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Dr. Samuel Veissière: Indeterminacy, Resilience, and Anti-Fragility 

September 15 + 17  

Tuesday 15:  steps to an antifragile ecology

As a metaphor borrowed from the material sciences, ‘resilience’ describes the properties of a material that bends back into its original shape after encountering a stressor.  The construct of ‘antifragility’ takes this dynamic further to describe the adaptation strategies of systems and organisms that grow and thrive from encountering uncertainty and disorder.  The notion of fragility, in turn, not intended here as a moral qualifier, but, descriptively, as a symptom of systems that lack dynamic cohesion and resilience, and are as such at high risk of collapse in the face of change. 
This first session will explore the ways in which humans forms of life can be both fragile and antifragile through different readings of our evolutionary history.  Students will be invited to reflect on what fragile and antifragile goals and strategies entail in their own creative process. 

Thursday 17:  steps to an antifragile ethics.

Returning to evolutionary and historical examples, we will begin with a eulogy of fragility, to better understand how the mutual recognition of each other’s vulnerability lies at the root of our evolutionary success. We will move on to examples of maladaptive dynamics in which fragility, rather than a mutual proclivity to be harnessed, becomes a destructive end in itself.   Using politics and ethics as an extended metaphor for self-regulation, we explore the ways in which our own process of flourishing is co-constructed with that of Others, and ask what an anti fragile Self-Other dynamics might entail. 

Samuel Veissière is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, co-director of the Culture, Mind, and Brain program at McGill University, and Associate Member in the Department of Anthropology. An interdisciplinary anthropologist and cognitive scientist, he studies social dimensions of cognition, consciousness, and human well-being through a variety of projects including placebo effects and hypnosis, hyper-sociality in smartphone addiction, social polarization, gender and mental health, and the theoretical study of cultural evolution. Having first earned a PhD in anthropology, he completed postdoctoral studies in cognitive and behavioural science with additional training in contemplative science, microphenomenological interviewing, clinical hypnosis, cultural psychiatry, public health, and cognitive neuroscience. He has worked with such varied populations as street children, indigenous peoples in the Arctic and the Amazon, children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and people who intentionally conjure friendly auditory hallucinations. His work is motivated by a keen attention to multiple facets of the human experience from ethnographic, phenomenological, cross-cultural, developmental, evolutionary, neuroscientific, experimental, and clinical perspectives.He has published broadly and spoken in the media on novel theories and experimental findings on the social nature of attention, cognition, mental health, and healing, and on the impact of the internet and new technologies on human sociality and well-being. Website:

Kathy Kennedy + Esin Gunduz : HMMM + Sense of Energy© Workshop

September 22 + 24  ​ 

HMMM- The human voice has become even more important as a tool of expression during the pandemic era. We do not hear our own voice as it is outside of our own body. The workshop combines psychoacoustic information with playful exercises for better understanding our voice and how it functions. Goals are to explore:

affective intonation, melody of phrase, clear punctuation, inhabiting silences, putting words in relief, illustrating key phrases, and developing body language.

In the Sense of Energy practice, we imagine the bodily sensations of a certain type of energy. We imagine these sensations as physical vibrations in our bodies. Then, we practice how to translate these imagined physical vibrations into physical vibrations in the air (sound!). This practice renews the connection between our sensory awareness and voice. By focusing on the inner reflection -- rather than a desired output! -- it rewires the ways of what we most commonly use our voice for: communication and our habits around it. What we aim to restore are: freedom, suppleness, and flow.

Kathy Kennedy is a sound artist with formal training in classical voice and visual art. Her practice is a lifelong study of the voice and its interface with technology, identity and public space. She has been deeply involved in community art, and is a founder of the digital media center for women in Canada, Studio XX, as well as the innovative choral group for women, Choeur Maha. Her large-scale sonic installation/performances for up to 100 singers and radio, called “sonic choreographies” have been performed internationally. She is currently on faculty at Concordia University, lectures and gives workshops on improvisation, listening, acoustic ecology and vocal empowerment.

