The Centennial Futures Conference opened with “Wheels of a Dream”, a piece from the musical “Ragtime.” The event was separated into three divisions, a morning session, an afternoon session and a reception.
The first two sessions featured speeches by various innovators from different fields. Rick Stein, the curator of the event was in charge of selecting the speakers, videos and performances for the conference. The conference took place at the Campus Theatre on January 31 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Stein’s mission was to paint a picture of what the future might look like from an environmental, business, technological and artistic standpoint. When asked how the speakers for the events were selected, Stein said it was a combination of personal contacts and searching online to gather a diverse list of individuals to present at the conference.
“Travis Sims from Red Digital Cinema is probably one of my favorite speakers of the night, as well as Jonathan Haber, who spoke about MOOCing,” said Stein.
Sims is a graduate from California State University, Long Beach and the Education and Technical Manager for Red Digital Cinema. He spoke about Red’s growing impact on various industries such as film, television and photography.
Haber discussed MOOCs, which stands for massive open online courses and their growing presence in the educational world. He used only MOOCs to attempt a degree in philosophy in one year, a project he named Degree of Freedom. He tracks his progress through this journey on www.degreeoffreedom.org.
“People taking MOOCs are from the ages of 11-80, but MOOCs is not a direct replacement of a college course,” said Haber.
He explained that almost 75 percent of people participating in MOOCs already have a degree and many educational institutions use the contents in MOOC as a hybrid learning environment.
Another speaker at the event is Béatrice Coron, who was born in France and specializes in papercut design art. Coron’s artwork is shown in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Getty and the Walker Art Center. Before becoming an artist, Coron took part in various odd jobs like working as a truck driver, a factory driver, a cleaning lady and even a tour guide.
“The future is in our imaginations and art is a non-verbal language which allows us to look upward,” said Coron. “I like when art is open to the public. That is when there is more sharing.”
All attendees gathered after the conference for a reception which included a live band and refreshments.