SEAD Position Paper
SEAD: Network for Sciences, Engineering, Arts and Design: Carol LaFayette, MFA, Texas A&M University; Thanassis Rikakis, Ph.D., Arizona State University; Donna J. Cox, Ph.D., University of Illinois Urbana Champaign; Gunalan Nadarajan, University of Michigan; Carol Strohecker, Ph.D., Center for Design Innovation, University of North Carolina system; Pamela Jennings, Ph.D., The School of the Art Instutute of Chicago. Contributors: Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz; Roger F. Malina, Ph.D., University of Texas, Dallas; Sheldon Brown, University of California, San Diego; Alicia Gibb, BugLabs, New York
Top 75 words in meetings about a network, from Alexandria to Baltimore (2010-2011), via wordle.com
Innovations emerging from the intersection of the sciences, engineering, arts and design are transforming our economy, culture, and learning contexts. This transformation is emerging through development of products, methods, and questions that are fundamentally hybrid, such as software developed for human play, hardware designed for aesthetic elegance, or the plethora of scientific and cultural information requiring new means of interpretation and expression in order to enable greater understanding of complex dynamics.
As our world undergoes rapid change, we need new ways to create and engage knowledge, drawing from multiple disciplines as we seek to understand the ever-increasing complexity. By working together, interdisciplinary collaborators can provide insights into dilemmas that elude understanding through any singular inquiry. Global economic interests are at stake: we anticipate that most types of employment that will come to dominate our economies in twenty years are being spawned now. New forms of partnership among political, academic and civil sectors of society are required if we are to bring about the needed changes intelligently and humanely. Innovation stemming from interdisciplinary creativity is a major contributor to the development of new, sustainable economies and harmonious, cooperating societies.
The National Science Foundation Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Information & Intelligent Systems (IIS) program sponsored five workshops in 2010-2011, bringing together artists and scientists from across the United States, to address needs of the burgeoning community of groups and individuals engaged in transdisciplinary practice. This effort resulted in the genesis of a new network focusing on advocacy and dissemination of innovative methods for connecting and supporting a distributed community across academia, non-profit organizations, civil society, industry, and funding entities. The network facilitates research community development; collaboration and project matchmaking; expertise referrals; large-scale collaborative teaching; forums to share best practices in lifelong learning that integrates the arts, sciences, engineering and design; and philanthropic opportunities for funding organizations. The growing interdisciplinary community continues to face challenges in its efforts to self-organize among constraints imposed by academic systems and historical biases; the community continues to seek a dynamic and synergizing research and outreach exchange. We recognize an urgent need for a paradigm shift that can overcome such biases and fully address, in an integrated manner, the documentation needs of the science-art community. Therefore, the SEAD network is undertaking the development of a dissemination portal (XSEAD) that will provide a centralized view of this emergent field; fast dissemination of multimodal research outcomes; extensive databases of prior and current research, an informed record of science-art curricula; support structures for science-art careers; and evidence of societal impact of interdisciplinary integration.
The network addresses fundamental challenges including the need to align academic pedagogies with 21st-century thinking skills; to promote diversity of perspectives, approaches, and people in the creative economy; and to benchmark best practices that create critical thinkers and leaders for the ever-changing job market. We are providing a platform to generate and disseminate public dialogue about the intellectual, cultural, and economic potential of creative intersections of art, science and technology.
Network for Sciences, Engineering, Arts and Design (SEAD)
We will become the leading advocate for collaboration among the sciences, engineering, arts and design, fostering innovation and learning that impact community sustainability and economic growth
We operate in entrepreneurial, sustainable ways to identify and promote broader impacts for communities and individuals in new areas of practice, research and critical discourse achieving creative excellence and intellectual merit.
Advocacy for research and creative work
The network facilitates experimentation with new methods, materials, and modes of creative inquiry and understanding in order to spawn groundbreaking discoveries and inventions.
Advocacy for learning and education
The network promotes life-long learning by supporting topics, pedagogies, and evaluation methods that integrate the sciences, engineering, arts and design.
Advocacy for partnerships
The network is a nexus for strategic partnerships among individuals and organizations including government, industry, civic and academic institutions fostering initiatives that bring together diverse disciplines and domains.