For composer, vocal performer, and improvisor Esin Gunduz, sound originates in the body. She explores life’s energies as visceral sensory experience and sound, building landscapes of her own recorded-voice samples to surround acoustical instrumental textures, creating breathtaking acoustic vistas. Ms. Gunduz had her works performed at the Banff Centre, on So Percussion’s “Brooklyn-Bound” Series, and as part of the National Sawdust Digital Discovery Festival. Among the performers who have championed her work are Ensemble Linea and mandolinist Avi Avital, as well as the members of Talea Ensemble and ICE, the International Contemporary Ensemble. Prominent projects include an electroacoustic ensemble piece based on Sumerian tablets and a work that turns alchemical processes into sound for the NyCity-based duo Ultrafizz. Her most recent larger work “En-he-du-an-na-me-en” for mezzosoprano Rosie Middleton’s “Voice(less) Commissioning Series” is expected to be premiered in the UK, in 2021. A researcher of vocal performance, Esin Gunduz has offered workshops for CS1 Curatorial Projects, the Indeterminacy Festival, and an Orchard of Pomegranates series. She is an adjunct professor at Villa Maria College and holds a PhD in music composition from SUNY University at Buffalo. Originally from Istanbul Turkey, Ms. Gunduz lives in the United States.


Liza Solomonova: Cognition, Sleep, and Meditation 

September 29 + October 1 

In this workshop I invite participants to think about the role that dreams and other forms of spontaneous thought play in their practice. While in traditional neuroscience wake and sleep are seen as separate and discrete states of consciousness, recent advances in cognitive science, and especially in neurophenomenology, demonstrate that sleep-like phenomena are prevalent while awake, and wake-like arousal states are possible during sleep. Furthermore, research on cognition in sleep reveals a rich and complex life of the mind which is dependent on potentially hybrid states of consciousness: phenomena like lucid dreaming, sleep paralysis and sleepwalking reveal the many facets of what is possible when sleep and wake collide. In this workshop we will explore the boundaries between sleeping and waking cognition, and the role that dreaming and dream-like phenomena (hypnagogic hallucinations, dream incubation, and others) play in waking state creative activities.

About Liza Solomonova: I am a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University in the department of Psychiatry. I am currently working on projects tackling the links between social cognition, sleep and meditation at Ian Gold‘s Neurophilosophy Lab (Culture, Mind and Brain research group). I have received an interdisciplinary PhD from the University of Montreal in Cognitive Neuroscience and Philosophy (advisors: Tore NielsenSha Xin Wei). I have been working in the Dream and Nightmare Laboratory at the Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine since 2004, where I have participated in research on sleep, dreaming, sleep paralysis, memory consolidation, nightmares, meditation and other consciousness phenomena. Since 2007 I have been collaborating with Concordia University’s Topological Media Lab. I am also a member of the coordinating committee of the Initiative for a Synthesis in Studies of Awareness and an affiliated Research Scientist at a new Manhattan-based interdisciplinary initiative, YHouse. My work is focused on interdisciplinary research of consciousness and experience across wake-sleep states. My research interests can be broadly divided into four main areas: 1) Neurophenomenological empirical research on experiences during sleep (dreaming, hypnagogic states, parasomnias) in a variety of populations including experienced meditation practitioners, nightmare and sleep paralysis sufferers.

Leanne Darling + Tiffany Du Mouchelle: EX.C.E.L.L., Unboxed

October 6 + 8 

As we strive to find our place in a radically changing world, we are limited by an identity box of self-imposed restrictions as to who we are and how we should behave. Creativity and introspection offer unique opportunities for growth and expanded possibilities, if we allow them to function as the powerful tools they can be. Unboxed, we reconsider our relationship with ourselves and the world around us through our creative process. 

Leanne Darling creates a powerful new voice for the viola. She draws from her classical technique, her skills in many musical genres, and her passion for improvisation to break the boundaries of this underused instrument. A versatile performer, composer, and improvisor, Darling has has appeared with virtuoso oudist Simon Shaheen in Carnegie Hall, with poets Robert Bly and Clarissa Pinkola-Estes at the Omega Institute, and with the Cedar Lake Ensemble's premiere performance in Chelsea.As a composer, Ms. Darling’s work on Toy Box Theatre’s The Landlord earned her the Best Original Music award from the New York Innovative Theater Awards in 2007. She has worked with choreographers Jodie Gates, Ann Robideaux, Sara Baird and Aynsley Vandenbroucke, and theater director Richard Calibahn. Performances include Lincoln Center’s Clark Studio Theater, Joyce Soho, Dance Theater Workshop, the Brooklyn Museum and HERE arts space. Ms. Darling also composes/performs with Storahtelling, a Jewish ritual theater company, presenting original theater and music in synagogues across the country. Leanne has performed as a rock/jazz musician with Slow Six, the Foster Family, Los Tramway Rockers and the New York Symphonic Jazz Orchestra.Before embracing improvisation, Leanne Darling was a well established classical musician. She holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music. She was a finalist in the ASTA National Solo Competition and a winner of the Durham (NC) Young Artists Competition. Professionally, Darling has held the principal and assistant principal position in the Florida West Coast Symphony, the Missouri Chamber Orchestra, and the Salzburger Kammerphilharmonie.

