Summer Sessions Events

June 27, 2018
Girvetz 1004
GRITtalks: William Wang

Artificial Intelligence: What's Next?

With the vast amount of data available in digital form, the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is evolving rapidly. In this talk, I will summarize the stunning achievements of Artificial Intelligence for the past decade, especially in the subareas of Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Computer Vision. Then, I will introduce one of the key research problems at the intersection of AI and Language that we have yet to solve: How do we build an empathetic conversational agent that can understand and generate human sentences with rich emotions? Finally, I will discuss the other big challenges ahead of us. 

Speaker Bio:
William Wang is the Director of UCSB's Natural Language Processing Group, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at UCSB. He received his PhD from School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. He has broad interests in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing. He is the recipient of a DARPA Young Faculty Award, an IBM Faculty Award, a Facebook Research Award, and an Adobe Research Award. He is an alumnus of Columbia University, and he also worked at Yahoo! Labs, Microsoft Research Redmond, and University of Southern California. His work and opinions appear at major tech media outlets such as Wired, VICE, Fast Company, The Next Web, and Mental Floss. 

July 2, 2018
Girvetz 1004
GRITtalks: Christopher Bates

Plastic Confections

Polymers, known colloquially as plastics, abound in the world around us due to a host of useful properties that derive from their structure across molecular to macroscopic length scales. In this talk, we will discuss a fascinating subset of these materials known as “block copolymers,” which naturally self-assemble into intricate, nanometer-sized patterns with long-range periodic order. Through the design and synthesis of new block copolymers using simple sugar building blocks, we have uncovered a variety of unique structures that spontaneously form upon heating. This talk will peer into the natural universe through the lens of chemistry and materials science.

Speaker Bio:
Christopher M. Bates
Assistant Professor, Materials and Chemical Engineering Departments
University of California, Santa Barbara

Christopher M. Bates earned a B.S. degree in Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2007 and received a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in 2013 under the guidance of C. Grant Willson. After a postdoc with Robert H. Grubbs at the California Institute of Technology, Christopher moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016 as an Assistant Professor in the Materials and Chemical Engineering Departments.

July 6, 2018

Free Summer Film Series: Animated Nights

July 6th - August 22, 2018

UCSB Arts & Lectures and the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts & Culture present the return of Santa Barbara’s FREE outdoor Summer Film Series with Animated Nights! The films screen indoors on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at UCSB Campbell Hall. Outdoor screenings take place under the stars on Friday evenings at 8:30 p.m. at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden.

19th Animation Show of Shows
(Note: No screening at UCSB Campbell Hall due to July 4 holiday)
Fri, July 6 / 8:30 PM / Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden
For nearly 20 years, the Animation Show of Shows has selected the best in animated short films from the world’s most renowned animation festivals and presented these new and innovative short films to audiences around the world. This year’s lineup offers a wealth of humor, insight and profundity with 16 exceptional and inspiring animated shorts. 

The Triplets of Belleville
Wed, Jul 11 / 7:30 PM / UCSB Campbell Hall
Fri, Jul 13 / 8:30 PM / Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden
The Triplets of Belleville is a wildly inventive and highly original animated feature crowded with colorful characters and fantastic imagery. Kidnapped by mysterious, square-shouldered henchmen, a Tour de France cyclist named Champion is spirited across the ocean to the teeming metropolis of Belleville. 

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Wed, Jul 18 / 7:30 PM / UCSB Campbell Hall
Fri, Jul 20 / 8:30 PM / Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden
In this Academy Award-winning clay-animated adventure, Wallace and Gromit set out to discover the mystery behind the garden sabotage that plagues their village and threatens the annual Giant Vegetable Competition, but with only days to go, the enterprising pair finds it hard to manage all the captive rabbits taking over West Wallaby Street. Can Wallace and Gromit save the day?

