Exploratory Detours

Monday, January 20, 11:30 a.m. Egyptian Theatre, Park City
Ticket required


One of the enduring human enigmas is that so many iconic endeavors—from Nobel Prize–winning achievements to entrepreneurial inventions and works in the arts—are not discoveries but conversions, corrections after failed attempts.

Moderated by author, scholar, and curator Sarah Lewis, whose upcoming book The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery explores this theme across myriad disciplines from science to athletics to music and art. Exploratory Detours takes a look at this intriguing issue.

By pulling together science, scholarship, and philosophy, we can better understand the fascinating relationship linking creativity, failure, and mastery that extends far beyond the familiar platitudes. What does it mean to have grit? How does validation work? What can we learn from the way jazz musicians improvise? Our diverse group of panelists look at the ways irreplaceable gifts spring from failure in creative endeavors.

Panelists include: Sarah Lewis (author, The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery), Charles J. Limb, MD (Dr. Limb studies the neural mechanisms behind deep creativity, especially in relation to music and other art forms), Jill Soloway (director, writer, and producer for the film Afternoon Delight, and TV series such as Six Feet Under and United States of Tara), Chris Stone (President, Open Society Foundations), Dave Eggers (author, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, co-founder, 826 National),, and Sundance Institute President and Founder Robert Redford.

Dave Eggers is the author of eight books, most recently The Circle. Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco, and cofounder of 826 National, a network of nonprofit writing and tutoring centers for youth.

Sarah Lewis has served on President Barack Obama’s Arts Policy Committee, been selected for Oprah’s “Power List,” and is a faculty member in the MFA program at Yale University's School of Art. Her debut book, The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, will be released in March 2014.

Charles J. Limb, MD is an associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins University, a faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and editor-in-chief of Trends in Amplification. Dr. Limb studies the neural mechanisms behind deep creativity, especially in relation to music and other art forms.

Robert Redford is recognized the world over for the roles he has played and the projects he has directed or produced throughout a distinguished stage and film career. He is an environmentalist and advocate for social responsibility and political involvement and has nurtured countless innovative voices through his nonprofit Sundance Institute and Film Festival.

Jill Soloway is an Emmy-nominated director, writer, and producer known for her work on such shows as Six Feet Under and United States of Tara. She won the Dramatic Directing Award at Sundance 2013 with her first feature, Afternoon Delight. Soloway is currently working on Transparent, a pilot for Amazon Studios.

Christopher Stone is president of the Open Society Foundations. He is an international expert on criminal justice reform and the leadership and governance of nonprofits. Prior to joining Open Society, he taught at Harvard University and directed the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. Formerly, Stone led the Vera Institute of Justice and founded the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem.


Charles J. Limb, MD
Robert Redford
Christopher Stone
Joey Soloway
Sarah Lewis
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