Maeda’s talk, “Turning STEM into STEAM,” will illustrate the concept of combining science, technology, engineering and math — the STEM subjects — with another letter, an “A” for art.
“The current excitement in ways of integrating the arts and humanities with STEM is part of a centuries-old challenge of how to integrate the different ways we make sense of and work in the world. We need both deep disciplinary experts but also professionals with the ability to cross disciplines to solve hard problems,” said Dr. Roger Malina, who holds the Arts and Technology Distinguished Chair at UT Dallas. “John Maeda has been a longtime proponent of the STEAM movement, and his insights will only encourage the North Texas community toward a new vision of rethinking both the arts and the sciences.”
With a career that reflects his philosophy of humanizing technology, Maeda has worked to integrate technology, education and the arts into a 21st-century synthesis of creativity and innovation. Esquire named him one of the “75 most influential people of the 21st century,” and, in 2014, President Barack Obama named him a member of the National Council on the Arts.
Maeda has been at the forefront of the STEM-to-STEAM movement since June 2008 when he became the president of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Called the “Steve Jobs of academia” by Forbes, he believes art and design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century as science and technology did in the last century. Maeda announced his departure from RISD in December 2013, when he took on new roles as design partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and chairman of eBay’s design advisory board.
Maeda previously served as associate director of research at the MIT Media Lab. He serves on the boards of Sonos, Quirky and Wieden+Kennedy, as well as on the Davos World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership.
His books include The Laws of Simplicity, Creative Code and Redesigning Leadership. Maeda received the AIGA Medal in 2010, and his artwork is represented in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.