Tuesday, September 2, 2014

[Yasmin_discussions] moderation during this week -

Dear Yasminers,

I will be moderating the list during this week,

I am pleased to inform you that there are a discussion starting in the Yasmin discussion list.
In this occasion the theme is "What does STEAM have to do with it ?" on the topic of whether we need more scientists and engineers or whether we need different kinds of scientists and engineers that have grounding in the arts, design and humanities. The invited respondents are Nettrice Gaskins, Celia Pierce and William Joel.

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Please see more detailed information below.

--


Announcing a Leonardo-Yasmin Discussion: WHAT DOES STEAM HAVE TO DO WITH IT ?

Is too much STEM or the wrong STEM a bad thing ?



We are pleased to announce a Leonardo - YASMIN discussion about the
current hot topic of whether we need more scientists and engineers, or
whether we need different kinds of scientists and engineers that have
grounding in the arts, design and humanities. The discussion will be
conducted during September 2014 with a number of invited respondents.

Many professionals are arguing that government and funding agencies
need to increase funding and recruit more young people into careers in
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
But after decades of STEM funding= the result is that only 17% of
engineers in the USA are women, and the statistics for inclusion of
ethnic and other minories in western countries are also dismal. It is
particularly problematical in the computer sciences and engineering,
but professionals are more diverse in the biological and life
sciences.

And in the USA 70 % of students in the USA who get a degree in a STEM
field- do not work in STEM professions - why are STEM careers so
unattractive that most students who get a degree do not go on to work
in STEM fields ?:

These statistics can be found in the recent US Census Bureau on STEM :
http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/employment_occupations/cb14-130.html

In recent years there has been a movement of STEM TO STEAM- or
integrating the arts, design and humanities - into STEM teaching. I
recently wrote a discussion that highlights some of the issues:
http://leonardo.info/reviews/aug2014/malina-STEM.php

One of the arguments of STEM to STEAM is that STEM needs fundamental
rethinking- with one argument that many STEM careers are now in the
arts, design and entertainment,and more broadly the creative
industries; secondly that STEAM approaches are more succesful at
interesting more diverse students

Discussants will include:

Roger Malina, Art-Science Researcher and Executive Editor of the
Leonardo Publications at MIT Press: http://malina.diatrope.com/

Nettrice Gaskins: Who is launching a STEAM Lab in an urban art school
in Boston and led the National Science Foundation funded project on
Culturally Situated STEM
http://dm.lcc.gatech.edu/~ngaskins3/NSF_Workshop_2014/index.html
Her web site is at : http://www.nettrice.us/

Celia Pearce: who is a game designer, author, researcher, teacher,
curator and artist, specializing in multiplayer gaming and virtual
worlds, independent, art, and alternative game genres, as well as
games and gender her web site is at: http://cpandfriends.com/

William Joel: Dr. Joel received his PhD in Computer & Information
Sciences from Syracuse University in 1995. Currently he is Professor
of Computer Science at Western Connecticut State University, and
Director for their Graphics Research Group.
(http://cs.wcsu.edu/joelw/)



You can follow YASMIN discussions at: http://yasminlist.blogspot.com/

You can join the discussion at:
http://estia.media.uoa.gr/mailman/listinfo/yasmin_discussions



Best regards,

mb







--------

Mónica Bello
VIDA Awards
Artistic Director

Current call: VIDA 16.0
vida.fundaciontelefonica.com

Follow VIDA:
facebook: VidaArtAwards
twitter: @VidaArtAwards

monicabello.org
@monica_bello




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Monday, September 1, 2014

[Yasmin_discussions] what does steam have to do with it

reposted from a response on linked in
from
-- Ziska Childs Design LLC

If there was one theme I heard repeated in 2013 it was STEAM

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2013/04/09/176681242/can-yo-yo-ma-fix-the-arts

...and in 2014... hang in there long enough and you'll hear Scott give
his advice to young engineers "Take and arts class"

http://www.aspenideas.org/session/walking-style-merging-3d-printing-and-functional-robotics
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Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Programming is a creative activity

Perhaps relevant for this interesting discussion is a consideration of the beginning of Western higher education in the universities of the 12/13th centuries, where - in extension of the ancients' protocols - music/harmonic theory is studied in the quadrivium (along with arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy), and this comes *after* education in the trivium of grammar, logic/dialectic, and rhetoric.

The theory of music in the West (if not its performance) is there a central part of the STEM tradition that should be held onto. As I think should be the position of STEM as specialised extensions of the linguistic arts, rather than a replacement for them.

Socrates makes a direct assertion against a narrow focus on mathematical disciplines: "*if* inquiry into all the subjects we've mentioned [i.e. the mathematical studies outlined in 525a-531c] brings out their community (koinônia) and their kinship (sungeneia) with each other and enables us to reason out how they are related (oikeia) to each other, it will contribute something to the goal of our enquiry [knowledge of the good, 532a]... otherwise it is in vain."

