They filed into the room cautiously, surveying the plastic on the floors and the tables stocked with rainbow-colored rows of acrylic paint tubes, palettes, brushes, and huge blank canvasses. Several people looked back toward the door, longingly, wondering if there was a way that they could escape before the activity started. But a little group dynamic was working in our favor, making it just as embarrassing to leave as it might be to stay.
The participants, a collection of scientists from diverse disciplines and universities, had come together for a Sandpit (a.k.a Ideas Lab) and expected to hear from a few experts, talk with their informed peers, and look for literature on-line to support or condemn ideas that might emerge. They didn’t expect to be holding paint brushes or palette knives and to be thinking about how to mix colors and which brush to use. Some were curious, excited about the prospect. Others were groaning, if not audibly, at least with their facial expressions. Keep reading »