Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Interview with Kristin Fields

Creative Connections Network Summer Newsletter 2013

Interview with Outgoing CEE Conference Director Kristin Fields, ‘02

By Amy Frazier, ‘11

During the 2012 CEE conference a year ago, I looked up at one point in my trek between buildings and around construction zones to see Conference Director Kristin Fields standing on the ramp at the back of the student union, marshaling us all in the direction of lunch. She looked so elegantly composed amid all the conference comings and goings and the dust and noise of construction that I found myself commenting to her on it.  At other times, during that conference and the others I’ve attended, I’d see her often in the hallway as sessions let out – always with that same sense of composed awareness and attention to our conference experience.

As a relatively recent graduate, I’ve only ever known the conference with Kristin at its helm. This year, after four years as Conference Director, she’s stepping down. Since her contributions have been many, and since I can’t quite yet imagine CEE without her as Director, I decided to interview her. Below are highlights from our conversation.

Amy Frazier:  How does it feel to be done?

Kristin Fields: Good! I’ve finally realized my part in the process. We really created this great thing and I can see how I have helped to make that happen. It has a really solid structure and it’s part of the fabric of the community. It’s a happy ending. I feel really good.

AF: What went through your mind when you began four years ago?

KF: I was excited about it. My previous job had been event management. I moved to facilitation, and missed the event management. This was like both. The conference had been the responsibility of the Graduate Assistant, but a new one always had to be retrained. Gerard wanted more continuity.

AF: And you did this along with having a full time job?

KF: This was the hardest challenge. I wanted to work on the conference all the time. My “5 - 9 work…” It was pretty much a year round job.

AF: I’m imagining that the degree came in handy.

KF: Oh my gosh! “It sure is a good thing we all have degrees in creative problem solving” – that was our mantra. All the times I filled my dining room table with Post-its! I would travel for work, and in airports it was process maps and flow charts. Each year there was some crisis. I used the degree formally or informally the whole way through.

AF: Tell me about one of the crises.

KF: The construction around the building! Last year I didn’t find out about it until I pulled in with bagels and muffins on the opening day. Another was the year before last, when I found out a week and half before the conference that there would be no food on campus. I was eight and a half months pregnant and dragging coolers to Bulger so people could have beverages for lunch…

AF: You taught the conference class as part of the job as well.

KF: Yes – I wanted to put my fingerprint on the course contract. Challenging people to take a stretch workshop was my contribution. This has been one of the most successful experiences for the students. It’s opened doors for people. I enjoyed this the most. We look to push people outside their own paradigms; we were really trying to be thoughtful about how to make the experience meaningful.

AF: You at one point were the President of the Alumni Network, so you’re the perfect person to ask: is CEE “the alumni conference?”

KF: Yes and no. Yes because most of our attendees are alumni. But it’s open to anyone who’s got a strong interest. We do want it to be a reunion, a homecoming. We want people to think “I have to go so I can see my colleagues and be refreshed and have more energy.” But now there’s also more of a focused push outward.
Everyone who comes is exactly who we want to have here.

AF: What’s next for you?

KF: I’ll be doing some adjunct teaching and I’m looking forward to spending more time with students. The position was heavy on logistics, time management, project management, physical labor. I’m looking forward to taking on intellectuality again. Having time to read before 10:30 pm.

AF: How about an IWBGI for CEE.

KF: IWBGI… there could be no more construction going on! To give some creative thought to the location; maybe a new space will present itself on campus.

AF: Where does CEE go from here?

KF: It was great that it was so hard to select the workshops this year. People were telling me they were mad they couldn’t go to everything. I’ll take that “negative feedback” and be really proud of it! Finally, we’re there – with the caliber we’re looking for. The continued challenge is to promote that caliber.

AF: Thanks for an inspiring conversation.

KF: It’s been an honor.

Creative Connections Network Summer 2013 Newsletter

Creative Connections Network Summer Newsletter 2013

 The alumni chapter of the International Center for Studies in Creativity. 

Dear ICSC Alumni,

For the Summer newsletter, we have a Creativity Expert Exchange Conference report; an update on the Beyonder Academy (Buffalo-area folks, take note: they’re hiring teachers for this summer’s camp!); an interview with outgoing CEE Conference Director Kristin Fields; and the introduction of CCN Board Members Kathysue Dorey and Jason Hall – plus Jason’s description of the value of CCN involvement from the perspective of a current student.

