ACCelerate Festival to showcase exploration, innovation across ACC

>March 29, 2019

ACCelerate Festival to showcase exploration, innovation across ACC

Virginia Tech and the Smithsonian Institution are leading the second ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival on April 5-7, 2019, at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

The three-day festival is a unique opportunity for schools across the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) to convene and celebrate creative exploration and research happening at the nexus of science, engineering, arts, and design (SEAD).

The 2019 ACCelerate festival is programmed by Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Visitors will have an opportunity to interact with innovators and experience new interdisciplinary technologies developed to address global challenges. The event is free and open to the public.

“ACCelerate is the first and largest event of its kind, and brings together transdisciplinary student and faculty researchers from across the ACC, from across all disciplines,” said Ben Knapp, director of ICAT and co-chair of the festival. “This is the largest non-sporting event in ACC history and is designed to showcase to the public the breadth and depth of the creative process in the ACC – from imagination to innovation.”

Exhibits, performances, and events will take over the west wing of the National Museum of American History and will feature 38 interactive installations from across the 15 ACC schools. They will be grouped in three thematic areas: Exploring Place and Environment; Exploring Health, Body, and Mind; and Exploring Culture and the Arts.

Knapp said many innovative ideas and projects were submitted by each of the ACC schools and selecting the exhibits and performances to be showcased at the festival was competitive and carefully considered.

“Each university nominated up to five projects to be considered for the festival,” said Knapp. “The steering committee, comprised of one member from each of the 15 participating ACC schools, ranked the proposals. The steering committee, along with the Smithsonian, then met in Washington to discuss the highest ranked proposals and make final selections.”

Virginia Tech and the Smithsonian expect nearly 50,000 visitors from all ages and background to learn and experience — many for the first time — the strength of creativity and innovation that resides in the ACC.

“This event enables the research-intensive universities of the ACC to discover each other’s work and look for emergent networks that might never have happened had it not been for the opportunities we’ve created through ACCelerate,” said Knapp.

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