UArts Centers launch new interactive student programs
January 19, 2021
Beginning this month, UArts students have new opportunities to engage with the university’s centers in a brand new way. The Center for Immersive Media (CIM), University Galleries and Lightbox Film Center are each launching virtual offerings for spring 2021. Each series creates space for students to explore a particular area of art, culture and design without additional homework assignments or final projects. The programs are also an effort to keep students connected to one another outside of class time.
Cyber Studio, led by CIM Director Alan Price, explores the world of virtual reality. Since opening in fall 2019, CIM has offered the UArts community physical space and access to the technologies needed to understand and integrate virtual and mixed reality, performance motion-capture, and human-computer interaction into their creative practices. This virtual series offers an alternative to those in-person experiences.
“The Cyber Studio addresses ways of utilizing virtual reality, whether as a format for collaborative interaction or as a new space for creative expression,” Price explained. The weekly sessions will incorporate demonstrations and participation in VR chat rooms and multiplayer VR applications, mixed with discussions. “Students will be encouraged to express their personal interests in the topic and to help shape discussions, and together they’ll develop a historical and technical familiarity with artistic practice in a virtual studio environment,” Price said.
Jesse Pires, director and curator of Lightbox Film Center, designed an eight-session series called Subversive Cinema, to provide an overview of avant-garde cinema and explore the impact of film on art and culture. Each week will focus on a different theme, with a selection of short films provided to view in advance and inform the discussion. “It’s an opportunity to curate a small-scale film exhibition each week,” Pires said about his approach to this series, which is intended for students with varying degrees of familiarity with film.
The virtual format of this program has already proven to have certain advantages in terms of the film selection process. Pires explained, “If I were to reconstruct this experience in person, I would likely be limited to the film prints or digital copies available from distributors in the U.S. Though not everything is available online, I was able to uncover some exceptional films that I would otherwise not be able to share with students.”
“In addition to benefiting from the expertise of centers staff, each meeting is an opportunity for students to network with one another and connect with new and familiar faces.”
-Caitlin Perkins, UArts Director of Engagement
The third new program, Curated Conversations: The Art of Running a Gallery, is a forum for students interested in understanding how to manage an exhibition space. Caitlin Perkins, UArts’ director of engagement, intends for this series to address topics related to traditional gallery spaces, as well as more experimental, artist-run spaces and collectives. Students will be able to meet and speak with a variety of artists and curators, including Sid Sachs, UArts chief curator and director of exhibitions, who has organized acclaimed exhibitions at both the Art Alliance and Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery; curator Jose Roca, who is planning the upcoming Sydney Biennial; and members of local artist collectives, including Vox Populi and Space 1026.
Over several weeks, each program will allow participants to build community around an area of interest supported by the distinct assets of each center.
Perkins is particularly excited about the potential for connection the new programming provides. “In addition to benefiting from the expertise of centers staff, each meeting is an opportunity for students to network with one another and connect with new and familiar faces,” she said. “We hope these experiences fill a gap in their social and creative outlets during another semester of remote learning.”