ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival

Virginia Tech and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History presented the first annual ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival on October 13-15, 2017. The festival, programmed by Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology and the Museum’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, was a three-day celebration of creative exploration and research at the nexus of science, engineering, arts, and design (SEAD). Visitors to the festival interacted with innovators and experienced new interdisciplinary technologies developed to address global challenges. The event was free and open to the public.

The ACCelerate festival was an opportunity for all ACC schools in partnership with the Lemelson Center to showcase their work to the public, each other, students, alumni, companies, legislators, and invited guests from the nation’s capital.

Festival Format
The festival took over the west wing of the National Museum of American History, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th Streets NW.

There were 48 interactive installations from across the 15 ACC schools grouped in six thematic areas:

  • Civic Engagement
  • Art and Technology
  • Sustainability and Environment
  • Biomimetics
  • Health and Body
  • Making and Advanced Manufacturing

In addition, visitors experienced 15 dramatic and musical performances and nine panel discussions featuring Smithsonian and ACC students, scholars and staff exploring key questions about creativity and innovation.

ACCelerating Impact! 2017

Virginia Tech’s Center for Research in SEAD Education (CRSE) has taken the lead to evaluate the impact of ACCelerate! The leadership team from Virginia Tech and the Smithsonian is working in collaboration with Boston College, Duke, Florida State, the University of Miami, and the University of Virginia to assess the event’s value and efficacy. With the help of 50 volunteers, information is being gathered from festival attendees, exhibitors, volunteers, and the steering and planning committees using surveys, talk-back boards, and business cards to assess the potential for downstream partnership development. The CRSE will analyze the information and publish a report for stakeholders at all ACC institutions and the Smithsonian. The evaluation team members include:

  • Joe Burns, Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Boston College
  • Randi Clayton, Center for Research in SEAD Education, Virginia Tech
  • Molly Goldwasser, Office for Academic Affairs, Duke University
  • Sue Magliaro, Center for Research in SEAD Education, Virginia Tech
  • Laurel Miller, Smithsonian Museum of American History
  • Phyllis Newbill, Center for Research in SEAD Education, Virginia Tech
  • Andrea Pinto, Office of Assessment and Accreditation, University of Miami
  • Greg Taylor, School of Teacher Education, Florida State University
  • Matthew Wheelock, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia