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Unpacking Creativity | Discussion Panel

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Watt Family Innovation Center

405 South Palmetto Boulevard

Clemson, SC 29634

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Unpacking Creativity

Presented by the Watt Family Innovation Center and University Relations

We take it everywhere with us. It never looks the same. We have it with us at work during but also during everyday life. It’s a living for some and an escape for others. At this panel, five Clemson Alumni will discuss their creative processes and how they've been inspired to take risks, try something new or simply hone in on their craft.

Ben Burris | Ben is an improv performer and instructor with Alchemy Comedy Theater (Greenville). His comedy career started in 2007 with Mock Turtle Soup (Clemson) and has since introduced him to performers, teachers and students of improv from northern Alaska, London and around the world.

Emily B. Martin | Park ranger by summer, author/illustrator the rest of the year, Emily received her B.S. and M.S. in parks and protected area management from Clemson. An avid hiker and explorer, she uses her experiences as a ranger to inform her characters and stories. When not patrolling places like Yellowstone and the Great Smoky Mountains, she lives in Pendleton with her husband, Will, and two daughters, Lucy and Amelia.

J. Drew Lanham (Clemson ’88, M ’90, Ph.D. ’97) | Drew is an Alumni Distinguished Professor and Alumni Master Teacher in the Clemson University Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation. A native of Edgefield and Aiken, he is the author of numerous published essays in anthologies and the award-winning memoir, "The Home Place—Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature" (Milkweed Editions 2016) and a chapbook of poetry "Sparrow Envy" (Holocene Press 2016). He is a wildlife ecologist and conservation ornithologist whose current work centers on land ethic and cultural connections in conservation. Drew espouses that art, science and literature can form an effective trinity for conservation—head to hand to heart.

Chris Bandy | Chris graduated from Clemson in 1992 and majored in textile management with a concentration in marketing. After several sales and marketing jobs, Chris landed back in Clemson where he is now a co-owner of Tigertown Graphics. While Tigertown Graphics still has a strong presence in downtown Clemson and on campus, Chris splits his time running the Southern Fried Cotton apparel brand as well. Since the launch of Southern Fried Cotton in 2012, Chris and partners have opened up two Southern Fried Cotton retail stores, and the brand can be found in more than 300 retail stores across the Southeast.

Bill Mitchell | Bill Mitchell is owner of billiamjeans, which started in 2009 with a sewing machine from Goodwill, the wisdom of YouTube and some space in his parents' basement. Over the past eight years he has built a company with a flagship store that was named by National Geographic Traveler as the “Best Store in Greenville” and that produces products sold both locally and internationally. The jeans are a staple of Greenville culture and offer the locals as well as anyone coming to town a truly unique experience. Billiam Jeans donates 20 percent of their year end-profit to fight human trafficking in Atlanta.


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Watt Family Innovation Center

405 South Palmetto Boulevard

Clemson, SC 29634

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