Soprano, Tiffany Du Mouchelle is well known for her “out of the box” performances, As a contemporary vocal specialist, she engages with improvisation and extended vocal techniques, in addition to classical bel canto singing styles and various world music styles, to explore the possibilities of expressive communication in over 100 languages. Her performances span the globe from NYC’s Lincoln Center to Yoro Village in Papua New Guinea. Through her research, and as an educator, Du Mouchelle strives to develop an understanding expressive and creative repression in individuals. To help guide people back to their instincts and individuality, she is the director and founder of EX.C.E.L.L. (Experimental Creativity and Expression Learning Laboratory), an artist collaborative that offers workshops and seminars to support creative practice in all forms. Tiffany Du Mouchelle is currently the director of Vocal Performance and Opera Studio at University at Buffalo, where she also runs the experimental vocal ensemble, Polyglot, and teaches, Break on Through, an artist laboratory focused on empowering creative practice. As an instructor, she teaches courses on opera, African music, vocal diction, and vocal pedagogy. She received her bachelor of music and master of music degrees from Mannes College of Music in NYC, and her doctorate of contemporary vocal performance from University of California San Diego.

Jamie Currie: The Dying Art of Not Connecting

October 13 + 15 

The complexities, hopes, and fears of our disturbingly vexed historical and political moment have lead many into the assumption that ever increased forms of connection is what is needed: we need more community, more openness to others, more sensitivity, more acts of socialization; we need to be better informed, more engaged, more committed, more relevant. This assumption is so strong and certain of itself that it has, to a degree, become a form of non-thinking. This seminar seeks to challenge this assumption back into being a potential form of thought by considering the value of activities that, rather than integrating and connecting us further and more expansively with others, in fact, are as much concerned with disconnecting, breaking lines of social and communal dialogue, and isolating. Amongst other things, I will consider, the act of close reading, the very question of thinking itself, and also, perhaps, the form and function of the artist’s studio.

James Currie is a writer, performer, and Associate Professor in the Department of Music at the University at Buffalo (State University of New York), where he teaches music history to undergraduates and classes on music and philosophy at the graduate level. He is also on the faculty of the university’s Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. He has worked in collaboration with a number of composers, most notably the young Singapore composer Diana Soh, for whom he has written texts for commissions from IRCAM (“Arboretum: Of Myths and Trees,” 2013), Radio France (“A/Z” 2017), and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (“Abugida,” 2018). But he has also been active as a performance artist and poet creating works that employ a hysterization of traditional dramatic techniques as a means of exploring the junctures at which the quotidian content of daily life and the abstract, structural rigors of aesthetic form interact in processes of disturbing, mutual self transformation, such as in his three-act work theatre work “Examples of Excess.” The combination, on the one hand, of processes that are more akin to musical practices with, on the other, more normative modalities of dramatic and theatrical writing has lead him to performing his dramatic works (such as his “Note to Self”) with musicians such as the widely acclaimed contemporary music soprano Tony Arnold of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). And indeed, the tension created between the expressive modes produced by singers and those produced by actors is, at a certain level, at the heart of his work. He has also had a noted interest in the potential of solo monologue forms, particularly the lecture format, which he has tended to deform into either ritualistic expressionism or poetic stasis, in both cases leaving the lecture’s normal function (of communicating facts and information) abandoned and exposed, such as in his 2013 performative lecture “On Sonic Gravity,” that was given, as a result of invitation, at the Center for Contemporary Theory at the University of Chicago. 

