2014 Austin


The conference runs for four days (Nov. 6-9) with an optional pre-conference of Learning Journeys on Thursday and three days of programmed and Open Space sessions on Friday through Sunday.

And you can view a schedule with programmed speakers and topics here.

In the Open Space blocks anyone can propose a topic or discussion to facilitate and attendees gravitate to what most interests them, allowing for more spontaneity than an entirely programmed conference.

Programmed Talks, Presentations and Workshops

(It’s not pretty, but you can view a spreadsheet of the full schedule here. Full descriptions on the second page.)



Main Presentation Courtroom – 2nd Floor

AINx Talks:

  • Using Improv to Save the World (And Me) with Belina Raffy –
  • Improvisation: A Journey of Applied Spirituality with Norman Wolfe – The foundation of Improv goes deeper than a set of skills that can carry across many disciplines.  The true nature of Improv is better understood as the expression of Spirit into life.  Living from an improviser’s mindset will open us to a richer and deeper world of possibilities.
  • How Applied Improv Has Improved Humanitarian Work with Pablo Suarez – Imagine you’re a humanitarian worker with no clue about applied improv…  Should you join the AIN conference?  Well, you shouldn’t…  unless you can convince your bosses and donors that it’s worth it. Pablo will share some analytically rigorous, personal evidence of why it’s hard, and necessary – with tips on how to reach out.
  • Yes, And Customer Service with Patrick Short – Customer Service Training is a rapidly growing application for Applied Improvisation. Your performance improv training has been hiding a key to great customer service for your AI clients.


Main Presentation Courtroom – 2nd Floor
Improv for a Better World Panel with Pablo Suarez, Mary Tyszkiewicz , Gabe Mercado, Gemma Bulos moderated by Belina Raffy

4th Floor Courtroom East
Reinventing the Predictable: From Habit to Improvisation – Rita Venturini – Why we don’t do what we say? Because of our social, cultural, evolutionary and idiosyncratic habits of relating to the world. Improvisation is a way to uncover our habits and do what we say. Come for a talk, stay for some play. Mixed media, from powerpoint to experiential.

4th Floor Courtroom West
IDEA: Improvisational Design of Engineering Alternatives – Pete Ludovice – Math and Engineering faculty from Georgia Tech, who research the application of improvisation to catalyze technical innovation, share their process. This interactive workshop will engage participants in an actual design exercise.

1st Floor Courtroom
Changing Mindsets – Jude Treder-Wolff – Mindset is a powerful driver of perceptions about self and others as well as our capabilities and place in the world. This workshop will combine experience exercises and games with an interactive discussion about the research showing the power of shifts in mindset to produce long-range change in behavior, achievement and relationships and how applied improvisation promotes a “growth” mindset.

Presentation Room 3C – 3rd Floor
Applying Improv From Your BIG Heart – Matt Weinstein, Sarah (Otter) Fisk – This workshop will provide a chance to tap into a deeper more heartfelt experience of applying improv.  Come open up with us and enjoy a supportive, engaging session of “heart-full play” using methods that are easy to apply and modify for yourself and your clients.

Presentation Room 2A – 2nd Floor
Managing Change – Sue Walden – Client wants a short (90 min) “slam dunk” on Managing Change for Executive Team members and managers. I thought: “90 minutes??? Are you crazy?” I said, “Okay.” Come be the client and experience the blend of applied improv and a traditional change model that left them inspired and excited.

Presentation Room 3A – 3rd Floor
Growing Technical Leaders Through Improvisation in the Arts – Peter Dominick, Deena Malkina, Themis Veleni, Pam Burke – How can the values practiced through improvisation in theater, music, visual arts, and writing help develop technical leaders who thrive in complex, collaborative, and rapidly changing environments? This workshop will use applied examples from different disciplines and interactive exercises from the arts to highlight effective growth techniques for technology professionals.

Presentation Room 3B – 3rd Floor
Have Your Emotions Before They Have You – Caitlin McClure, Karen Dawson Show up and step into the world of an organizational manager to learn more about why emotional intelligence matters. Act I: you experience a 45-minute session exactly the way K & C would present it with corporate clients. Act II: K & C share the “why” behind their design and invite you to dig deep as a practitioner with questions and contributions.

Game Swap Room – 2nd Floor
YogaPlay: How to Turn Off Your Inner Critic and Get Blissfully Present – Lauren Zinn Buck – Intro to how I use improv to make yoga more transformational — helping people to get present, drop judgment + love their bodies. Active learning. No yoga experience required.


Main Presentation Courtroom – 2nd Floor
Setting Precedent: Creativity in Law School – Liz Aebersold, M.S., Tracy McCormack, J.D., Mark Santos, J.D. – Discover how the University of Texas is using Creativity and Applied Improvisation (AI) at the School of Law. Learn about our academic application of AI, our successes, stumbles and the future plans for creativity in higher education at the Law School and beyond.

4th Floor Courtroom East
Improv for Lawyers – Joey Novick – Improvisation benefits lawyers with regards to becoming better storytellers as litigators, being able to read a jury more effectively with regard to their emotional intelligence, playing “yes and”  in building a better environment for a successful mediation.

4th Floor Courtroom West
Improvising for Deeper Engagement – Andrew M. Gaines, Katherine Kasmir – Two for One! Learn how two different practitioners each explored social issues through AI. Discover how the projects developed, got funding, successful strategies…and the pitfalls to avoid! You’ll have a chance to both try out some examples on your feet as well as discuss, debate, and share related ideas.

