Curriculum Highlights

UC Berkeley offers a range of exciting art and design curricular opportunities. Below are a few courses being offered in Spring 2016. If you would like to have your class highlighted, please contact us.

Visual Activism 

HA 190T
Spring 2016
Prof. Julia Bryan-Wilson, History of Art Dept.
Tues, Thurs 3:30-5pm

How has visual culture played a contested role within the social movements of the last several decades? How, we might ask, is activism made visible; how does it erupt (or disappear) with collective fields of vision?  Drawing upon South African lesbian photographer Zanele Muholi’s term “visual activism” as a flexible rubric that encompasses both formal practices and political strategies, this lecture class interrogates contemporary visual cultures of dissent and protest as they span a range of ideological positions. We will examine recent developments in and around recent intersections of art and politics, looking closely at performances, photographs, art objects, and graphic interventions, with a special focus on tactics of illegibility and fugitivity. Topics might include visual responses to structural racisms, global climate change, state violence, and queer/trans issues.

Challenge Lab – Social Entrepreneurship

IEOR 185
4 units
CCN: 41060
Instructors: Ken Sandy, David Law, Ken Singer
Thursdays 4-7pm

Through a competition-based format, students work in simulated lean start-up teams vying to create innovative products to further a social cause. Teams navigate weekly challenges, understanding real-world constraints, using rapid iterative build and validate development methods and frequent interaction with sponsors and mentors. The final outcome is a working prototype and “white paper.”

Mexico City: Materiality, Performance And Power

ARCH 139/239.1 or TDPS 266.2
4-5 units
CCN: By approval
Instructors: C. Greig Crysler (Architecture), Angela Marino (Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies) and María Moreno Carranco (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa)
Tuesdays/Thursdays 2-5pm
491 Wurster Hall

This interdisciplinary research studio will focus on Mexico City as a composite city: a complex space of palimpsest histories and possible futures that emerges through the materiality of urban experience. The course will explore the relationship between material histories, cultures and the performance of power through site-specific interventions and research projects based in three zones of engagement: the historic center, the Roma and Condesa neighborhoods, and the Western periphery. Student projects will be included in a subsequent book on Mexico City, to be published in English and Spanish, which expands on course themes and issues.

The class will be conducted as a project-based seminar. Students will be expected to participate in additional activities to be scheduled at a mutually convenient time, including film screenings, guest lectures, project pin-ups and/or research presentation related to individual and group projects. Students will develop an interdisciplinary toolkit of urban research methods and creative practices through participation in the course.

A funded field trip to Mexico City will take place from March 18-27, 2016.

Open to grad students, juniors, seniors. There are no prerequisites for this class. Studio experience and Spanish language skills are encouraged but not required. An info session will be held on Nov. 3, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. in 126 Dwinelle Annex. Interested students should write to for information about the application process and other details. Applications due by Dec. 4, 2015, at noon. Selected applicants will receive a CCN on Dec. 7, 2015.

Thinking Across the Arts and Design at Berkeley: The Architecture of Life

Letters & Science 25
Instructors: Shannon Jackson (Rhetoric and Theater, Dance and Performance Studies) and Nicholas de Monchaux (Architecture)
4 units
CCN: 51930
Monday/Wednesday, 12-pm
Berkeley Art Museum
Note that the first four class meetings will be in the Durham Theater in Dwinelle Hall

In January of 2016, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) opens a new building, and a new chapter in the story of arts and design at Berkeley, with the exhibition “The Architecture of Life.” Tied into the exhibit as well as a range of other performances and events around campus, and taught within the new museum after its January 26 opening, Thinking across the Arts and Design at Berkeley: The Architecture of Life, is a no-experience-assumed immersion in how to connect thinking, watching, listening and making on the Berkeley campus. With a range of outside speakers connected to the BAMPFA building and exhibit, as well as the CalPerformances events attended by the class, the course will involve close readings, close viewings of buildings and objects, and close listening and engagement with music, dance and theater. Students in the course will be equipped not only to understand and engage individual artistic and design disciplines, but also to connect their ideas and intentions to each other, across a range of creative and historical disciplines.

Satisfies Arts and Literature breadth in the College of Letters & Science

Collaborative Innovation

Art Practice 100, Theater, Dance and Performance Studies 100, and UGBA 190T
4 units

For this interdisciplinary course, students can enroll through one of six separate sections. Some common content will be shared across all sections; while each section will also have a distinct disciplinary focus on either business, art practice or theater as indicated by its departmental home.

CCN: 04493 – Art 100, section 101
CCN 04496 – Art 100, section 102
CCN 88199 – TDPS 100, section 1
CCN 88202 – TDPS 100, section 2
CCN 08270 – UGBA 190T, section 3
CCN: 08475- UGBA 190T, section 6

Instructors: Sara Beckman (Business and Engineering), Catherine Cole (Theater, Dance and Performance Studies), Amanda Eicher (Art Practice), Marymoore Patterson (Business), Sean San Jose (Theater, Dance and Performance Studies), and Stephanie Syjuco (Art Practice)

Tuesday/Thursday, 2-5pm
Note first class meeting for all sections is in 310 Jacobs Hall.

In this hands-on, project-based class in collaborative innovation, students will experience group creativity and team-based design by using techniques from across the disciplines of business, theatre, design, and art practice. They will leverage problem framing and solving techniques derived from critical thinking, systems thinking, and creative problem solving (popularly known today as “design thinking”).  The course is grounded in a brief weekly lecture that sets out the theoretical, historical, and cultural contexts for particular innovation practices, but the majority of the class involves hands-on studio-based learning guided by an interdisciplinary team of teachers leading small group collaborative projects. Students will experience observation, problem-framing, divergent and convergent thinking, iterative solution testing, improvisation, storytelling, devised theatre, and public speaking and presentation activities.  By engaging in these activities, ​the course ​provide​s​ students with​ ​the ​opportunity to develop new mindsets, skill-sets and toolsets for use in collaborative innovation efforts.

Art 100 and TDPS 100 qualify for Arts and Literature breadth in the College of Letters & Science.

User Interface Design And Development

CS 160
4 units
CCN: 26460
Instructor: Eric Paulos

This course focuses on the design, implementation and evaluation of user interfaces. The course involves user-centered design and task analysis; conceptual models and interface metaphors; usability inspection and evaluation methods; analysis of user study data; input methods (keyboard, pointing, touch, tangible) and input models; visual design principles; interface prototyping; and implementation methodologies and tools. Working in teams, students will develop a user interface for a specific task and target user group.