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“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” –Jack, from The Shining
“Almost all creativity,” wrote psychologist Abraham Maslow, “involves purposeful play.” The idea that play is critical to our human landscape in germinating inspiration and creativity has actually been around for a long time. The line from the 1980 horror film, The Shining, above was first published in a 1659 book of English proverbs, but its origins can be traced back millennia. Play -- meaningful, purposeful play -- cultivates in us greater creativity, unleashes our ability to think, and provides the ideal field for developing our problem-solving skills. Play removes limits that otherwise constrain us to what we currently know to be possible. Jeff Watson, a polymathic practioner of purposeful play and director of The Situation Lab, says “the Lab is where narrative, space, and play come together to shape the real world.” In his work, Professor Watson practices meaningful playfulness that cultivates a spirit of exploration, adaptability, an openness to diversity of perspective, and ultimately social change. Join us for a playful discussion that promises not to be the least bit dull, and possibly even life changing.
Jeff Watson, Associate Professor of Interactive Media and Games Division & Director of the Situation Lab
Jeff Watson is an award winning artist, designer, and assistant professor of interactive media and games at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. His work investigates how game design, pervasive computing, and social media can enable new forms of storytelling, participation, and learning. He is a Director at the Situation Lab, a design research laboratory cross-sited at USC and OCAD University, and is an associate faculty member at the USC Game Innovation Lab. As a designer, Jeff has consulted and produced commissioned work for a variety of institutions and companies, including Intel, BMW/Mini, Boeing, and Tiltfactor. A genuine polymathic practitioner, Jeff received a BA in Cultural Studies from McGill University, an MFA in Film and Video from York University, a PhD in Media Arts and Practice from USC, and a postdoctoral research associate position at the USC Game Innovation Lab.