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Friday, March 27 • 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Session 1 Paper stream 1: Building Sustainability Awareness in the Age of Climate Change

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Session 1 Paper Stream 1: Building Sustainability Awareness in the Age of Climate Change

Rimjhin Aggarwal, Megha Budruk, Scott Bugental, Iris Drower, and Barbara Klimek: "Cross Cultural Exchanges Towards Global Change:  Engaging Youth with Food and Water Challenges"
The greatest challenge facing food security in the future is the aging of farm populations across the globe. As young people move to cities, and become increasingly disengaged from the processes of food production, how are we going to build the future of food to sustain us? The process of transition requires not just young farmers to replace the old, but a new generation of innovative problem solvers who can collaborate with a range of local to global partners to address the complex problems we face today. This paper will report on the activities of a global network that facilitates cross-cultural dialog among youth and provides them capacity building opportunities to take action on pressing food and water challenges in their local communities. The network has a membership of around 1600 individuals and/or organizations from around 36 countries. The flagship project of this network is a youth leadership-training workshop on agribusiness and sustainability, focusing specifically on African youth. Prior to the workshop, the participants are asked to conduct a needs assessment in their communities and formulate an initial project plan. Through mentoring by experts from various universities, government agencies, private sector and NGOs, cross-exchange with peers, facilitated discussion groups, and field trips to exemplary farms, the workshop enables youth to further develop their ideas into a potentially fundable plan. The workshop also provides various opportunities for cross-cultural exchanges through visual art, music, dance and story telling sessions. These cross-cultural exchanges enable participants to jointly explore their food traditions, and build alternative narratives and visions about the future of food. We provide several examples on how these exchanges can be a powerful tool in finding common ground and empowering participants to find their voice and build networks. An example of one of the experiences offered to participants is the interactive music and video show of Gandhi’s life. As participants become part of Gandhi’s journey of self-discovery and evolution as a leader, they are led to inquire into their own cultural roots and their innate leadership, and how these can be leveraged to develop their own action plans.

Ruth Wylie, Megan Halpern and Ed Finn: "An Artist, Author, and Expert Walk into a Bar: How Multidisciplinary Teams Tackle Global Challenges" 
Current global challenges such as food and energy shortages and sustainability cannot be solved without collaboration not only among multidisciplinary groups of experts, but also through large scale involvement with diverse publics. In this work, we present the methodology and outcomes of a three-day narrative hackathon to foster collaboration among diverse fields to produce stories for EVOKE, a massive multi-player online educational game that uses narrative to help players develop 21st century skills and drive collaborative innovation. EVOKE “agents” engage both online and in face-to-face social networks to complete missions to develop creative solutions to pressing global problems.In Fall 2014, the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University hosted a hackathon that united top science fiction writers, artists, futurists, and subject area experts to develop narratives and associated visual artworks surrounding these issues to add new materials to EVOKE’s fictional universe. The graphic art and narratives created will become springboards for future EVOKE games. Participants worked in multidisciplinary teams, with each team focusing on a specific global grand challenge, such as nuclear disarmament, food sustainability, and environmental sustainability. The hackathon provided a unique opportunity to explore how multidisciplinary teams collaborate and engage in the creative process, and observations revealed three themes around the concept of balance: (1) balance between structure and freedom, (2) balance between assigned roles and assumptions, and (3) balance between entertainment goals and educational goals. In balance between structure and freedom, we discuss the tension between providing specific goals and scaffolding to facilitate group interaction with the need for open-ended time to work. In exploring the balance between working within assigned roles and their underlying assumptions, we identify tensions surrounding expectations based on roles and titles and experiences in idea generation and development. Finally, we discuss issues surrounding developing a story with dual goals of entertaining and educating and explore how different teams tackled these at times, competing objectives. Finally, we close with a comparison of the EVOKE hackathon project to another multidisciplinary collaboration between a team of artists, a scientist, and a social scientist, to develop a performance about current research in materials science.

Alex Wier: "Björk's Biophilia Project: Building Ecological Awareness Through Music and Technology"
A prominent figure in popular music for over two decades, Björk has focused on natural elements and preservationist messages in her work and has engaged in public environmental activism. Her Icelandic upbringing helped her develop a deep connection with nature that is embodied in the themes of her music and her process of creating it. Björk’s compositional process uses sophisticated technological elements to create a vast sonic landscape that is inspired by the extreme and diverse geographical features of Iceland’s landscapes. 

Björk’s Biophilia is a recent multi-dimensional project that can be experienced as a music album, an interactive “app,” an educational program for children, and a live stage show. The introductory video to the “app” explains that the Biophilia experience aims at joining music, nature, and technology. It goes on to claim that “we are on the brink of a revolution that will re-unite humans with nature through new technological innovations.” Indeed in Biophilia, Björk unites music and nature through technology across the different platforms of the project. From the organically motivated process of musical composition to the exploration of natural and scientific themes in the innovative “app” and educational program, Biophilia encourages its audience to connect deeper with music, nature, and technology. The scope of the project seeks to excite and educate a wide audience on ecological topics and issues.

In this paper, I will provide a brief overview on how Björk incorporates natural elements in her artistic output. I will also demonstrate how her works act both as a sonic representation of Edward Wilson’s biophilia hypothesis and as a musical expression of the Norse pagan view of the continuity between humans and nature. I will then identify the specific musical, natural, and technological features of Biophilia and illustrate how they work together across the project’s platforms to form not only a unique and compelling multimedia artwork, but also an accessible and meaningful tool of environmental education. 


Frank Ekeberg

Frank Ekeberg is an artist and researcher primarily concerned with the sonic arts. His work explores issues of ecology, time, space, and memory. He uses almost exclusively natural sound as source material, and spatial aspects of the sounds and the listening environment are integrated... Read More →


Rimjhim Aggarwal

Dr. Aggarwal's research and teaching interests lie at the interface between sustainability science and international development. A central focus of her research has been on examining the links between globalization, resilience of social-ecological systems, and human well being. In... Read More →

Megha Budruk

Dr. Megha Budruk is an Associate Professor in the Parks and Recreation Program at the School of Community Resources & Development, Arizona State University, USA. Trained in the natural and social sciences, Dr. Budruk's work is interdisciplinary in nature. She received her doctoral... Read More →

Iris Drower

Iris Drower is an 'eclectic' collaborative educator and researcher with an international Ph.d. in Special Needs Education; a Masters in International Higher and Adult Education and a Bachelor of Education in both regular education and cross-categorial special needs learners. She... Read More →

Ed Finn

Ed Finn is the founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University, where he is an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English. Ed’s research and teaching explore... Read More →

Megan Halpern

Megan Halpern is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University, where she works with the Center for Science and the Imagination on “Emerge: Artists + Scientists Redesign the Future.” She earned her PhD in Science... Read More →

Barbara Klimek

Barbara Klimek became MSW Coordinator of the Master of Social Work Program of the School of Social Work in the College of Public Programs at Arizona State University in July 2009. She holds the MSW degree from Arizona State University, an MA degree in Economics, major: Econometrics... Read More →

Alex Wier

Alex Wier is a percussionist active in Arizona as both a performer and educator. Currently a doctoral student in percussion performance at Arizona State University, Wier serves as a Teaching Assistant with the responsibilities of teaching the Percussion Methods class and undergraduate... Read More →

Ruth Wylie

Ruth Wylie is the assistant director of the Center for Science and the Imagination and an assistant research professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Ruth earned her PhD in Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University in 2011 and her bachelor’s degree at the... Read More →

Friday March 27, 2015 1:30pm - 3:00pm MST
Katzin Concert Hall, Music Building 50 E Gammage Pkwy

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