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The MoSAIC Plan

Overview and Goals

A Bridges workshop presenter with models

A large Bridges workshop crowd

Bridges Art Exhibition examples

A typical Bridges workshop

Fun with modular construction

A large group construction at Bridges 2012

Bridges 2012 – a large Zome construction

The MoSAIC Project creates and manages a series of weekend Math/Art events at colleges and universities around the US and abroad, with the purpose of introducing students, faculty, and the public to some of the rich interactions which are taking place in the interdisciplinary area between mathematics and many other cultural domains, such as the visual arts, architecture, sculpture, origami, music, dance, poetry, puzzles, games, juggling, etc. While experts in the field are involved in various existing conferences and gatherings, there is insufficient outreach to the broader academic community and the public.

An important goal of this effort is to expose students and the public to aspects of mathematics which are not widely appreciated. Popular culture promotes misconceptions that mathematics is sterile, static, and mechanical. But we have found that art is an excellent way to show that mathematics is a lively, creative subject with deep beauty and real human connections. All of the above mentioned domains, when properly presented, can serve as hooks that engage people to move past their preconceived notions and taste some of the richness of mathematics. By changing people’s attitudes, they are then more likely to be receptive to new mathematical experiences and some will begin to investigate further. We hope through this route to gradually shift the culture so more people consider study and careers in mathematics.

The Nature of a MoSAIC Festival

MoSAIC Festivals are art/math mini-conferences that incorporate lectures, hands-on workshops, an art exhibition, video screenings, and space for participants to display works which they bring. A typical festival will last two days, typically a Saturday and Sunday, and will be freely open to the public, with the intent of attracting high school teachers and classes.

There will be four areas open (at most times) for participants to visit:

  1. A hall with featured, scheduled lectures and also for math/art movie screening 
  2. A room for hands-on workshops
  3. The mathematical art exhibit (which may possibly be open for up to several months if the host has the space available until the next MoSAIC Festival when the artworks are needed)
  4. An informal display space with tables where participants may bring items they have created and where we expect to find a great deal of informal exchange.

Attendees will be able to explore among these four tracks to find material of most interest to them.

How Does a MoSAIC Festival Work?

A successful MoSAIC Festival is a collaboration among MSRI, the Bridges organization, and the local organizers at the host organization, and is coordinated by the MoSAIC Project Manager. It is important to note that all you, the host organization, need to provide are local organizers, time, energy, and enthusiasm!  There is no direct monetary cost to a host organization to bring a MoSAIC Festival to their campus.

The MoSAIC Project Manager will coordinate the following activities:

MSRI provides

  • final approval of site and speaker selections
  • funding to ship the art exhibit to and from each location
  • funding for speaker honorariums and travel/meal/accommodation reimbursements

The Bridges Organization provides

  • processing of applications
  • proposal of sites, speaker, and workshop presenters to MSRI for final approval
  • coordination of all logistics with local hosts and invited speakers and workshop presenters

The local organizers provide

  • coordination with local institution to provide suitable spaces for the festival (see application form for details)
  • equipment such as LCD projectors, screens, DVD player, office supplies, tables, etc.
  • a small team of about 4 people  to set up the art exhibit, video screening, and other rooms, and to tear down afterward

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