Arts and Design Research Incubator events to focus on discipline of play

October 13, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Learn how to integrate play into your work in a series of events led by Sandi Carroll, actor, educator, research fellow and program manager at the Arts and Design Research Incubator (ADRI) in Penn State's College of Arts and Architecture.

From noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20, in 16 Borland Building, Carroll will lead a discussion on “The Discipline of Play: Building Resilience, Igniting Innovation” as part of ADRI’s Dialogues series. Feel free to bring your lunch to the session. Carroll will discuss how rediscovering our own unique brand of fun and incorporating it into our work can reveal new possibilities and build resilience in the face of the inevitable failures that come with true innovation. The interactive discussion will explore various contemporary physical comedy-training methodologies to mine what they have to offer the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines.

Carroll will lead another workshop on “The Discipline of Play,” also in the ADRI, from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, in 16 Borland Building. Participation is free and open to the public, but registration is required by 5 p.m. on Nov. 2, as space is limited. Interested participants can RSVP to

In her presentations, Carroll draws on her experience and education as an actor and physical comedienne. She developed her own character, Top Secret Agent Karen, who is determined the save the world with the help of “local heroes.” Carroll developed an interactive multimedia show featuring Top Secret Agent Karen, "Mission: Implausible!," which she has performed in Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Charlottesville, Virginia. She is also developing an online video series, “The Heroes Next Door,” which can be found on the Mission Implausible Facebook page (

Carroll has incorporated the discipline of play into her research at Penn State, where she is investigating its impact on creative decision making, teaching and learning.

“Learning the discipline of play teaches us how to take huge risks and builds resiliency when those risks occasionally lead to failure. Play helps us to welcome those failures as essential guideposts on the path to success,” she explained. “Whatever your work — teaching, creating, performing, learning, researching— infusing it with your personal brand of fun lifts your work to new levels of discovery and productivity. And taking a class in play is … well, it’s just fun. It can also be incredibly challenging when your fun is elusive, but we laugh a lot along the way.”

Carroll will be teaching a spring 2015 course in the College of Arts and Architecture on the discipline of play, A&A 497. Students will have the opportunity to develop independent projects applying the discipline of play to their particular fields. This interdisciplinary three-credit course will be open to undergraduates and graduates and held on Monday evenings in the ADRI.

For more on Carroll’s work, see this Baltimore Sun article and video from July 2015:

ADRI provides support for high-impact arts and design research projects. All ADRI events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Last Updated October 14, 2015