SANTA FE ― The School for Advanced Research (SAR) has announced the next lecture in its second annual Creative Thought Forum series.
Computer scientist Leah Buechley presents “Connecting Science, Technology, and Culture in Education” 6:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11 at the James A. Little Theater in Santa Fe.
Buechley is a founder and former science director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s High-Low Tech research group. From 2009 to 2014 the MIT research group developed projects like interactive wallpaper, circuit stickers, DIY cell phones and other electronic interactives.
In her talk, Buechley will explore gender equity in education environments, including makerspaces. From e-textiles to paper circuits, Buechley shows how tech that integrates traditional cultural practices, such as weaving or papermaking, can invite new questions about authority and accessibility.
She observes, “Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is often promoted as a path to personal and national success. Though these fields are widely advocated for, many remain startlingly non-diverse. Google’s technical workforce is only 20% female and less than 5% black and Hispanic. We rarely think of them this way, [but] STEM disciplines are cultural disciplines as much as they are intellectual ones. Some cultural practices, rich with STEM content, are mostly invisible in educational and social contexts while others dominate.”
Buechley is the inventor of the LilyPad Arduino, a well-known construction kit for sew-able electronics, and she currently runs a design firm, Rural / Digital, that explores playful integrations of technology and design. Her work has been featured in publications including the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Popular Science, and Wired.
Launched in September 2017, SAR’s Creative Thought Forum brings cutting-edge thinkers to Santa Fe to discuss topics of broad social concern. Last year, the series addressed the theme Designing the Future and included Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, among other noted scholars.
This year the series asks how traditional practices interact with innovative thinking. Across the year, SAR will host five significant scholars whose approaches, research, and projects examine this intersection. Experts explore topics ranging from the social and cognitive impacts of digital communication to biologists’ design of new organisms.
Talks are held at the James A. Little Theater at the New Mexico School for the Deaf in Santa Fe on a Thursday evening and followed the next day with a speaker-led salon-style discussion that facilitates a deeper exploration of the topics raised in the lecture. The salons, hosted at SAR, offer lively face-to-face engagement with these influential writers and scholars. Thursday lectures are free for SAR members and $10 for nonmembers. Friday salons are free and open to SAR members.