The Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity, nicknamed the “Hive,” is on the search for a new director. Currently headed by interim co-directors Patrick Little and Dwight Whitaker, the Hive is looking for someone to permanently take up the role of guiding the center's development.
“The director will work with the leaders of the five colleges, faculty, and students to develop a thriving space dedicated to creative and collaborative activity among students, faculty, and the broader community, as well as oversee all activities and programs,” wrote Pomona College President David Oxtoby in an email to TSL. “Externally, the director will establish partnerships and engage individuals and organizations, as well as connect with 5C alumni who could work with students at the Hive.”
Tom Maiorama, one the designers at the Hive, helped launch the center, which held its inaugural event on Nov. 5, 2015. According to Maiorama, the Hive is intended to be an environment that encourages students to release their inhibitions and exercise creativity. The Hive is always abuzz with activity, including hosting Tuesday night workshops that feature a myriad of creative tutorials, from logo graphic design to how to take a better selfie.
“I wish I had something like this when I was younger,” Maiorama said. “Having a place that had a sense of structure where I could have taken some risks with a little bit of guidance would have been really thrilling to me.”
The director will work closely with students to shape the identity of the Hive. Students, faculty, staff and deans from the 5Cs are all involved in the search process. Oxtoby said the candidates for the new director will teach a sample class with students from each of the five colleges. Students are also members of the Hive Steering Committee, which helps determine how the Hive should develop in the future.
Oxtoby, who co-chairs the search committee for the new director, said one of the key qualities that the director should possess is the ability to interact well with students and staff. “We also want someone with significant experience working on projects that exemplify collaborative and creative approaches to problem-solving,” he added. “We are searching for someone who is passionate about working with students and faculty at The Claremont Colleges and who wants to become part of our community. The new director will need to be very comfortable working collaboratively in the complex environment here and with the wide diversity of the colleges’ constituencies.”
For students, it’s important to have an inspiring and relatable director, especially since the Hive is still in a malleable stage. “It’s continually evolving into whatever students want it to be,” said Nicole Maslan CM ’16, a member of the student staff. Maslan added that this evolution is due to the fact that the staff works closely with students to engineer activities. She hopes that the new director will be equally willing to connect with students, offer them mentorship, and spread the mindset of creative thinking.
Given the progress the center has already made, students wonder if the Hive will continue to constantly evolve. “I really hope that in its long-term future, [the Hive is] always continuing to change. Because what students need now from a creativity innovation center is not the same as what they’ll need, say, fifty years from now. So it better be different,” said Gail Gallaher PO ’17, a student staffer at the Hive.