Widely published and internationally in demand, in North America, Europe and Asia as an invited guest speaker, his intellectual work has likewise sought to disturb the categories of disciplinary formations as a means of unleashing aesthetic forces into the very production of intellectual discourse. Thus, in its written form, he has tended to experiment more with the essay than the article, using the more open-ended, speculative qualities that it encourages as a means of investigating the points of vexed intersection between music history, politics, philosophy, and creative writing, as for example in his “Garden Disputes: Postmodern Beauty and the Sublime Neighbor,” which appeared in Women and Music (2008). This is work that has appeared in venues across a wide range of disciplines and which moves rapidly between musicology, philosophy, psychoanalysis, queer studies, and critical theory. Notable instances would include his widely discussed and oft-cited 2009 piece, “Music After All” (Journal of the American Musicological Society), and his polemical 2012 monograph, Music and the Politics of Negation, which, as Martin Scherzinger, a professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, wrote, “is part memoir, part history; part formal analysis, part hermeneutic excursion; part philosophical argument, part political manifesto.” As a lecturer, he has been concerned to bring a dramatic intensity into their writing and performance as a means of unleashing a certain passionate intensity that exists in excess of mere discourse production, and in this he takes inspiration from Schoenberg’s famous remark, that the role of the teacher is “to infect his students” not just to inform them. As with his work as a writer and performer, so with his intellectual practice: the aim is less to put something to bed and bring something to rest, and more to intervene into practices to allow for the possibility for something to happen. To others. For more on Jamie see here:

Alanna Kraaijeveld: Inspired by Fighting Monkey

October 20 + 22


Fighting Monkey movement situations - contextual, qualitative, and relational dances - will ground this physical workshop.  We will confront and direct our selves through dynamic and variable – irregular – dances.  Each dance represents a frame to determine and stimulate those areas where aptitudes such as mobility, coordination, perception, and communication are limited or less integrated.  Play, problem solving, and discussion will support experience of the individual in unpredictable environments.  New pathways to learn, understand, and to define what is important will be prioritized.

Alanna Kraaijeveld is a contemporary dance artist.  Her approach to movement practice and performance is centered on context driven, collaborative practices. Kraaijeveld has over 15 years experience and continues to be a sought-after collaborator in the performing arts milieu.  As performer, teacher and creator, her collaborations are numerous: Company 605, École supérieure d’art dramatique (Paris), Justine Chambers, Yves Charuest, Modus Operandi, Marie Claire Forté, Studio 303, Vim Vigor, Sarah Chase, Stella Adler Studio of Acting (NYC), Opéra de Québec, William Parker, Susanna Hood, Louise Bédard, Frédérick Gravel, Elizabeth Langley, among others. She toured internationally with Dave St-Pierre, in productions Un peu de tendresse bordel de merde and Foudres.  From 2004-2008 she was a company dancer of Le Groupe Dance Lab under the artistic direction of Peter Boneham.  Le Groupe Dance Lab was an international centre for the research and development of contemporary dance.  Now ubiquitous in the contemporary arts milieu, “the Lab” was one of the first of its kind, established in 1988.  Since 2015, Kraaijeveld is a student of Linda Kapetanea and Jozef Frucek, developers of Fighting Monkey Practice. Kraaijeveld has a Master of Arts degree in Professional Practice (Dance Technique Pedagogy) from Middlesex University in London, England in Dance Pedagogy and has taught at institutions and organizations across Canada, in Europe, and the United States.  She represents Fighting Monkey as an *Inspire by FM instructor.  She shares her knowledge of movement across various communities including dance, theatre, sports, and at-risk youth.

Spencer Parsons: No More Room in Hell (or, notes on the Horror of New Limitations and the Terror of New Horizons)

October 27-29 

Spencer Parsons’s latest feature film, Saturday Morning Massacre, premiered at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival, and was awarded Best Feature at the 2012 Minneapolis Underground Film Festival. His previous feature, I’ll Come Running (2008) played numerous festivals, has screened on the Sundance Channel and is distributed by IFC. His award-winning short films include Chainsaw Found Jesus (2011), Once and Future Asshole (2005), Resolution (2002), and A Common Confuxion(1999). Parsons served as senior programmer for Cinematexas International Short Film Festival in Austin, Texas , from 2000-2003, and continued as a board member and curator-at-large until 2007. He has curated programs of films for the Thessaloniki Film Festival (Greece), L’Alternativa (Spain), Rooftop Films (Brooklyn, NY), Exploding Cinema (London), Fusebox Festival (Austin, Texas) and for the Block Cinema at Northwestern. He has worked on the programming committee of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival and has served on awards juries for SXSW, Sundance Film Festival, and Chicago Underground Film Festival. His writing has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Cinespect, Film in Focus and Filmmaker Magazine. Parsons teaches at Northwestern University in the Radio T.V. and Film Department focusing on Advanced Production, Directing Actors for Camera, and Media Production, among other courses. More on Spencer here:


Eric Lewis + Christos Carras: Covid Temporality

November 3 + 5 

How has COVID impacted artistic presentation, curation, creation and participation?  What has it prevented (lots!), and perhaps what opportunities does it open up?  How does improvisation, both as a particular artistic practice, and more generally as a way of navigating and interacting with others and our environment, both suggest ways of being “in COVID time”, and afford us a tool for artistic expression when so many of our usual outlets are inoperative?  Dr. Lewis will describe his COVID-Time telematic improvisation project, and suggest that latency, that feature of telematics that so many decry and try to minimize, offers new improvisatory potentials for creative expression and collective agency.  He will ground the creative use of latency in Black conceptions of time, as found, for example in Invisible Man. Participants will be asked to think creatively about latency, and how it might afford opportunities that are otherwise lost in linear synchronized time.  Dr. Carras, drawing on his role as executive director of the Onassis Cultural Centre (OCC), will discuss way the OCC has adapted traditional means of art curation, production and presentation to our COVID realities, the implications of producing projects in the performing arts field that are not performed live, and   discuss new and emerging ways in which COVID-Time can be leveraged in artistic practice and community building.  Participants will be asked to think creatively about ways in which their projects can be adapted to COVID-Time, and new ways of creative solidarities across our often mandated distances of isolation, both spatial and temporal. 

Eric Lewis research focuses on the philosophy of improvised music. I am the McGill site coordinator for ICASP (Improvisation, Community and Social Research), a major international research project with primary funding from the SSHRC MCRI program. I am actively recruiting graduate students interested in this project, for which there are numerous funding possibilities. I am presently completing two book projects, the first on the ontology of improvised music, the second an edited collection on Improvisation and Social Aesthetics. I am also actively involved in the creation and curation of improvised art exhibits, and an active improvising musician. Broader research interests include the philosophy of music more generally, aesthetics, philosophy of copyright, and a host of interdisciplinary approaches to art, culture and society.

Christos Carras was born in London (UK) in 1962. He read philosophy at Cambridge University and then at the Sorbonne where he earned his PhD.  From 2000 onwards, he has been working in the cultural sector, initially as the Project Manager of the EU funded MediMuses network. In 2006 he became General Manager of the B & M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music.  In 2009 he joined the Onassis Foundation as the Executive Director of the Onassis Cultural Centre. He is responsible for the music program and other interdisciplinary projects, developing European networks and the overall coordination of the Centre.  As an independent researcher he works on issues of contemporary aesthetics (with a focus on sonic art), cultural policy and the contemporary relationships of art and society.

Ben Zucker + Dustin Finer: (Don't) Tell Me What To Do

November 10 + 12 

We are interested in how music is structured to create certain patterns of sound and gesture, and how these structures may be open to reconfiguring other modes of experience. In this seminar, we will draw upon our backgrounds in experimental composition to show how participants may find avenues for ‘composing’ new forms of awareness using these musical models as an analogical starting point. All are welcome from any background, musical or otherwise—the goal is to develop new perspectives, based in music but transferable to any discipline or field.

Dustin Finer is a Montreal-based tenor saxophonist, composer, improviser, and teacher who is said to perform “saxophone techniques [that] are brilliant and goosebump inducing” (Ride the Tempo) with a “cosmic patience” (Earmilk). Eclectic and irreverent in his pursuits, Dustin makes music from the peak of normality to the esoteric fringes.

Ben Zucker practices acts of conceptual juxtaposition and experiential speculation, as an intentionally wide-ranging composer, audiovisual artist, and multi-instrumentalist. He has contributed to experimental music scenes of the Bay Area, Connecticut, London, Chicago, and beyond, working with musicians including Anthony Braxton, Matana Roberts, Myra Melford, Karen Borca, The Crossing, The Vocal Constructivists, Rinde Eckert, and the San Francisco Choral Artists, in addition to frequent performances as a soloist, bandleader, and ensemble contributor. His composed works have received awards and performances by ensembles including the Mivos Quartet, the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Khorikos, Ensemble Entropy, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, as well as being performed at DOCNYC, the Darmstadt Fereinkurse, Art Omi, Trinity College Dublin, and the Banff Centre. He has been acclaimed as a "master of improvisation" (IMPOSE Magazine) and “more than a little bit remarkable” (Free Jazz Blog) for his solo albums combining brass, percussion, voice, and electronics, released on labels including Not Art Records, Dinzu Artefacts, Verz Imprint, and I Low You. He currently lives in Chicago, studying music, performance, and philosophy as a doctoral student at Northwestern University. More on Ben here:

