Convergence Symposium
Public Talk


with the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities
February 11 - 12, 2021

This event occurred as part of the 20/21 Public Talk season. This is an archived view.

The Convergence Series is a Hopkins Center initiative bridging arts and sciences to advance arts-integrative research and address urgent environmental and social challenges.


Over 300 people hailing from Dartmouth and around the world participated in the Convergence Symposium on February 11th and 12th. Scholars and students joined artists and activists to discuss new projects at the intersections of art, science and activism, while energizing presentations focused on strategies for interdisciplinary communication and collaboration in our classrooms and communities.

Watch the full symposium or click on a link below to watch a specific presentation.

Watch the Symposium

Thursday, Feb 11: Day 1

12:30–12:45 pm — Welcome
Mary Lou Aleskie
Elizabeth Wilson
Symposium Outline (Mary Lou Aleskie)
Joseph Helble
Samantha Lazar
12:45–1:15 pm — NASEM and a2ru presentations
"Branches from the Same Tree" (Ashley Bear, National Academies)
View Slides
"Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities" (Maryrose Flanigan, a2ru)
View Slides
1:15–1:30 pm — Artist Presentation
"The Force of Things" (Ash Fure)
1:30–2:15 pm — Scholar Presentations
"Environmental Humanities at Dartmouth" (Laura Ogden, Damiano Benvegnu and Matteo Gilebbi)
"Building Musical Bridges" (Vicki May)
"Energy Politics and Museum Practices" (Chad Elias)
2:15–2:30 pm — Artist Presentation
"Embodied Representations of a Changing World" (Miwa Matreyek)
2:30–3 pm — Breakout sessions (not recorded)

Friday, Feb 12: Day 2

12:30–12:45 pm — Welcome 
Barbara Will
12:45–1:15 pm — Keynote 
"Facilitating Convergence Through Dialogue: The Toolbox Dialogue Method" (Michael O'Rourke)
View Slides
1:15–1:45 pm — Artist Presentation
"Atmospherics of Risk" (Jenny Offill and Katie Stewart)
1:45–2:30 pm — Student Presentations
"Tiny Research Station" (Emma Doherty, Grace Neiswander, Soon Young Shimizu, Bradley Hart, Andrew Moura, Jack Lipson)
"Weather Satellite Interception Project" (James Monaco)
"Intersections of Science, Food, Slavery, and Colonialism" (Fatema Begum)
"Music as Medicine: Exploring Music as a Potential Therapy for Epilepsy" (Robert Quon)
"The Napkin Poetry Review: Our Minds on Poetry" (Caroline King)
"Below the Astral Shroud" (Sebastian Logue)
"Sharing the Ordinary Genius of Black Americans through Film, TV, and Other Storytelling Media." (Dominique Mobley)
2:30–2:45 pm — Artist Presentation
"Specious Skies" (Berndnaut Smilde)
2:45-2:50 pm — National Science Foundation Funding Opportunities 
Charlotte Bacon
2:50–3 pm — Symposium Summary 
Ross Virginia
3 pm — Closing Remarks 
Mary Lou Aleskie

Accompanying Events
Feb 11: Dancing the Poetics of Science, a presentation by dancer/choreographer/scholars Emily Coates and Manou Phuon, incorporating a discussion, video and a movement workshop on their dance work inspired by ecological and astronomical research.

February 11–17: The Hop screened the film 2040 on demand. It is a documentary about the central place of clean energy in shaping a world to pass on to today's children.

Convergence is part of the Hopkins Center's ongoing commitment to making the arts indispensable to all academic disciplines, including STEM fields — a trend embraced by forward-thinking educators throughout the globe.
Learn More About The Convergence Series >

The Symposium on February 11 & 12 launches the Convergence Series and will include academic and artistic presentations and public discourse (see below for full schedule).

The final of 21 such events held at universities across the nation over 18 months, the Symposium was originally scheduled for last spring and has been reimagined in a virtual format. It will bring together researchers, artists, students and higher-education administrators to explore how and why to bridge the divide between arts and sciences in the academy.

The symposium includes talks by interdisciplinary project leaders, including faculty as well as students, and artists working at the intersection of science and creative practice. The forum will also include practical break-out sessions to discuss strategies for cultivating interdisciplinary research across arts and sciences here at Dartmouth and at other institutions.

Free and open to the public. 

The Convergence symposium is a collaboration with a2ru (The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities) in partnership with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM). It is made possible with major support from The Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society and additional support from The Leslie Center for the Humanities.

Keynote Speaker Michael O'Rourke, Ph.D.

"Facilitating Convergence Through Dialogue: The Toolbox Dialogue Method"

When convergence of the arts, humanities and sciences works, it is both integrative and innovative, creating novelty at the confluence of perspectives. But simply bringing different perspectives together does not entail their integration — they could fly apart, reinforcing dismissive attitudes and exclusionary prejudices. Instead, integration should be facilitated, and one effective mechanism for facilitating integration is dialogue. In this talk, I will detail the history and practice of the Toolbox dialogue method, a philosophically-based approach to facilitating cross-disciplinary integration. The Toolbox dialogue method has been deployed in more than 370 workshops worldwide over the past 15 years, including many at the intersection of the arts, humanities, and sciences.


Michael O'Rourke is Professor of Philosophy and faculty in AgBioResearch and Environmental Science & Policy at Michigan State University. He is Director of the MSU Center for Interdisciplinarity and Director of the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative, an NSF-sponsored research initiative that investigates philosophical approaches to facilitating interdisciplinary research. His research interests include epistemology, communication and epistemic integration in collaborative, cross-disciplinary research, and linguistic communication between intelligent agents.

The "Branches From the Same Tree" Project

The symposium is the culmination of a multi-year project of a2ru in partnership with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Focused on studying the evidence surrounding integrating disciplines in higher education, the project's history is as follows:

2015: A meeting of more than 110 scientists, engineers, artists, humanists, educators, policymakers and industry executives convened by NASEM leads creation of a committee tasked with examining the evidence behind the assertion that educational programs that mutually integrate learning experiences in the humanities and arts with science, technology engineering, math, and medicine lead to improved educational and career outcomes for undergraduate and graduate students. 
2018: The committee publishes a report titled The Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Higher Education: Branches from the Same Tree, concluding that the evidence does in fact support that assertion. 
2018-2020: 21 town halls across the country gathering leaders and practitioners in a variety of fields to discuss and examine the findings of the NASEM report and collaborate on ways to integrate the findings into their regions and institutions.

Questions about Convergence? Please contact Samantha Lazar, Curator of Academic Programming at

In the News


The Convergence series is an embodiment of the Hopkins Center's commitment to making the arts indispensable to all academic disciplines, bridging arts and sciences to address urgent challenges...

Learn More
Spring Hop@Home
2020/21 Hop@Home

Each week, our virtual stage brings adventurous artistry into your living room. The Hop offers a varied weekly line-up of online programming including live-streamed performances, film recommendations...

Learn More

Contact Us

Box Office

Box Office Summer Hours: 
Tuesday-Friday: 2-5 pm
Open one hour prior to all ticketed events.
There will be extended hours 12-5 pm Tuesday-Friday from July 9-26 for the Live Season On Sale. 

Visiting Information

More information will be sent in a ticket holder email or posted on this page prior to the event.