The Global Low Residency MA degree in Interactive Media Arts is a unique and exciting graduate school experience that aims to challenge the norms for accessibility in higher education. Rooted in a maker culture of “learning by doing”, this new program offers students a degree focused on the production, application, and understanding of interactive media for creative expression and critical engagement. By participating in this program, graduates will be empowered to more thoughtfully engage with the interactive media technologies, systems, materials and actors informing our world today.
The year-long degree involves 3 site-specific sessions at NYU New York (Summer), NYU Berlin (January), and NYU Shanghai (Summer) interspersed with 2 online semesters in the Fall and Spring. A curricular emphasis on context and connectivity along with a spirit of experimentation, collaboration and community will be infused across the entire experience. By traversing a series of locations and environments, both physical and digital, the program is designed to provide students with an active understanding of the current global landscape of computational media and technology.
Founded in 1979 by Red Burns, ITP has a 40-year history of exploring the possibilities of interactive technologies and creative participatory experiences. Situated within Tisch, the preeminent center for the study of the performing, cinematic and emerging media arts in the United States, ITP has successfully leveraged making as a vehicle for exploration, reflection and innovation.
Developed out of ITP, IMA began in 2013 as a popular undergraduate program at NYU Shanghai and with this new degree is expanding to graduate students. IMA at NYU Shanghai has stood out for the strength of its faculty and strong ties to local industry and communities of makers, designers and artists. NYU Shanghai is the newest degree-granting campus of New York University and the first Sino-US joint university. It features several graduate degree programs at both the master’s and PhD level.
Additionally, the strong community of alumni, professionals and academics surrounding NYU Berlin make this site a valuable point of connection for the program. By incorporating Berlin, the Low Res seeks to fuse NYU’s impressive Global Network in purposeful and innovative ways.
The 1-year continuous sequence of intensive in-person sessions in Summer and Winter paired with online semesters in the Fall and Spring is designed to allow people to earn a graduate degree with limited sacrifice to employment and professional opportunities. In comparison to a part-time format, where students come in at night after work across many years and shifting cohorts, the low residency entails shorter periods of complete immersion, intense study and opportunities for deep relationships with a single cohort.
Similar to both ITP and IMA, the Low Res MA in Interactive Media Arts will leverage a project-based curriculum as a vehicle to explore the intersection of emerging media and humanistic values. Aspects of computer science, engineering, and design will be fused with arts and humanities in a workshop-style approach to learning. Instruction will focus on demystifying the inner workings of computational technologies, facilitating production and practice-based research, encouraging critical investigation, and fostering discussion through multi-disciplinary lenses.
With the support of faculty and staff, Low Res students will learn how to design and develop interactive projects that involve the creative use of software, hardware and digital media. A technical background is not necessary – students will be provided with guidance to develop the skills necessary to realize their ideas. While you will learn how to make things, the more important inquiries will be around who, what and why..
The program diverges from its predecessors through both its global and distance learning components. Each location, both online and offline, offers a compelling space to pose questions and challenge ideas related to today’s interactive media ecosystems. In-person sessions will allow for engagement with local communities, public spaces, civic policies, social and cultural norms, and historical precedent. Online sessions will be used to facilitate distributed collaboration and personalized learning across cities and time-zones. While at home, students will be encouraged to integrate their personal and professional experiences in both their research and their project work.
Overall, there will be an intention to explore and parse challenging real-world issues across varied environments and contexts. Some questions that might be posed by Low Res IMA students and faculty alike are the following:
- In what ways are technological innovations impacting how we relate to ourselves and one another?
- How are systems of access, control and power informing our lives and developing across locations and communities?
- Can we work together to address issues such as equity, inclusivity, privacy and security at both local and global scale?
- How does connectivity and media materiality – the networks, the code, the data, the hardware – relate to the natural environment and a sustainable planet?
- In what ways are automation and intelligence evolving within varied economic and political systems?
- Can we leverage distributed nodes and alternative realities to enrich artistic expression and facilitate meaningful communication?
- What do we envision for the future of networked sharing, learning and education?
These are just a few of the many possible questions to explore through this program.
The Low Res aims to attract an international and diverse group of highly motivated self-directed students including teachers, artists, creatives, policy-makers and other working professionals who would like to augment an existing career path or forge into new territories of professional or personal development. It is also appropriate for students seeking a global academic experience that will provide opportunities to explore topics and issues of individual significance across a range of stimulating environments. While technical and/or artistic experience are welcomed, people from all backgrounds and experience levels are encouraged to apply. The strength of the community, and its predecessors, rests in the diversity of talents and perspectives that come together under the umbrella of a single program.
In terms of faculty and staff, the Low Res will draw upon the diverse pool from around the world of faculty from our long-standing programs, current staff, and alumni talent from both ITP and IMA. During the in-person sessions, a combination of local and international instructors will lead courses, conversations, workshops, and site visits. Online courses will be taught by dedicated faculty who have experience guiding groups of students in semester-long project work.
Given the novel nature of this program, the Low Res will appeal to individuals with interests in progressive pedagogy and design methodologies. Consistent across all members of the Low Res community – students, faculty and staff alike – will be an enthusiasm for creative experimentation and an excitement to participate in the co-construction of this new degree!