Boot Camp

Third Annual Creative Practice Boot Camp

Friday, January 24, 2014, at the Curb Center at Vanderbilt

Curb Creative Practice Boot Camp

The Curb Creative Practice Boot Camp offers a unique opportunity for faculty, staff, students, and Nashville community members to experiment alongside each other as they strengthen their creative capacities. The Curb Bootcamp focuses on creative practice—hands-on workshops that enable participants to experience the joy, the messiness, the range of decisions and trade-offs involved in creative practice.  Rather than just listening and talking to experts about improvisation, data visualization, storytelling, or design thinking, participants immerse themselves in creative process—with experts to guide them. Participants develop fundamental insights, techniques, and strategies to inspire and realize creative goals and collaborative work in their personal and professional lives.  We think of it as a TedX of creative practice.

All events are free but require advance registration. Register here:

Waitlist policy: If a session you would like to attend fills up before you can reserve a spot, email with the name and time of the session in the subject line.  We will notify you if a spot becomes available.

Brainstorming with Groups

David A. Owens, Product Designer & Developer,Strategic Innovator, Professor at Vanderbilt University
Brainstorming. We’re told that it’s a tool for generating ideas, but so many of us are reluctant to use it. And it’s no wonder—you’ve probably been to one of those brainstorming sessions where everyone sits with their heads down, furtively glancing at each other when the leader asks them to share their ideas. But that’s not how it has to be. This hands-on workshop will give you a framework for understanding the tension between a group’s information-processing ability and the emotional dynamics that act to constrain it. Then, armed with a few simple insights, a handful of Sharpies, and a big stack of Post-it Notes, you’ll be able to break your team through the “creative people must be stopped” attitude prevalent in so many groups and organizations.


Second City Improv, Lauren Dowden & Rachel Miller
Do you wish you could be more spontaneous and innovative in the classroom, when presenting your work, or on project teams? Do you wish you were better at listening, building on others ideas, or using humor to break through difficult moments? The Second City Master Class Workshop will immerse you in the fundamentals of improvisation.

Sensemaking and Sensegiving

Chris Wales, Organizational Behavior and Communication, Evaluation and Decision Making
“You’re dangerous, ’cos you’re honest.” Do you find that your group often ends up either taking the easy option or becoming mired in complex frustration? Do you find yourselves talking at crosspurposes? Is it hard to make sense of just what is going on and honestly say what you mean so you will be understood? This session focuses on understanding how the concepts of “sensemaking” and “sensegiving” can improve our collective understanding and resolution of group processes and enable increased skills of interpretation.

Networked Knowledge

Ryan Hargrove, Creativity Scholar, Design Educator, and Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at University of Kentucky
Where do good ideas come from? It is a question of intrinsic interest for all of us. Regardless of our discipline, we want to be more creative, we want to come up with better ideas and develop more innovative solutions. Design educator Ryan Hargrove looks at this problem from a cognitive perspective, examining how we can build the capacity to increase levels of creativity and innovation. In order for us to truly create and contribute, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these pieces and build new solutions. We will practice a variety of creative strategies using the skill of association, revealing that the most dramatic results happen when ideas are combined and that connecting ideas enables creative leaps.


Tom Douglas, Songwriter
Leslie Satcher, Songwriter, Performer
Are you interested in making music in Music City? In this intimate workshop, you will work with one of Nashville’s hit songwriters to learn the craft of songwriting. Together, workshop participants will write an original song from start to finish. The process will reveal the interplay between storytelling and musical composition and highlight the strategies that songwriters deploy to balance originality with writing a hit that will appeal to a broad public.

Music and Sound Design in Broadcast Media

Aaron Gant, Vice President of Production for Warner/Chappell Production Music
Jeff Lusk,  Music Supervisor, Sound Designer
Warner/Chappell Production Music is an exciting new company owned by legendary music publisher Warner/Chappell Music. Warner/Chappell Production Music’s brands have composed works for countless well-known television shows, films, and companies, including the Today Show, Disney, and Volkswagen.
Ever wonder what goes into creating the sound of everything you watch in broadcast? Music and sound design bring television and movies to life in a way that nothing else can. Even something as simple as a 30-second television commercial contains layers of audio mixed together to create a final soundscape. Learn how it’s done with a hands-on session as we work together to create the sound of a recent broadcast spot.