Also make sure you scroll to the Creative Class Notes section below.

A note of congratulations to all the recent graduates of the program – welcome to the alumni community!

Yours in the Creative Spirit,

Amy Frazier ‘11
CCN President

CEE Conference Update
The CCN produced a table at the Taste of Creativity during the conference opening night. Cory Wright ‘00, Shawn Kassirer, and Amy Frazier ‘11 introduced various membership and technology initiatives, including the prototype of an online alumni directory, and the Conference Ambassador and Connect2Challenge programs. Alumni who are interested in membership information are invited to contact Cory Wright, Membership Director at

For a brief review of the faculty research presentation and other conference impressions, see also: Creativity Alumni, Experts Converge on Campus.

Expanding Beyond...

By Jenna Smith, ‘12

The Beyonder Academy formerly known as Camp UpRising, the kids creativity camp sponsored by the ICSC, is expanding beyond it's original kids day camp concept. This year, the summer camp hosted in Buffalo, N.Y. has doubled in size. As a result, camp Co-founders and Directors Ismet Mamnoon '13, Jenna Smith '12 and Pam Szalay '08 are seeking to hire Lead Teachers and Assistant Teachers for the one week camp August 5-9. 

The team is also working with groups globally to develop training programs and potential Beyonder Satellite campuses. The team is happy to report Ismet will be representing The Beyonder Academy in Santiago, Chile to work with educators and children as part of Chile's year of creativity and innovation. This Fall the Beyonder team will be traveling to China to train educators as part of an initiative by the Chinese government to infuse creativity into the current educational system in China. For more information on The Beyonder Academy, please visit their website at

New CCN Board Members:
Joining the CCN team are Jason Hall, and Kathysue Dorey ’13. Jason, currently Graduate Assistant, is assuming the role of CCN Secretary. Freshly-minted graduate Kathysue is helming Special Projects.  Look for updates on their work in upcoming newsletters. We’re very happy to have them on board!

An Infinite Web of Relationships
By Jason Hall, CCN Secretary

Felix, a Catholic priest from Nigeria; Gaia, a business consultant and author from Australia; Jack, a guidance counselor from Texas; Ginny, a creativity consultant in Toronto; and Dixie, a bio-mimicry interior designer from Vancouver, are just a few of my newest and closest friends! We are all currently ICSC students and proud members of the diverse Buffalo State community. I want our friendships to last forever, because they are the most creative human beings I have ever met. 

That is exactly why, in the moment I was offered the position as Secretary of Creative Connections Network, I could not stop thinking about them—as well as the many others who are not listed. I know how important my contribution will be to seeing that my working relationships, as well as the infinite web of all the relationships formed by the amazingly creative students within our program, will grow and blossom into the future!

We fear going our separate ways. We dread our last class and master’s projects. In creative studies, it doesn’t feel great to be done unless there is reassurance that we will never be done. We need it to survive. We thrive on relationship building!  I am extremely honored to join the CCN team and very excited to assist in renewing and re-energizing connections and fostering new relationships! To the future of creativity!

Creative Class Notes:

Marta Ockuly ’10, is first author with Dr. Ruth Richards of a piece entitled Loving or Fearing Creativity? It’s all in the Definition. The article in the Journal of NeuroQuantology explores mentoring and the art of encouraging creativity, as well as reports on research Ockuly and Richards have compiled. Abstract.

Laura Ryan ’13, of LAMA Innovation is teaming up with Drs. Puccio ’87, and Cabra ’96, to offer two new products endorsed by the ICSC. Creativity in Asia and Creativity in America are multi-day seminars combining creativity and leadership training with rich cultural experiences. Creativity in America was launched last summer in Buffalo with a group from Taiwan. Creativity in Asia is slated to be launched in September in association with James Cook University’s Singapore site.

Dr. Cyndi Burnett ’01, and Paul Reali ’09, have released an edited collection of new works published by the ICSC Press. Entitled Big Questions in Creativity 2013: A Volume of First Works, Volume 1 , the book contains chapters by alumni and current students Mary Kay Culpepper ‘13, Irina Mishina ‘12, Sarah Thurber ’12, Ginny Santos ’12, Amy Frazier, ’11, Vicci S. Recckio ‘12, Robert H. Frantz, Catherine Tillman ‘13, Ted Mallwitz ‘12 and Lee Anne White ’11. The book is available at ICSC Press (and, sure, at Amazon as well…).

Have a Creative Class Note to share? Email us at