Carrie Marcott + Lily Booth: Diversity, Autonomy, and Creativity 

November 17+19

Participants in this workshop will learn about the creation & philosophy of Starlight Studio and Art Gallery. Starlight Studio, which opened in Buffalo, NY in 2005, is an art studio for adults with disabilities that encourages creative expression through a blend of spontaneous practices, coaching, modeling and technical support by teaching artists.  The Starlight program and its artists enjoy seamless engagement with the Buffalo community. Regular aspects of the Starlight experience include visiting galleries, hosting artists and exhibiting side by side with community artists.  Its public gallery brings more of the city into the Starlight space.  Furthermore, exhibitions and sales afford its artists the opportunity for some income. Workshop participants will understand how this deep community involvement expands the influences on the artists, broadens their identities while rounding out the base of stakeholders of Starlight Studio. Workshop participants will learn about the professional background of the founding director and one of the teaching artists and how their knowledge and skills lend themselves to Starlight Studio’s success. Furthermore, they will learn how the teaching artists assist the Starlight artists to find the optimum conditions for creative expression. This can often be a key aspect of the teaching artists’ work. Environmental factors, such as sound, lighting and proximity are considered as are materials, tactile sensitivity, frustration tolerance and conceptual interests.

Carrie Marcotte is the founding director of Starlight Studio and Art Gallery, which was created by the Learning Disabilities Association of Western New York in 2005.  With an emphasis on community activity, independence and individual choice, this dynamic program serves adults with development disabilities who have an interest in developing as artists.  Carrie has a Master of Arts degree in Art Therapy with a concentration in addictions treatment from Buffalo State College. After working as an art therapist in various treatment settings, she then worked as the coordinator of the Matter at Hand program at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.  There she worked with individuals across the life span with a range of disabilities in the museum setting.  While at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Carrie led efforts to employ universal design concepts to achieve greater museum access. Carrie taught classes in the Art Education Department at Buffalo State College about using museums as learning environments. She also worked at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center as a Special Needs Education Curator.

Lily Booth is a Western New York fiber and mixed media artist, currently working as a Teaching Artist at Starlight Studio and Art Gallery.  She received her BFA degree in fibers design from Buffalo State College and has shown her work in communities across upstate New York and in the Czech Republic.

Carolyn Roberts + Dr. Phil Stokes: Spacetimes with the Experts

November 24 + 26 

Have you ever wondered what the dinosaurs experienced? Or wondered what life was like on supercontinent Pangaea? In Ancient Spacetimes, you will be transported to the ancient worlds of the late Cretaceous to witness the formation of the Chicxulub impact crater, and then to the late Devonian when the days were only 22 hours long to learn about shallow sea life in now-WNY. Attendees will gain a broader sense of spacetime and strengthen their connection to our ever-changing home planet.

Dr. Roberts uses remote sensing techniques to study planetary surface processes. She recently received her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University at Buffalo, where she studied the Greenland Ice Sheet using laser altimetry and Digital Elevation Models ( Her previous research projects include mapping lunar lava tubes (, and lunar polar volatiles ( In her spare time, Carolyn performs science outreach ( She is currently writing a science fiction novel. 

Dr. Phil Stokes is the Executive Director of the Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve in Hamburg, NY. Prior to working for Big Fossil, Dr. Stokes served as instructor, research associate, academic advisor, and community outreach coordinator in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona — a top 10 Geology program — while pursuing his PhD. His 2016 dissertation, Diversity in Geoscience: Critical Incidents and Factors Affecting Choice of Major, used social and behavioural science to look at the factors behind underrepresentation in STEM fields, and in particular geology. Dr. Stokes has coordinated four multi-year National Science Foundation projects: three at the University of Arizona (including SAGUARO) and one at SUNY Buffalo, where he earned his B.S. (2004) and M.S. (2007) degrees in Geological Science. His thesis work used ground penetrating radar to search for mastodon bones and to map glacially deposited units at the Ice Age Hiscock Site near Rochester, NY. In his spare time he plays guitar and ukulele, travels, and brings a telescope to music festivals for late night stargazing.

Alexa Miller: Looking With Uncertainty®

December 1 + 3 

Looking With Uncertainty®

What sets masterful physicians apart from the norms of standard-fare US healthcare? In this talk, Miller shares her research on masterful diagnosticians, highlighting how the critical difference between good and great lies in response to uncertainty, and echo the ways in which artists respond to the world and approach their work.


Thursday workshop:

Great physicians don’t react to uncertainty. They look with it, like you would a work of art, with a friend. In this mini-workshop, participants will engage with visual art as an authentic experience of uncertainty, and unpack the experience using the Looking With Uncertainty® framework to identify and reflect upon key aspects of effective approaches to uncertainty.

Alexa Miller creates experiential learning opportunities that enable leaders, practitioners, and teachers in healthcare to be more effective and mindful in uncertainty. A leading voice for observation and inquiry practices in medicine, and for their cultivation in arts experiences, Miller is an original co-creator of Harvard Medical School’s Training the Eye: Improving the Art of Physical Diagnosis, a course that produced researched outcomes on the impact of arts experiences on medical student learning. Driven by a strong personal interest in misdiagnosis and medical learning, she is a current fellow with the Hermitage Artist Retreat, and recently served as a 2018- 2019 fellow with the Society for the Improvement of Diagnosis in Medicine. A kid who was always drawing, a trained visual artist and arts educator, and an avid reader of the learning sciences, Miller has been teaching medical learners and studying observation and critical thinking processes since 2003.  Miller’s consultancy, Arts Practica, offers arts-based workshops dedicated to nourishing the human intelligences of the healthcare workforce and the practices that support diagnostic safety, resilience, and effective team communication. Masterful at synthesizing medical wisdom from art, research, and personal stories, Miller is known as a dynamic teacher, speaker, and workplace trainer who brings a fresh perspective on difficult issues in medicine while engaging audiences in spirited participation. Miller has taught undergraduate courses in Education at both Brandeis University and at Wellesley College, facilitated a weekly Lab Group in Yale School of Management’s Program in Interpersonal and Group Dynamics, and formerly served Curator of Education at the Davis Museum. She received her BA from Swarthmore College in Art History with extensive studies in Education and in African Studies, and her MA in Studio Painting from the Wimbledon School of Art where her artwork focused on human resilience and medical imagery. She is extensively trained in Visual Thinking Strategies protocols for facilitation and coaching and has completed courses at the Center for Women and Enterprise. She has received awards from the Creative Center for People with Cancer and the New England Museum Association

 Yuki Numatta Resnick: Flexiblity, Creativity, and Courage

December 8 + 10  

What qualities does a 21st-century performer need? To flourish in an era without conventions but full of possibilities, an artist needs flexibility, creativity, and courage. Described by the New York Times as a player of “virtuosic flair and dexterous bravery,” contemporary violinist Yuki Numata Resnick has what it takes. Once an exclusive preserve, new music now recognizes few boundaries between genres, styles, or formats. Yuki’s artistic life tells its own story: her playing can be heard on labels from Deutsche Grammophon (Max Richter: Sleep; Richard Reed Parry: Music for Heart and Breath) and edition rz (Clara Iannotta: A Failed Entertainment) to 4AD (Beirut: No No No; The National: Trouble Will Find Me) and Warp (!!!: Strange Weather, Isn’t It?). Groups she has played with range from indie bands Beirut and Blonde Redhead to new music specialists ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble) and Talea Ensemble. She has also performed as soloist with the Knoxville Symphony, Tanglewood Orchestra and Wordless Music Orchestra. On her 2016 debut solo album, For Ko., Yuki interweaves the movements of J.S. Bach’s Partita No.1 in B minor with newly commissioned responses from Caleb Burhans, Clara Iannotta, Matt Marks, and Andrew Greenwald. These are all composers with whom she has developed a close musical relationship. Others include Jóhann Jóhannsson and Max Richter, for whom she has performed the eight-hour Sleep and been soloist in his Vivaldi Recomposed, both at Sydney Opera House. Collaboration and the creation of community are guiding values for Yuki, and exemplified with her non-profit organization Buffalo String Works, BSW. Yuki is a founder and Artistic Director of BSW which provides music lessons for children of refugee and immigrant families on the west side of Buffalo, NY. BSW is also a training ground for the college-age teachers and future artistic leaders who work with its young participants. Born in Vancouver, Yuki holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan. Her mentors include Zvi Zeitlin and Andrew Jennings.


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