New Interactive Media Arts Degree Prepares Students For the Digital Age


New BFA degree, based on Tisch's renowned ITP graduate program, combines creativity and coding and will be housed at NYU's newly-remodeled 147,000 square foot Brooklyn innovation space.

IMA degree

The Tisch School of the Arts at New York University today announced the creation of a new Interactive Media Arts degree (IMA) set to launch in Fall 2018 at NYU’s Brooklyn campus. This interdisciplinary Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is an outgrowth of Tisch’s renowned Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).

“Interactive media has become central to our culture and an important tool for all kinds of thinking and expression,” said Daniel O’Sullivan, associate dean of Emerging Media and chair of the ITP and IMA departments. “These students will experience the same hands-on learning-by-doing approach to teaching and learning that has led ITP alumni to every major technology company, creative design firm, and digital agency in the country and throughout the world.”

Over the course of the IMA degree, students will learn to think about the relationship between digital tools, physical objects and environments, human interaction, and technology’s impact on the world. Practical work will involve working with new media and new technologies to invent, design, build, and critique mobile apps, wearables, connected devices, physical interfaces, social media, networked media, interactive visualizations, and other emerging media.

“It’s vital that artists be involved in creating the future,” Allyson Green, dean of the Tisch School of the Arts, said. “Creating the Interactive Media Arts degree within the Tisch School of the Arts as well as expanding our footprint to Brooklyn will put us at the intersection of art, science, engineering, design, and the humanities and also provide us with the space for collaboration that is necessary for innovation.”

Tisch School of the Arts departments, including the ITP and IMA programs as well as the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music and the NYU Game Center, will join the Center for Urban Science and Progress, the Tandon School School of Engineering, and the Media and Games Network at NYU’s new Media, Technology and Arts (MTA) building - the 500,000 square foot former Metropolitan Transit Authority headquarters located at 370 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn. The new MTA Building provides significantly expanded facilities in terms of both space and capabilities, tripling the size of the current ITP workshop, and adding 7,000 square feet of high base black box cutting edge capture studios and new fabrication facilities, as well as a shared 7,000 square foot ground floor “Media Commons” gallery space. The building will also have an expanded, indoor/outdoor performance space, known as The Garage, which will be built out of the current building’s loading dock.

O’Sullivan says he is looking forward to taking ITP’s messy magic to Brooklyn.

“We promise to keep it weird in Brooklyn,” O’Sullivan said. “Over the past four decades, there are very few places on Earth that have engendered as much ambitious creative work as the funky hallways of our space. The constant flow of hundreds of students thinking and working, laughing and playing, collaborating, sleeping, crying, being frustrated and elated, going out, breaking up, getting married … has imbued the place with a strong emotional energy. We will work hard to ensure that energy is transplanted to our new floor and new degree in Brooklyn.”

IMA students will be taught by many of the world-class faculty who currently teach in ITP. Since the program’s inception, ITP faculty have been trailblazers inis basically synonymous with the founding of the maker movement, with Arduino, Processing, P5, and Physical Computing all tracing their foundations back to ITP. Current faculty include well known artists, writers, activists, and inventors, such as Marina Zurkow, Tom Igoe, Daniel Shiffman, Allison Parrish, Gabriel Barcia-Colombo, Mimi Yin, Daniel Rozin, Nancy Hechinger, and Marianne Petit.

“Anybody who has already ventured into this intersection of technology and art has likely used the books, tutorials, and YouTube channels that flood out of ITP, but as students they can sit down with the real thing,” said Shawn Van Every, ITP assistant professor who will serve as Director of the Undergraduate Studies for IMA.

The BFA program will have three components:

· Two introductory courses that teach essential skills in computation and media literacy
· 12 elective courses, two each from five areas: Art & Design, Computation & Data, Experimental Interfaces & Physical Computing, Media & Entertainment and Seminar
· A final Capstone project, a semester-long effort in the research, design and testing of a single project

Students will be required as part of the BFA degree program to take classes in NYU’s College of Arts and Sciences in order to acquire a strong foundation in science and the humanities. After the first semester of sophomore year, students can also take courses at the Interactive Media Arts program in NYU Shanghai and the Interactive Media program at NYU Abu Dhabi.

According to O’Sullivan and Van Every, the sorts of careers IMA graduates will pursue after graduation are likely to be as broad and varied as those pursued by ITP alumni. These include Leo Villareal, creator of The Bay Lights on the San Francisco Bay Bridge; FourSquare founder Dennis Crowley; Edwin Reed-Sanchez, who created SayCel, a low-cost, community-based cellular phone system in developing regions; Camile Utterback, a MacArthur “genius” and professor at Stanford University; Allie Diracles who built Vidcode, a system that has introduced thousands of girls to programming, to name a few.

Applications are currently being received for IMA’s inaugural class. For more information, visit the IMA website or contact ima.info@nyu.edu.

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