Experts say the U.S. economy is being rapidly reshaped by emerging media technologies, with entire industries being “vaporized” and turned into software. This new economy is fundamentally changing the way companies go to market, influence their customers and engage their audiences.
These changes demand a workforce that is both technologically adept and imaginative.
The Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln opened its doors in fall 2019 to give students the skills to leverage new and emerging technologies to tell breathtaking stories and solve global-scale problems.
As part of the center’s formal dedication activities Nov. 15-17, the center will gather some of the nation’s leading experts from the technology and entertainment industries for a discussion of how the Carson Center addresses workforce needs for the new economy. All the participants serve on the Carson Center’s advisory council.
“The paradigm has shifted. We can’t just talk about skills development anymore because the problems we’re trying to solve are so large, and we now live in an age of intelligent machines,” said Megan Elliott, founding director of the Carson Center. “Our panel is perfect for this topic because it’s made up of local and international experts, and the new experience economy is impacting jobs and startups globally and right here in Lincoln.”
Set for 11:45 a.m. Nov. 15 at the Carson Center, 13th and Q streets, the New Economy panel will be led by Nebraska native Preeta Bansal, who served as general counsel and senior policy adviser to President Barack Obama in the White House Office of Management and Budget from 2009-2011. Bansal is co-founder and president of Social Emergence Corp., a not-for-profit social-benefit organization focused on empowering human networks and community relationships at the bottom of the global socio-economic pyramid; lecturer at the MIT Media Lab; and senior adviser at MIT’s Laboratory for Social Machines. She also serves on the board of directors for Lincoln-based Nelnet.
Bansal will be joined by Kyle Murphy, vice president of People and Corporate Communication at Hudl and founder of Nebraska VX; Ross Warren, founder-in-residence at Google’s experimental Area 120 and technology adviser for HRH Princess Eugenie of York’s The Anti-Slavery Collective; Jeff Nicholas, vice president of creative and innovation at Live Nation entertainment company; Erica Larsen-Dockray, a media artist, educator and activist who co-founded the Calibraska Arts Initiative; and Clint! Runge, co-founder and managing director of Archrival marketing agency.
Formal dedication of the Carson Center will take place at 1 p.m. Nov. 17 in the center, with members of the Johnny Carson Foundation board scheduled to attend. The event will be live streamed here.
The panel is the finale for the Carson Center Conversations forum that begins with a welcome at 9 a.m. Nov. 15.
Other speakers on the schedule:
9:15 a.m.: Robert Tercek, author of the 2016 bestseller “Vaporized: Solid Strategies for Success in a Dematerialized World.”
9:45 a.m.: Maureen Fan, chief executive officer of VR animator Baobab Studios, and Ashley Baccus-Clark, VR producer of “Neurospeculative Afro Feminism,” appear via Zoom with Elliott.
10:15 a.m.: Susan Bonds, an aerospace engineer and former Disney Imagineer who is co-founder and CEO of 42 Entertainment, responsible for interactive experiences in “The Dark Knight,” “Halo” and Nine Inch Nails’ “Year Zero.”
11:15 a.m.: Alex McDowell, production designer for “Minority Report,” “Fight Club” and “Man of Steel.”
Preparations for the Carson Center launched in 2015 with a gift from the foundation of iconic talk show host Johnny Carson, who hailed from Nebraska. The center earned a Hewlett Packard/Educause Campus of the Future designation in fall 2019, the first program in the Big Ten to do so. The designation is a partnership with a Fortune 100 global corporation that will give Nebraska access to the latest high-tech equipment and put Nebraska in the company of MIT, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, Yale University and Dartmouth College in investigating how augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D scanning and printing technology can benefit teaching, learning and research.
“I am grateful for the hard work of many people, including our Founding Director Megan Elliott, her talented faculty, staff and students, and our partners throughout the university and the community, who have helped us open this ground-breaking destination for transformative, creative leaders,” said Chuck O’Connor, dean of the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts. “We are so grateful to the Johnny Carson Foundation and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for their support in helping us achieve this dream.”