[iDC] sharing "new media" curricula/potentials
tholme at artic.edu
Sat Jan 20 22:58:55 EST 2007
Trebor has invited me to moderate a discussion related to new media
I'd like to try to pick up on some of the exciting conversation that
Margaret Morse and others generated about the relevance of practice-
based PhDs in the new media field. The topic I hope to explore is
the potential of the nebulous arena of "new media" to generate a
truly interdisciplinary undergraduate or MFA-level curriculum---one
that promotes community and participation across campus.
New media is a nomadic discipline that has invaded communication
departments, trickled into photography departments, swirled through
film and video curriculums, and has now begun a slow infiltration of
the sculpture, fiber, painting, and design areas too, as well as many
other disciplines. As Grant Kester recently pointed out, new media
is "the most intensively capitalized art movement in the history of
modernism." That said, given the rapid expansion of new media
departments what standards, or criteria are there among faculty to
define the guiding curricula and community focus?
For incoming MFA students, a "Department of New Media," is often
advertised as an interdisciplinary arena. Yet, once those
prospective students arrive on campus to study in the "Department of
New Media", those individuals feel isolated and potentially
disconnected from the group of students pursuing more established
practices in fine arts or those pursuing professional degrees in
engineering and the like. Margaret Morse actually alluded to this
earlier: "Contemporary grad students of new media 'working on the
cusp of leisure/pleasure' spend hours and hours in pursuits that have
few concrete outcomes suggests that there is something about the
subject of new media itself that may be more fragmentizing and
I'm curious share ideas with IDC listers who have built or
participated in new media degree programs recently. Here are just a
few questions to start out with:
How do your new media programs relate to the campus at large---at
universities, art schools, smaller institutions?
Are there isolationist tendencies in the new media programs? Are IDC
listers enrolled or teaching in "new media-related" programs that
have defined goals to create community/interdisciplinary
collaboration---as well as teach programming and all the "software"
What should students studying "new media" be learning? Is there a
"literacy" in the field that could be identified? Would it help the
discipline of "new media" to have defined competencies at the
undergraduate and graduate level?
I look forward to sharing conversation and ideas over the next week.
Tiffany Holmes, Associate Professor
Chair, Department of Art and Technology Studies
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
112 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60603
Phone: 312-345-3760, Fax: 312-345-3565
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