you ask Tom Kolditz, founding director of The Institute for New Leaders at Rice. READ MORE

X. CREATIVITY KILLERS
Teresa Amabile, a guest lecturer in the “Creativity Up Close” lecture series this spring, has dissected workplace creativity and constructed a model for ideal creative conditions. READ MORE

XI. EVERYDAY CREATIVITY
A playwright, lyricist and psychologist, James C. Kaufman’s professional and creative work explains why creativity matters — particularly why we should care about it, measure it and nurture it. READ MORE

XII. CREATIVITY MYTHS
Creativity is Jing Zhou’s business. Zhou studies the ways managers can foster creativity and innovation among employees. But the factors that promote — and inhibit — creativity are often the opposite of what you’d expect. READ MORE

XIII. VARIATIONS ON A THEME
Your turn! Go back to school by completing this creativity exercise. TRY IT

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