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Into the Flow

By Kate West

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the featured guest at the Penny W. Stamps Speaker Series on September 16 at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor.  Hosted by the University of Michigan School of Art & Design, the Stamps Speaker Series has gained national and international recognition for its roster of innovative thinkers and makers, who come each week to Ann Arbor for a public presentation at the Michigan Theater.

Csikszentmihalyi is a researcher and author on creativity, renowned as the architect of the idea of “flow” in creative work, and recognized as one of the world’s leading researchers on positive psychology.  His son, Christopher, works at the intersection of new technologies, media, and the arts, lecturing and exhibiting world-wide.  He currently directs the MIT Media Lab’s Computing Culture group, as well as the MIT Center for Future Civic Media.

Mihaly’s books include:

  • “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience,” Harper and Row, 1990
  • “The Evolving Self,” Harper Perennial, 1994
  • “Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention,” Harper Perennial, 1996
  • “Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life,” Basic Books, 1998

In addition to Csikszentmihalyi, this semester’s series highlights include:

  • Joumana Haddad, poet, journalist, and publisher of the controversial magazine Jasad (Body) presenting her ideas on the new Arab Woman
  • Special advisor to the international military forces in Afganistan, Sarah Chayes, offering an inside look at the former Taliban stronghold after the military’s biggest operation in the 9-year Afghan war.
  • Laura Kuhn, director of the John Cage Trust, performing Cage’s work Indeterminacy with local Ghostly recording artist, DJ Tadd Mullinix.
  • Playwright and performer Natasha Tsakos performing selections from her live 3D animated show UP WAKE.

Penny W. Stamps Series is supported by UM School of Art & Design alumna Penny Stamps.  Each year the series brings 24 speakers to Ann Arbor for the benefit of the University and Ann Arbor communities, and through presentation podcasts on Youtube  and iTunes to an audience worldwide. Past presenters include Bill T. Jones, Michael Moore, Tim Brown, Stewart Brand, Marina Abramovic, and Orlan.

For a full listing of Fall 2010 Semester Stamps presenters go to: