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ACCelerate Festival

ACCelerate Festival

Last fall, with the support of OpenGrounds and the Provost's Office, UVA presented four projects and one performance at the ACCelerate Creativity and Innovation Festival at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington D.C. As an effort to think beyond an athletic conference as the only common denominator of the 15 ACC schools, the Festival focused on presenting the collective wealth of creative and innovative practices taking place across these educational institutions. Below is an overview of UVA’s contribution to the 2017 Festival; UVA projects selected for the 2019 Festival will be announced September 2018.


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, in the west wing of the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. 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 happening at the nexus of science, engineering, arts, and design at the 15 ACC schools. The event drew 36,000 participants and represented 48 interactive installations grouped in six thematic areas: community engagement, art & technology, sustainability & environment, biomimetics, health & body, making & 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.


The Yamuna River Project is a multi-year research collaboration between the Delhi Jal Board and the University of Virginia. The Yamuna River Project capitalizes on current conversations within the government to place riverfront restoration and development at the forefront of national consciousness.


PureMadi has been created by an interdisciplinary collaboration of students and faculty at the University of Virginia. In partnership with the University of Venda in Thohoyandou, South Africa; Rotary International; and developing-world communities in Limpopo Province, South Africa, PureMadi is working to provide sustainable solutions to global water problems.


The Mantabot team are experts in marine biology, biomechanics, structures, hydrodynamics, and control systems. They have created a prototype molded directly from a real cow-nosed ray. By studying the motions of living rays in the field and in the laboratory and through dissection, this prototype attempts to replicate the near-silent flaps of the wing-like pectoral fins of a ray to swim forward, turn, accelerate, glide, and maintain position.


#CarbonFeed works by taking in realtime tweets from Twitter users around the world. Based on a customizable set of hashtags, the work listens for specific tweets. The content of these incoming tweets generates a realtime sonic composition and a visual counterpart of compressed air being pumped through tubes of water.


Ceiling Floats Away features UVA Professor of Composition and Computer Technologies, Matthew Burtner and his musical settings of 13 poems by Rita Dove. Burtner recorded Dove reading her poetry and wrote the music to the pace and cadence of the poet’s voice.


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