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Wed, Jul 25 / 7:30 PM / UCSB Campbell Hall
Fri, Jul 27 / 8:30 PM / Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden
In this hilarious and heartwarming animated adventure from visionary director Wes Anderson, the urbane Mr. Fox cannot resist returning to his sneaky, farm-raiding old ways and plots the greatest chicken heist the animal world has ever seen.

Wed, Aug 1 / 7:30 PM / UCSB Campbell Hall
(Note: No Courthouse screening due to Old Spanish Days Fiesta)
In this break-through computer-animated comedy, Remy (Patton Oswalt) dreams of becoming a renowned French chef who can create and enjoy culinary masterpieces to his heart’s delight. The only problem is, Remy is a rat.
The Iron Giant
Wed, Aug 8 / 7:30 PM / UCSB Campbell Hall
Fri, Aug 10 / 8:30 PM / Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden
In this beloved and critically acclaimed animated feature, an inquisitive young boy named Hogarth Hughes forms a powerful friendship with a gentle robot visitor from outer spaceAn adaptation of Ted Hughes’ Cold War fable, the film follows the adventures of Hogarth and the Iron Giant as they try to save the misunderstood giant machine from destruction by a paranoid government agent.

Wed., Aug 15 / 7:30 PM / UCSB Campbell Hall
Fri., Aug 17 / 8:30 PM / Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden
Based on Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel about her life in pre and post-revolutionary Iran and then in Europe, the French-Iranian animated film Persepolis traces Satrapi’s growth from a precocious and outspoken 9-year-old to a rebellious, punk-loving teenager in Iran. 

Loving Vincent
Wed, Aug 22 / 7:30 PM / UCSB Campbell Hall
Fri, Aug 24 / 8:30 PM / Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden
The world’s first fully oil painted feature film, this one-of-a-kind biopic examines the life and controversial death of Vincent Van Gogh, told by his paintings and by the characters that inhabit them.

Yon Visell
July 9, 2018
Girvetz 1004
GRITtalks: Yon Visell

Haptics: Science and Engineering for the Sense of Touch

I will describe recent research in my lab on haptics — the science and engineering for the sense of touch — and in robotics.  It has been a longstanding challenge to create new technologies that can match the perceptual and movement abilities of the human hand and its sense of touch.  Some of the difficulties involved can be traced to the complex mechanics and the wide range of length and time scales involved - from the very short or very small, to the very large or very long duration.  In addition, what we feel depends sensitively on what we do, or how we move. I will describe research in my lab that has been inspired by these challenges, and will explain how the results are guiding the development of new technologies for haptics, wearable computing, and robotics.

Speaker Bio:
Yon Visell is Assistant Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Media Arts & Technology Program, and Department of Mechanical Engineering. He received the Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University, and was a postdoctoral scholar at the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics at the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris. He received MA and BA degrees in Physics from The University of Texas, Austin and Wesleyan University respectively, and spent several years in working at tech companies, including Ableton, where he contributed to music software that is used by bedroom producers and Grammy-winning artists alike. Dr. Visell has published more than 70 scientific works, including two edited books on haptics and VR. His work has received multiple awards at leading haptics conferences. He was awarded a Google Faculty Research Award in 2016, a Hellman Family Foundation Faculty Fellowship in 2017, and a US National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2018. Dr. Visell is the general co-chair of the 2020 IEEE Haptics Symposium.

July 18, 2018
Girvetz 1004
GRITtalks: Amy Boddy

Cancer across the tree of life: New insights into an ancient disease

Across the tree of life, we can trace cancer vulnerabilities back to the origins of multicellularity. Cancer is observed in almost all multicellular phyla, including lineages leading to plants, fungi, and animals. However, species vary remarkably in their susceptibility to cancer across the tree of life. Here I will discuss how this variation in cancer susceptibility is characterized by life history trade-offs, as cancer defense mechanisms are a major component of somatic maintenance. Lastly, I will discuss how understanding these trade-offs in the context of organismal evolution may help explain the variability we see in cancer susceptibility across human populations.

