UTEP’s Centennial Museum Offers Lecture Series on the Creative Process

“Inspiration and Perspiration,” a free monthly lecture series highlighting the research and creative process of faculty, staff and students at UTEP, will launch Saturday, Nov. 10.

The series is open to the public and begins with “Scratching the Surface of Africa’s Emerald Abyss: Searching for New Species in the Jungles of Congo,” presented by Eli Greenbaum, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology. The lecture will take place from 11 a.m. to noon at UTEP’s Centennial Museum.

“The faculty, students and staff at The University of Texas at El Paso have amazing creativity,” said Scott Cutler, interim director of the Centennial Museum. “Yet, the people of El Paso rarely, if ever, hear about it, much less understand how the research and creative endeavors were envisioned, planned and brought to fruition - the fun, the danger, the ‘Ah-ha’ moment that leads to something totally unexpected and fresh.”

Cutler established the lecture series as a way to connect the public to the innovation at the University in an accessible, comfortable way. He recruited presenters by asking them to make their presentations into “storytelling with facts” so that each lecture is as casual as possible. Cutler is in the process of contacting local schools to invite students and teachers in order to inspire young people.

Each lecture will include a 20- to 30-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. Presenters will discuss the essence of their research, the process they used, the experiences they had doing the work, and the outcomes they achieved. Most importantly, each presentation will be as approachable as possible – “straight-forward, free of jargon, and presented to engage the general public,” Cutler said.

“It is also a way for scientists and creative people to show the public that science, creativity and innovation are more than the end result; it is the process and the adventure that are just as important and rewarding.”

Another important aspect of the series is that it will encompass all disciplines, not only science. The December lecture will feature award-winning author Benjamin Alire Saenz. February’s event will be presented by Myron Nadel of the Department of Theatre and Dance. No lecture is planned during UTEP’s winter break in January.

More information about upcoming lectures, as well as directions to the Centennial Museum, can be found at museum.utep.edu or by calling 915-747-6668.