Arts + Design Faculty Forum: Creativity, Diversity, Technology, and Social Impact





At a time when many tout the importance of “creativity,” Berkeley’s arts and design landscape offers a uniquely bracing context for creative experimentation, one enriched by the scientific and cultural wealth of a world-class research university, one propelled by our historic commitment to public access and social impact.  The Arts + Design Initiative supports faculty artists and scholars in a shared effort to identify the broad and distinctive strengths of UC Berkeley’s arts and design profile. We seek to support interdisciplinary teams of scholars, artists, designers, curators, advanced students, alumni, and expert staff to excavate and analyze the past and present state of UC Berkeley’s creative landscape and develop road maps for its future.

Co-hosted by the VCR’s Office, the Faculty forum on Creativity, Diversity, Technology, and Social Impact offers faculty the opportunity to present collaborative research projects on a range of key topics and new innovations across the fields of arts and design.  Members of Berkeley’s wider community (faculty and graduate students) will be invited to listen, respond, debate, and deliberate in both plenary sessions and break-out groups on selected topics. Date, time, location below:


Arts + Design: Creativity, Diversity, Technology, and Social Impact
September 1, 2016
The David Brower Center

9:15am to 9:30am: Introductions
9:30am-10:15am: Brief Plenary Talks
10: 30am-11:20am: Break-out Sessions: Focused Themes
11:20am-12pm: Plenary: Closing


We look forward to working with the VCR to develop these themes and also to identify synergies amongst shared pursuits, culminating in project proposals submitted to the VCR by October 15, 2015. All Berkeley faculty and graduate students welcome!

Topics of collaborative interdisciplinary research include:

1)    Creativity and Multiplicity (Faculty Lead: Ken Goldberg): Creativity has not been sufficiently studied in the context of contemporary advances in thinking about diversity and technology.  The culture at UC Berkeley could be uniquely positioned to lead a new study of creativity that builds on a concept we call “Multiplicity”.

2)    Race and the Digital Landscape (Faculty Lead: Stephen Best): From the events in Ferguson that spawned #blacklivesmatter to the recent carnage in Dallas, this project explores how understandings of race are being shaped by digital media that structure our sense of what is happening in the world.

3)    Creative Hybrid-Making (Faculty Lead: Eric Paulos): this team will create a formal proposal that will leverage the diversity of creative fabrication expertise using hybrid materials and methods as part of an emerging innovative, expressive, and artistic practice.

4)    Arts, Climate, Sustainability (Faculty Lead: Dan Kammen): This project proposes to address the scientific, political, policy, and disciplinary coalitions necessary to create robust public art engagement in energy and climate change research, as well as best practices for engaging the arts and design in movements for environmental awareness.

5)    Curation Across the Disciplines (Surrogate Faculty Lead: Shannon Jackson) : As the field of curation expands to include film, performance, digital, and community engagement, this project mobilizes Berkeley’s resources to devise new programs on the practice of curatorial engagement.

6)    Arts and Business (Faculty Lead: Nora Silver): Considering multi-sector or “fourth sector” economic models, this domain explores both new business models for the arts as well as new methods for integrating the arts into business.

7)    Augmented Reality and the Arts (Faculty Lead: Allen Yang): The project focuses on how media and performing arts fields are becoming prime sets for new experimentation with AR/VR technology as well as how the arts and entertainment are themselves undergoing rapid transformation.

Throughout our morning together, we will discuss arts and design research and creative accomplishments that address issues of race, climate, social justice, and the future of cultural entrepreneurship, while also exploring new models of cyber experience, creative fabrication, and human-machine interactions.  After moving from plenary sessions to break-out groups, our goal is to identify synergies within and across allied fields in order to articulate Berkeley’s widest and deepest contribution to a robust, creative, and equitable future on and for the planet.

Please join us!  For questions, comments, or RSVP information, please email