Second Annual Creative Practice Boot Camp–SOLD OUT

Friday, August 31, 2012 at the Curb Center at Vanderbilt

Our first Curb Creative Practice Bootcamp was a tremendous success—with 600 participant slots selling out in less than 5 hours.  Workshops were offered in Design Thinking, Storytelling, Habits of Creative Problem Solving (with Eric Booth), Giving and Receiving Feedback with Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process, Graphic Facilitation, and Improvisation.
Our Second Annual Curb Creative Practice Bootcamp will offer workshops in: Empathic Interviewing (Jacki Lyden, NPR); Improvisation (Second City Improv); Storytelling (Minton Sparks), Brainstorming (Barry Kudrowitz); Looking/Thinking by Analogy (Kerry Ruef, The Private Eye); and Data Visualization (Eric Rodenbeck, Stamen Design).
The Bootcamp is a signature program of the Creative Campus Initiative, an initiative to build the creative capacity of faculty, staff, and students to harness their disciplinary knowledge to solve problems, launch entrepreneurial ideas, and advance innovation.

Last year, the Creative Campus Initiative launched the first annual Creative Practice Boot Camp and SOLD OUT all sessions.  See photos from last year’s Boot Camp.  

Second City Improv, Lauren Dowden & Rachel Miller
Do you wish you could be more spontaneous and innovative in the classroom, when presenting your work, or on project teams? Do you wish you were better at listening, building on others ideas, or using humor to break through difficult moments? The Second City Master Class Workshop will immerse you in the fundamentals of improvisation.
Minton Sparks, Storyteller, Spoken Word Artist, Poet, Writer
Seeking to improve your ability to share your story and ideas? This workshop is for faculty, staff, and students interested in harnessing the fundamentals of storytelling, narrative, and poetry to bring concepts to life in the classroom, engage others in creative projects or research, and present their story in a compelling way in job interviews, presentations, and essays.
Data Visualization
Eric Rodenbeck, Stamen Design’s Founder and Creative Director, Esquire Magazine’s “Best and Brightest” New Designer and Thinker
Seeking to convey complex data to students, colleagues, and audiences in more compelling and engaging ways?  Wish you were more facile with ways to display, understand, and navigate through rich and varied flows of information?  Eric Rodenbeck, a cutting-edge leader in this emergent field, will bring you behind-the-scenes of his design process, offering you insight into the analytical and narrative choices that drive successful data visualization and the development of data-driven narrative.
Barry Kudrowitz, Designer of Special Effects, Amusement Park Rides, Projectile Nerf Toys, and Professor of Product Design at University of Minnesota
Wish you could improve your ability to elicit ideas in the classroom, at research meetings, or with clients? This workshop offers an extremely fast-paced immersive experience in leading brainstorming sessions and utilizing humor and play to facilitate strategic discussion. You’ll learn how to set the stage for brainstorming—focusing on how to harness the best of both individual and group brainstorming—and how to synthesize and build upon ideas to develop novel, unforeseen possibilities.
Looking/Thinking by Analogy
Kerry Ruef, Educator, Founder and Director of The Private Eye®, with David Melody
What are the habits of seeing and thinking that enable you to ask provocative questions, theorize across domains and disciplines, strip away stereotyped assumptions and images, and think through analogy? The Private Eye workshop offers a hands-on learning process employing a jeweler’s loupe, a series of questions, and everyday objects, that will provide you the foundation for rich communication, hypothesizing, theorizing, and interdisciplinary thinking.

Empathic Interviewing

Jacki Lyden, NPR contributing host and correspondent, journalist, author
What are the keys to empathic interviewing?  How do you draw out and listen for unstated meaning and deeper understanding? How do you prompt an interviewee to reflect and think? This workshop is for doctors and nurses, researchers, artists, journalists, leaders, and designers seeking to enhance their empathic interviewing skills, and for potential employers who seek to get the most out of their recruitment interviews.  NPR correspondent Jacki Lyden also will invite us to consider the ethical implications of utilizing interviews and how to maintain the integrity of a story when one can only share shorter excerpts.
First Annual Creative Campus Bootcamp