Odyssey Project
August 5, 2018
Center Stage Theater
The Odyssey Project

In this social justice initiative, UC students partner with incarcerated teens to explore the hero’s journey through original theater collaboration. The two groups join forces as an ensemble to deconstruct and reframe Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey using their own life stories. This project is social change in action. It promotes leadership roles for youth through a creative process that serves as a teaching tool for life. The course culminates in a performance at Center Stage Theater.

Music Festival
August 17, 2018
UCSB Campus
UCSB Summer Music Festival

The third annual UCSB Summer Music Festival will feature contemporary, world, and classical music with performances by the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, violist Jonathan Morgan, Gamelan Sinar Surya, Adelfos Ensemble, Mariachi Las Olas de Santa Barbara, as well as a number of UCSB graduate students. The event will be free and open to the public, and will take advantage of UC Santa Barbara’s many performance venues, including the Multicultural Center Theater, the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, Karl Geiringer Hall, and the Digital Arts & Humanities Commons.

Among the exciting highlights of this year's festival are the world premieres of new works by UCSB graduate composers, as well as a Children's Concert with appearances by festival artists. Click here for event details.

Cheryl West
August 30, 2018
UCSB AD&A Museum
Launch Pad: Cheryl L. West

The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 is based on the novel by Christopher Paul Curtis. The play focuses on a buoyant, loving Michigan family of five who travel south to Alabama during the turbulent summer of 1963, a time of racially motivated upheaval and civil unrest. Ten year old Kenny is conflicted about this family vacation to grandmas, for Kenny tends to get a little anxious about most changes to his routine. Yet, he will soon learn - after a horrific event that will rock the town as well as the country - that he’s more courageous than he ever thought himself capable. Directed by Risa Brainin.

Cheryl L. West’s plays have been seen in England, off-Broadway, on Broadway (Play On!) and in numerous regional theaters around the country. Her plays include Shout Sister Shout, Akeelah and the Bee, Pullman Porter Blues, and Jar the Floor.  She has written TV and film projects at Disney, Paramount, MTV Films, Showtime, TNT, HBO, CBS and is the Webby-nominated writer for the original web series Diary of a Single Mom.  Ms. West is currently working on commissions for Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Chicago Children’s Theater, Minneapolis Children’s theater, and Seattle Children’s Theater.

Katie Bender
September 8, 2018
UCSB Studio Theater
Launch Pad: Katie Bender

The Survivors/Los Sobrevivientes

The Survivors/Los Sobrevivientes is based on the historically documented group of women, children and slave people who survived the battle of the Alamo.  It’s an epic historical drama told by a diverse ensemble of people who didn’t make it into the history books. It’s an intimately drawn look at the surprising alliances necessary to survive the shifting rule of Mexico’s fledgling democracy. Directed by Julie Fishell.

Katie Bender is a playwright and theater maker. Her plays include Still Now, The Fault, One Night Only as well as collaborative work with Underbelly. Her work has been developed or produced at The New Harmony Project, Kitchen Dog, The Orchard Project, Shrewd Productions, New Victory LabWorks, Icicle Creek Festival, Ensemble Studio Theater, ZACH Theatre, Heart and Dagger and The Playwrights’ Center, where she was a 2016-2017 Jerome Fellow.  On the 2015 Kilroys List, a finalist for the inaugural Shakespeare’s Sister Fellowship, and a 2017 Jerome travel grant recipient, she is currently playwright-in-residence at the Susanna Dickinson Museum. MFA: UT Austin.

Brian Otano
September 14, 2018
UCSB Studio Theater
Launch Pad: Brian Otano

The Ocean At Your Door

The Ocean At Your Door: 1977: Linda and Jack, both 16, seek help from Jack’s father after Linda wards off a vicious attack perpetrated by her mother’s boyfriend. When Jack fails to convince his father to intervene, he takes matters into his own hands, setting the stage for an encounter that will forever change the course of his and Linda’s lives. 2019: Sheepshead Bay has disintegrated into a lawless disaster area due to tidal encroachment. Oscar and Gertie Linares remain, clinging to an outdated idea of home and to the ghosts that watch over them. When their son JP and his wife Allison return to Sheepshead Bay, they discover a corpse buried under the family pool, opening a decades-old wound. Gertie and JP must face down the legacy of violence that they share with the ghosts next door and decide whether they will escape Sheepshead Bay and start a new life on higher ground or remain and face their fate. Directed by Julie Fishell.

