In this interview, meet Janet Rafner, Director Of Learning at Aarhus University.
Janet, you are on the board of a few initiatives; can you tell us more about you and what brought you to these specific roles?
I am originally from the United States and have undergraduate degrees in Physics and Studio Art from the University of Virginia. In 2015, I was awarded a US-Danish Fulbright Fellowship, which allowed me to relocate to Denmark and study how complex phenomena can be effectively conveyed through visual media. After completing my fellowship, I decided to stay in Denmark to pursue a Master’s degree in Physics, followed by an interdisciplinary PhD in Information Communication Technology, combining elements of citizen science, cognitive science, creativity, digital games, and human-computer interaction. As someone who is deeply passionate about the ways in which scientific research can impact the educational, business, and government sectors, I was thrilled to accept roles on the advisory boards.
Can you tell us more about Karanga and which are the skills you are teaching to enable all learners to succeed in school, work and life?
Karanga is a global alliance for Social and Emotional Learning and Life Skills. The mission of Karanga is to inspire and equip practitioners, policy makers and researchers from across the world to promote quality and equitable Social Emotional Learning and Life Skills through initiatives that connect, coordinate, and drive action. Social and Emotional Learning generally includes competencies such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making. Life skills is a very broad umbrella term, but I personally focus on creativity, problem solving and computational thinking.
You are part of an event during the LearningPlanet Festival. Can you tell us more about it and who should join?
I am actually fortunate enough to be part of several LearningPlanet Festival events! During these events, I will be presenting on, demonstrating, and/or facilitating workshops that utilise our innovative human-AI co-creative technology called crea.visions to generate images of potential solutions to issues facing the city of Paris. In these workshops, participants will select a problem that is meaningful to them and create an image of it using crea.visions. They will then come up with possible solutions and use the technology to create another image. Some workshops are tailored for students, while others are open to the general public, both in-person at the Learning Planet Institute and online. We hope to see you there!
Do you have any big news to share with us?
I am thrilled to share that I have recently been recognised for my work on crea.visions by the Sonophilia Foundation! The Sonophilia Foundation is a German non-profit dedicated to promoting and disseminating research on creativity. This award is a great honour and I am grateful to the Sonophilia Foundation for their support.
Janet Rafner is a postdoctoral researcher at Aarhus University, Dept. of Linguistics, Cognitive Science and Semiotics and the Center for Hybrid Intelligence at Dept. of Business and Management and affiliated with the Interacting Minds Center and the Center for Aesthetics of AI Images. She holds a PhD in Information Communication Technology (2022) and her current research focuses on citizen science, participatory futures, psychometric creativity assessment, computational co-creativity, and human-AI interaction. She is a Salzburg Global fellow and formerly a US Fulbright Fellow.
More information about Janet below:
Project website: https://mgmt.au.dk/center-for-hybrid-intelligence/projects/creavisions