‘Technologies of Creativity: The Social History of Unstructured Thought (1935-1970)’ 

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Lipkens Lectures
 In the Lipkens Lectures lecture cycle, Studium Generale dives into history, together with the Academic Heritage Team of the Library. What did it mean to be an engineer in the past? How did the role of technology in society develop, and how do we still bear the fruits of that today? What can today’s engineers learn from the history of science and technology? 

 As the founder of the predecessor of Delft University of Technology, Antoine Lipkens (1782-1847) was a polyglot. An engineer, a statesman, an inventor. He changed what it meant to be an engineer. 

 Technologies of Creativity: The Social History of Unstructured Thought (1935-1970)’ 

In this second Lipkens Lecture, Bregje van Eekelen (TU Delft, IDE) will draw from her NWO funded research project on the history of creative thought in military-industrial contexts between 1935 and 1965. It traces how creative techniques of unstructured thought, such as having an “uncontrolled flow of ideas”,came to be framed as a positive technologies for garnering new knowledge, especially in American military and industrial contexts, and how these technologies were gradually institutionalized to the point of becoming common sense. It details how the employment and valorization of creative thinking techniques emerged in response to e.g. military and managerial rationalities, the automation and disciplining of work, and the incorporation of social scientists in corporate America. 

Prof. Dr. Bregje van Eekelen (PhD. University of California Santa Cruz, USA) is Professor of  Design, Culture and Society at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at the TU Delft. She combines history and anthropology to study the past and present lives of social science concepts, their production and circulation, in academia and the worlds beyond. She is interested in showing how knowledge of the historical entanglements of emergent concepts (living lab, quality, creativity, knowledge economy, wicked problems) can be usefully employed in ethnographic analyses of their contemporary articulations. She is the recipient of numerous grants, among them a NWO VENI grant for “Brainstorms: A Cultural History of Undisciplined Thought”, a Delft Technology Grant, and a Research Excellence Initiative.   

 Exhibition opening 

This lecture marks the festive opening of the exposition Inventing Creativity, curated by Dr. Samuel Franklin (IDE), Bregje van Eekelen (IDE), Geertje van Achterberg and the Heritage Team of TU Delft in the Central Hall of the TU Delft Library. The exhibition can be visited before and after the lecture. 

 Are you coming to the lecture and drinks afterwards in the Central Hall of the Library? 

Next in this series:   

  • ‘Materiality in the Digital Age: new technologies in heritage research’ by Dominique Ngan-Tillard, 11 November 
  • ‘Jacques van Marken and the History of Social Entrepreneurship in Delft’ by Jan van der Mast, 16 December 

 This lecture is brought to you together with the Academic Heritage Team of the Library . 

Visit the locations website here.