1st Floor Courtroom
Using Improv to Save the World (And Me) – Belina Raffy

Presentation Room 3C – 3rd Floor
Addiction Recovery Unscripted: Using AI to Enhance Behavioral Health – Mary Curtis – This workshop will explore the benefits of using applied improv techniques to empower individuals to recover from addiction and create a value-driven life.

Presentation Room 2A – 3rd Floor
Applied Improvisation, Aikido and Status – Robert Lowe – “We will take a gentle walk through modified classic Aikido exercises to explore fundamental relationship realities, and Status theory; engaging physical, mental, emotional, psychological, and spiritual joyousness. With playfulness, discussion, and debriefing we will apply our physicality, and thinking, to further expand our understanding of the wonders of Applied Improvisation.”

Presentation Room 3A – 3rd Floor
Viola Spolin & AI – Gary Schwartz, Sparky Johnson

Game Swap Room – 2nd Floor
Humor Training Games – Stefan Stahl – How and when to apply humor in business? People often are afraid of the risks involved… Let’s exchange games that show: what humor is, how it works, how to apply humor in business, the risks and the limits.

Learning Journeys

with Rebecca Stockley
617 Congress Ave (the downstairs theater at the Hideout Coffeehouse and Theatre)

New to the Applied Improv Conference? This is the Learning Journey for you! Kick-start your weekend adventure by meeting a bunch of fellow members, getting familiar with AIN history and practices, and exploring the wide variety of forms and forums for Applied Improvisation. You’ll play interactive exercises and games, compare notes with other people applying improv around the world, and identify your goals for the conference while picking up some tips and tricks for creating your own road map for the next three days. This full-day session will be equal parts information and playtime.

Rebecca Stockley is a founding member of San Francisco’s premiere improvisational theatre BATS Improv, was Dean of BATS School of Improv for 11 years and she continues to perform on BATS stage and teach BATS workshops.  Since the mid 1980s Rebecca has been a practitioner of Applied Improvisation.  Rebecca applies improvisation in business and education; long term clients include Pixar Animation Studios, Industrial Light and Magic, Stanford University and Telltale Games. Rebecca attended her first AIN Conference in 2006. Check her out at improvlady.com

with Shawn Utterback and Terrill Fischer
10am-noon The Bob Bullock Texas History Museum (1800 Congress Ave)
1:30pm-4:30pm The Thinkery (1830 Simond Ave)

You’ll investigate the overlap of applied improvisation and education as you tour two of Austin’s world-class museums – specifically exploring ways to incorporate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) in the classroom. The first stop is the Bullock Texas State History Museum for the engaging and inspiring Story of Texas and how the state has blazed a trail in the areas of Science, Technology and Engineering. Attendees will then head to the Thinkery for an afternoon of Play!

The Thinkery is Austin’s new children’s museum and one of the best in the country. Tap into your inner kid and Play Big in this 40,000-square-foot facility – draw with lasers, create music with water, sculpt with magnetic fluid, play with a giant LITE BRITE and much more. A guided tour and two hours of play time will show how the Thinkery powers kids’ creativity through interactive exhibits. The day will conclude with an interactive workshop that investigates ways to implement STEAM through applied improv, including examples from the morning’s museum tour and curriculum, facilitated by Shawn Utterback and Terrill Fischer of the Play Storming Group.

with SpraTX
10am-noon The Contemporary Austin Jones Center (700 Congress Ave)
1:30-4:45pm HOPE Outdoor Gallery (1012 Baylor St)

This learning journey will be a look at art, community and environment starting with a trip to The Contemporary Austin Jones Center and its rooftop view of downtown Austin. Attendees will then head below to walk through an installation exhibition from South Korean artist Do Ho Suh and the different ways to experience the work. The guided tour will touch upon the ideas of home, travel, and memory as inspiration for the rest of the creative journey that day.

The next stop will be the Hope Outdoor Gallery, Austin’s legendary “paint park,” for a lesson in creating street art by members of SprATX. Participants will be given paints and taught spray technique as they collaborate on a street art piece that will become a part of the gallery, albeit temporarily. The members of SprATX will also present on the history of their organization and how they built a community around this fringe art and helped connect patrons, fans and other artists around the world.

SprATX (pronounced Spray-TX) is a collective of street artists, muralists and creative energies in Austin, Texas, who use their talents and visual art to impact the city in positive and beneficial ways. SprATX is a resource to connect with the local street art scene in Austin as an artist, someone who enjoys street art, or an organization that needs professional and experienced talent for an event or custom mural. Check them out at spratx.com.

with Randy Dixon

Shadow long-time applied improviser Randy Dixon as he goes through a demo training with a real live Austin company – from client consultation to curriculum development and finally a two-hour client session. Step-by-step transparency and conversation will explore the choices he is making as a facilitator and the reasoning behind them, and give inside access to the set of tools that Randy uses to craft and deliver a world-class client experience.

Randy Dixon is regarded as one of the most experienced improvisational artists in the field. He has served as the artistic director of Unexpected Productions, Seattle’s longest running improvisational theater company, since 1988. He founded the Orcas Island Project, which is a spontaneous performance group made up of international artists, has taught improvisational theater and acting all over the world, using best practices for improv and narrative. Past corporate clients include Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, John L. Scott, Aditi Technologies, Nintendo, Starbucks, Sonosite, Seattle University, Warren Miller, The Gap, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and many more. Check him out at randyjdixon.com.

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2019 AIN World Conference

2019 AIN World Conference, New York on 8-11 August 2019.


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