The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) Emerging Creatives Student Summits bring together students who have an interest in the arts, crossing disciplinary boundaries, and developing collaborative projects. Each year, 80-100 undergraduate and graduate students attend the summit from a2ru partner universities across the country, along with 12-15 administrators, faculty, and staff. These summits have a strong project-based component with activities such as panel discussions with special guests, keynote speakers, site visits or field trips, performances and exhibitions, networking opportunities, and “bootcamp” or skill-building experiences built in throughout to collaboratively tackle and solve grand challenges*.


This year’s theme is Spectacle and the Collective ExperienceWhen people think of Mardi Gras in Louisiana, they think of the spectacle of the parades, the costumes, the drinking, and the food. But that’s just what people see on the surface. The real spectacle is how Mardi Gras overwhelms almost every aspect of life; the preparations, the planning, the parties, the very identity of people and their communities.


We see spectacle all around us: the spectacle of grand science research (gravitational waves and genomics), the spectacle of politics, of theatre, music, and sports. This year’s Emerging Creatives Student Summit will examine how spectacle defines us as a society and community and how we can use it to address the critical issues we face.

How does spectacle define us as a community and a society?

How can we use it to address the critical issues we face?


This summit will feature panels and working group leadership from distinguished professors at Louisiana State University, as well as leading artists and scholars from around the country. Join us this coming February 15-18 to advance your own creative work or research through interdisciplinary collaboration with your peers at leading institutions across the U.S. Undergraduate and graduate students in any and all fields are welcome, particularly those that care about and have a deep interest in the concept of this year's theme. We especially encourage student research teams from biology, ecology, and related fields, as well as artists/designers, to apply.

*Grand challenges are ambitious but achievable goals that harness science, technology, and innovation to solve important national or global problems and that have the potential to capture the public's imagination.


Open to undergraduate and graduate students from a2ru partner institutions.

There is no fee to attend the summit. Student or student's institution is responsible for travel and board. Some meals are provided as part of the summit experience.

A limited number of travel grants are available. To apply, click HERE.

Dr. Gabriela González, who is a professor of physics at Louisiana State University and served as spokesperson at Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), will be engaging students and faculty at the 2018 a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Summit during the off-site trip to LIGO.

González is the first women to earn full professorship in her department and is recognized as one of the world's top 10 scientists by Nature, Scientist of the Year by Great Minds in STEM, and one of the top 100 Leading Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. González’s multidimensional skills working as both a theorist, and now

experimentalist, were used as she managed and led the international team of scientists who discovered the first signs of gravitational waves in February 2016. Once theorized by Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, these ripples in the fabric of space are now captured in data and graphs for us to see. Gravitational waves can’t be observed directly and González helped create the detectors to make them visible. Both González’s leadership and the work at LIGO is expanding the opportunities for future discovery in gravitational-wave astronomy and “pushing the edge of the technology, inspiring a new generation of scientists.” (Source)


LIGO is a national facility dedicated to the direct detection of gravitational waves and home to the world’s largest precision optical instruments. It is one of only five gravitational wave interferometers in the world and also houses around 50 interactive science exhibits for visitors to experience. At LIGO, students will experience the spectacle of science for themselves and consider:

  • What is the significance of the unseen in the universe becoming seen?

  • How does spectacle affirm and expand our belief of discovery?

Through a collective experience visiting LIGO, students will explore and investigate the spectacle of scientific evidence, data, and discovery with Dr. González.

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