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Design, Art, and Technology: Innovation Synergy

Hampshire College announces a new academic program that aims to create new ways of thinking about how design, art, and technology converge. And how, together, they can shape and influence perception and society.

 The program is named Design, Art, and Technology: Innovation Synergy (or DART). DART will draw on the resources of Hampshire’s curriculum and reputation in the arts. Existing design and technology resources at the college will also support the new program, including computer science courses significantly geared toward creativity and the arts, and design and technology resources in Hampshire’s Lemelson Program for inventors and innovators.

The Sherman Fairchild Foundation has awarded Hampshire a $300,000 start-up grant for the program. The college will receive $100,000 per year over the next three years.

The grant will support innovative student projects, development of courses, faculty seminars, and an annual showcase of work by students and faculty connected with the program.

A variety of fields are represented on the faculty planning and oversight committee, including the visual arts, architecture, computer science, applied design, theater, and social entrepreneurship.

Computer science courses at Hampshire often focus on computational theories of artistic creativity and include such titles as “Creative Machines?” and “Radical Innovation in the Digital Arts.” During academic year 2007-2008, Hampshire received a National Science Foundation grant for a project titled The Computational Creative Curriculum, aimed at fostering connections between media arts students and their counterparts in computer science.

The new art, design, and technology program will be housed in the college’s arts building and the adjacent Lemelson Center, which contains a design and fabrication shop that provides space for artists, designers, architects, animators, and engineers to work on individual and collaborative projects.

Dean of Faculty Aaron Berman described the new DART program as the latest in a series of programs being created by Hampshire using an innovative model of academic work at the nexus of multiple disciplines.

“Hampshire is doing more than just linking fields together into interdisciplinary programs,” Berman said. “The model is one of across-the-college programs that don’t just combine, but transcend, academic disciplines, generating entirely new perspectives, processes, and approaches.”

As an existing example of how this academic model works successfully, he noted the college’s Culture, Brain, and Development (CBD) program, which looks at human behavior and interactions from neurological, biological, environmental, psychological, and cultural frameworks.

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