Danny

--
Danny Butt
Research Fellow
Research Unit in Public Cultures
School of Culture and Communication
University of Melbourne, VIC 3010
Australia

http://public-cultures.unimelb.edu.au/
http://www.dannybutt.net

+61 428 820 766


On 1/09/2014, at 12:41 PM, William Joel <joelw@wcsu.edu> wrote:

> (Before I continue, much if what I'll be sharing is my opinion, fed by thirty years of teaching computer science, and let's say about forty-five years of programming and working in the arts.)
>
> Programming, in my very humble opinion, is both an art and a science. Yes, there is a mathematical logic to any computer program, but the act of writing a good, readable, comprehendable program is an act of creativity. Some have even dared compare it to creative writing, but I'll step around that idea for the present.
>
> It's a true shame that software engineers have tried to make people believe that the development of computer programs can be automated, and that there is no creativity in the process. Funny, but it reminds me if the argument that music "written" by a computer program is not a work of art. But I say that the original program, and the subsequent music, are together a work of art, that there was a creative, artistic process at work that led to the program, which in turn created music.
>
> When a programmer arrives at a new solution to an existing problem, we occassionally call it an elegant solution, if the method is not only novel, but well thought out, and shows a creative use of existing ideas. Elegant. A computer program can be elegant. Imagine that.
>
> Then again, true science, not an engineering approximation, is a discipline that often leads to elegant, creative, artistic solutions to problems. But are not artists scientists as well? Are not potters material scientists? Are not composers physicists?
>
> By the way, I have found that music majors often make the best programs. I wonder why?
>
> William J. Joel, Computer Science
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>
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Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Programming is a creative activity

Just to add a personal point of agreement with William Joel's thoughtful post:

My education and career are in the arts, but in the early 1990s when the only way to make a website was to learn how to write code, I learned it and became quite proficient (still am and still write it to make websites, although now I'm a dinosaur -- er, I prefer craftsperson or maker, actually). After years of practicing in the creative fields I was stunned to find myself back then experiencing the same aesthetic reaction to the writing of code that I had felt in the making of a painting. Quite beyond what it did to make a webpage function, I found myself going back often to just admire the code itself -- not only because I took pride in having written it as lean, efficient, and as clever as I could, but because I found it visually compelling. I loved looking at it, it felt similar to what I experienced when looking at a natural landscape. Neither nature nor code are intended to be beautiful -- the visual appearance of both are simply byproducts of entirely non-artistic pro!
cesses that strive for efficiencies. We're just lucky, we humans, to be wired with a visual intelligence that summarizes a complex process for us by how that process looks, and that therein we can experience a sensation of beauty. Recently I co-curated an exhibition of folded paper sculptures by scientist-origami master Robert Lang, and became aware of software he had written that enabled the folding process. I took pages of his mathematics and his code, and enlarged them verbatim and hung them like paintings on the gallery walls -- not as didactic material to explain his exquisite origami pieces, but as equal works of his art on their own.

Stephen Nowlin


________________________________________
From: yasmin_discussions-bounces@estia.media.uoa.gr [yasmin_discussions-bounces@estia.media.uoa.gr] On Behalf Of William Joel [joelw@wcsu.edu]
Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2014 7:41 PM
To: YASMIN DISCUSSIONS
Subject: [Yasmin_discussions] Programming is a creative activity

(Before I continue, much if what I'll be sharing is my opinion, fed by thirty years of teaching computer science, and let's say about forty-five years of programming and working in the arts.)

Programming, in my very humble opinion, is both an art and a science. Yes, there is a mathematical logic to any computer program, but the act of writing a good, readable, comprehendable program is an act of creativity. Some have even dared compare it to creative writing, but I'll step around that idea for the present.

It's a true shame that software engineers have tried to make people believe that the development of computer programs can be automated, and that there is no creativity in the process. Funny, but it reminds me if the argument that music "written" by a computer program is not a work of art. But I say that the original program, and the subsequent music, are together a work of art, that there was a creative, artistic process at work that led to the program, which in turn created music.

When a programmer arrives at a new solution to an existing problem, we occassionally call it an elegant solution, if the method is not only novel, but well thought out, and shows a creative use of existing ideas. Elegant. A computer program can be elegant. Imagine that.

Then again, true science, not an engineering approximation, is a discipline that often leads to elegant, creative, artistic solutions to problems. But are not artists scientists as well? Are not potters material scientists? Are not composers physicists?

By the way, I have found that music majors often make the best programs. I wonder why?

William J. Joel, Computer Science
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[Yasmin_discussions] What's in a name

Roger,

I do not feel I've placed my size 11 foot into a trap. Rather, I was trying to make the point that what we term "scientific activities" require both a scientific method and an artistic aesthetic. Early "scientists", before that term was popularized, were referred to as philosophers, yes? Labels evolve, but the foundations knowledge acquisition do not. We merely change the names.