Brian Otaño grew up in Brooklyn, NY, where he worked as a playwright and a scenic artist at the Metropolitan Opera for nine years before moving to LA. His plays include Tara (podcast recording, The Parsnip Ship), The Dooley Street Trilogy (Atlantic Theater Latino Mixfest, Amoralists' Amoralfest 2014) and Zero Feet Away (Roundabout Underground Series). His work has been performed, developed and workshopped with NYTW, Roundabout Theatre Company, Page 73, Ars Nova, Atlantic Theater Company, New Dramatists, INTAR, LAByrinth, LARK Play Development Center, The Amoralists, The Attic Theater Company, Judson Memorial Church and SPACE on Ryder Farm. Residencies/Fellowships: Disney/ABC TV Writing Fellowship (Alternate), NHMC TV Writers Fellowship, Page 73’s Interstate 73 Writers Group, New York Theater Workshop 2050 Fellowship, New Dramatists Van Lier Fellowship, ArsNova’s Playgroup. Education: BFA, Dramatic Writing (SUNY Purchase).

Archived Events

ucsb theater and dance
September 13, 2017
Performing Arts Theater
Naked Shakes: King Lear

In this ninety minute adaptation by Irwin Appel and presented by NAKED SHAKES, two different casts explore the story of a king who ignites a chain reaction of chaos with a simple question: “Tell me my daughters, which of you doth love us most?” In perhaps Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, King Lear discovers his own humanity and mortality as he teeters on the brink of madness. With so many talented young actors, come see either cast or both, explore the depths of this glorious play.

There are several FREE productions of the play. For more information, please visit the Theater and Dance website

Albert Chimedza
September 6, 2017
HSSB 6020, McCune Room
Public Lecture by Albert Chimedza

FIlmmaker, musician, and mbira maker, Albert Chimedza, will give a publice lecture titled, 'Recentering African Knowledge Systems and Institution Building for Self-Liberation and Development: The Mbira Centre and the Mbira Institute.' The lecture is free and open to the public.

chikowero image
September 5, 2017
HSSB 6020, McCune Room
Public Lecture by Mhoze Chikowero

Mhoze Chikowero, Professor in the Department of History, will give a public lecture detailing the history of the mbira musical instrument as an epitome of the historical Madzimbabwe metallurgical and sound engineering, the persecution and stigmatization of the instrument, and the spiritual cultures that it respresents by the British colonial and missionary system throughout the 1900s.

The lecture is free and open to the public. 

summer music fest
August 17, 2017
Various UCSB locations
Summer Music Festival

The second annual UCSB Summer Music Festival will take place Thursday, August 17th through Saturday, August 19th on the UCSB campus. The festival will feature contemporary, world, classical, and folk music, with performances by Los Angeles-based Aperture Duo (violinist Adrianne Pope and violist Linnea Powell); Ziyad Marcus and the Sfinks; violist Jonathan Morgan; violinist and UCSB faculty member Andrew Tholl and friends; the Celtic fusion band, Dannsair; as well as a number of UCSB graduate students and alumni. The event will be free and open to the public, and will take advantage of UC Santa Barbara’s many performance venues, including the Multicultural Center Theater; the Art, Design & Architecture Museum; Karl Geiringer Hall; and the College of Creative Studies’ Old Little Theater.

Among the exciting new developments of this year's festival are the world premieres of five newly composed works by UCSB composers Marc Evans, Scott Perry, Mason Hock, Federico Llach, Rodney Duplessis, and Heena Yoon, as well as a Saturday morning concert and workshop for children with appearances by festival artists.

Admission if free. For more information, please visit: