Why Playdates Help the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

Why Playdates Help the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
Photo from the Poe's Shadows Playdate in the CID Oct 27, 2023.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences has a special place in ICAT’s heart. We love all our faculty, students, and alumni who represent the college. This week we would like to tell you how anyone in liberal arts or human sciences can benefit from the Playdates. The last one is our favorite!

But first, what’s a Playdate?

The Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) hosts our event called a Playdate every week on Friday mornings at 9 a.m. in the lobby of the CID. I know! It’s a bit early, but let me tell you why it’s the perfect way to start your day.

Firstly, every week we have free donuts and coffee available to everyone who attends. But of course, the refreshments aren’t the heart of what these events are for. Each week, our researchers show off their projects or any ICAT-related research showcasing how arts and technology intersect. These presentations come from ICAT grants which at their core, must have interdisciplinary researchers or focus.

Below we list 5 reasons why you would highly benefit from coming to our Playdates:

1. Meet your next research partner

Playdates are a great place for graduate students and faculty to network. One of the best parts about being on such an academically diverse campus is being able to rub elbows with experts in a variety of fields. ICAT Playdates are designed specifically with this in mind, so come to them to learn more about research going on around campus.

2. Stay connected to campus

As someone who is getting a degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, being at Virginia Tech has taught me that my greatest learning opportunities and coolest projects came from stepping outside of my degree. When school or work has made you feel like you live in a bubble you want to step outside of, Playdates could be that break you’ve been looking for. Bring what you know from your home department, and somewhere, someone will find a burst of inspiration based on what they know.

3. Ask challenging and unique questions

At the end of each of our Playdates, there is a Q&A section of the presentation. Oftentimes, I find myself excited and surprised by the kinds of questions attendees ask because they are often taking an approach to the project in a way I would never think to. That is why it remains important to have people from diverse parts of campus representing schools of thought that may not have come up without them present. Many times at the Playdate, one question turns into a conversation afterward. These conversations can help to create new connections and research projects for both parties.

4. Learn about research at ICAT

The purpose of the investment institutes is to fund interesting and unique research, often with an interdisciplinary twist. How can your humanist perspective shape the big-picture questions that are before us in today’s society? This is something that our projects often seek to answer, and the kinds of projects we find important to fund here at ICAT. Therefore, we can offer some select funding to a few projects a year called SEAD grants. To apply for the SEAD grant cycle which is quickly approaching. For example, our Major SEAD grant closes on January 31 so the time to apply is right now!

5. Enrich your education with ICAT

ICAT is a place where your education can skyrocket further than you ever imagined. This is a place where you can bring your interests to life by finding someone who is just as interested in a topic as you but can help you interrogate your thinking with a new spin. For example, English majors may want to reimagine literature in a new way such as with Shakespeare's Garden or Poe’s Shadows. Or, psychology or dance students might find their home in something like the Embodied Brain Lab’s project called Embodied Art. No matter what you’re interested in, there’s always something here for you at ICAT!