No element of human knowledge exists in a vacumn. Trying not to sound cliche, but everything IS connected. The main issue I see with STEM education, at least in the USA, is that there is a list of curriculum concepts that are mandated, nessecitating a teaching approach that attempts to teach in a vacumn. But then again, this is just my opinion.

Bill Joel
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[Yasmin_discussions] Should we call it STEM?

Roger points out something very important as we move forward with this
discussion and that is we must make more explicit the ways that STEM
subjects engage problems and interests that motivate people, particularly
in the arts and among groups underrepresented in STEM.

Aaron Saunders was recently interviewed for an article in the Washington
Post. Saunders recommends that we not refer to STEM education as "STEM"
because it's not just about writing code. Students should also learn team
building and collaboration, idea creation, design, etc. He says, "We don't
want people to believe the only way to take part in this innovation economy
is as a developer." To this I'd add interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary
collaboration, not just working across STEM areas but also with the arts
and culture sectors.

I know that there is value in studying fields without crossing over into
other areas. However, this is becoming harder and harder in today's
economy. It may make some people feel uncomfortable but creates a space for
people who may not be at the table.

--
*Nettrice R. Gaskins, PhD*
STEAM Lab Director
Boston Arts Academy
http://nettrice.ushttp://netarthud.wordpress.com
http://blog.art21.org/author/nettrice-gaskins
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[Yasmin_discussions] So what does STEAM have to do with it ?

Herve


actually i disagree somewhat with joel's statement and your comment-
i of course agree in demystification and high creative processes of
computer art

you said

I fully agree with William Joel's experienced and meaningful comments.
Together demystification and recognition of the high creative process of
computer art.
Hervé Fischer

i think William's comments fall into the trap of some familiar but
false dichotomies

for instance william states
Programming, in my very humble opinion, is both an art and a science.
Yes, there is a mathematical logic to any computer program, but the
act of writing a good, readable, comprehendable program is an act of
creativity

but i think that both art and science, as well as other human fields
require creativity- you imply the false dichotomy of art-creative
science-un creative

it seems to me that there is a spectrum of activities that span art
and science and that one of the important things is the
'intention' of the creator whether in art or in science

as a scientist i try and construct explanations of how the world
functions, relying on techniques within the scientific method and
looking
for matches between the explanation and observations of the world or
experiments on pieces of the world

as an engineer, i use my scientific understanding to develop tools
that function the way i design in the world

artists it seems to me develop artefacts that affect people , and
themselves, psychologically, aethetically

spanning all these intents we use creativity, elegance,

your statement
Then again, true science, not an engineering approximation, is a
discipline that often leads to elegant, creative, artistic solutions
to problems. But are not artists scientists as well? Are not potters
material scientists? Are not composers physicists?

seems to me conflates intention of the creation with methods used in
validating the creation

see for instance robert root bernsteins tools of creative people in
&quot;sparks of genius&quot;
http://www.amazon.com/Sparks-Genius-Thirteen-Thinking-Creative/dp/0618127453


the challenge in the stem to steam movement is to build integrated
ways of connecting the various intentions and interests
of the students that dont create artificial boundaries between ways of
knowing and practices of creativity

you state

Then again, true science, not an engineering approximation, is a
discipline that often leads to elegant, creative, artistic solutions
to problems. But are not artists scientists as well? Are not potters
material scientists? Are not composers physicists?

i think that there are different ways of knowing - that art and
science embody different basic intentions of the creators-
i think its useful to consider art and science as differing human
activities but that there are bridging and transdiscplinary
approaches that can make both artists and scientists succeed at
achieving their intentions

if i want to build the most amazing simulated world for a computer
game, i will rely on a number of sciences
( perception and cognition, computer science, social science) a number
of technical skills ( programming)
and design and arts expertise ( graphics, modelling, animation, story telling, )

often stem subjects are taught divorced from the problems and
interests that motivate people and we dont
make explicit the bridging and trans-disciplinary ideas and techniques

i am all for deymystification and encourage complex forms of creativity in both
the arts and sciences

roger


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: William Joel &lt;joelw@wcsu.edu&gt;
Date: Sun, Aug 31, 2014 at 9:41 PM
Subject: [Yasmin_discussions] Programming is a creative activity
To: YASMIN DISCUSSIONS &lt;yasmin_discussions@estia.media.uoa.gr&gt;


(Before I continue, much if what I'll be sharing is my opinion, fed by
thirty years of teaching computer science, and let's say about
forty-five years of programming and working in the arts.)

Programming, in my very humble opinion, is both an art and a science.
Yes, there is a mathematical logic to any computer program, but the
act of writing a good, readable, comprehendable program is an act of
creativity. Some have even dared compare it to creative writing, but
I'll step around that idea for the present.

It's a true shame that software engineers have tried to make people
believe that the development of computer programs can be automated,
and that there is no creativity in the process. Funny, but it reminds
me if the argument that music &quot;written&quot; by a computer program is not a
work of art. But I s

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