Advocacy for culture and economic development
The network champions partnerships that value sustainability, community development and social entrepreneurship, in order to spur economic growth.
Short term objectives overview
Initiatives to July 2013
XSEAD portal curators
Chair, Sheldon Brown, Professor of Visual Arts; Director, Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination; Founder, New Media Arts for the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technologies (CalIt2); University of California, San Diego
Co-Chair Alicia Gibb, Research and Development Lab Director, BugLabs, New York; Entrepreneur
To create crossover linkages among the two, separately funded NSF groups NSEAD and XSEAD, two participants will serve on the XSEAD Curatorial Board to develop sections focused on quality examples of collaborative projects. Sheldon Brown, representing a major academic research facility and Alicia Gibb, representing the "DIY and Maker" community, will work with XSEAD PI Thanassis Rikakis on this objective.
Learning and education
Best practices working group
Chair, Brian K. Smith, Dean, Continuing Education, Rhode Island School of Design
Co-Chair, Katherine Moriwaki, Assistant Professor of Media Design; School of Art, Media and Technology; Parsons the New School for Design Assistance: Alicia Gibb, Research and Development Lab Director, BugLabs, New York; Entrepreneur; Tracy Hammond, Director, Sketch Recognition Lab; Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering; Texas A&M University
One major area of focus is that of addressing the integration of SEAD curriculum in lifelong learning and education. This involves developing models for best practices and sharing of curriculum across U.S. academic institutions. To raise awareness of the need for cross-disciplinary integration, another objective is to develop position papers for presentation at organizational conferences. Others include attending congressional hearings within the Department of Education to address policies; forging partnerships between universities and community hacker spaces; clarifying pedagogical strategies and best practices for SEAD informal and formal learning; and rethinking the distinction between Art and Science departments in educational institutions.
High school pipeline to underrepresented student populations
Chair, Tracy Hammond, Director, Sketch Recognition Lab; Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering; Texas A&M University
Co-chair, Sheldon Brown, Professor of Visual Arts; Director, Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination; Founder, New Media Arts for the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technologies (CalIt2); University of California, San Diego
Assistance: Alicia Gibb, Research and Development Lab Director, BugLabs, New York; Entrepreneur; Katherine Moriwaki, Assistant Professor of Media Design, Parsons the New School for Design
This objective is to develop a SEAD educational initiative for K-12 students to be shared across academic institutions. Its purpose is to mentor those in under-represented populations for entry into career fields in science, engineering, arts, and design. Some factors to address include the definition of a STEM career in relation to fields that don't always "count," such as 3D animation and game design. Likewise, artistic fields need to include math and science as foundational for a career in digital media production. Defining an "at risk" student involves gaining knowledge of those who may not enter STEM careers but be ideal candidates. U.S. educational institutions are more successful at producing managers but less so manufacturers or creators. Skills such as soldering and 3D printing are among those needed for the future.
Research and creative work
White papers working group
Steering committee in progress to invite international representation
Chair, Roger Malina, Distinguished Professor, Arts & Technology, University of Texas, Dallas; Professor, Aix Marseille University; Leonardo/ISAST Chair Emeritus; Leonardo Governing Board Member
Co-Chair Carol Strohecker, Director, Center for Design Innovation, University of North Carolina system; Professor, Winston- Salem State University; Chief Research Officer, Instructor, UNC School of the Arts
Marjory Blumenthal, Associate Provost, Academic, Georgetown University Jonas Braasch, XSEAD Co-PI, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Communication Acoustics and Aural Architecture Research Laboratory (CA3RL), School of Architecture, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York Shawn Brixey, XSEAD Co-PI, Director, DXArts, University of Washington Donna Cox, XSEAD Co-PI, Professor, The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Director, Illinois eDREAM Institute Christo Doherty, Head of Digital Arts, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa Ken Goldberg, Professor, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research jointly with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; School of Information, University of California, Berkeley Adriene Jenik, XSEAD advisor, Professor and Director, School of Art, Katherine K. Herberger Endowed Chair in Fine Arts, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University Pamela Jennings, Director, Brenda and Earl Shapiro Centers for Research and Collaboration; School of the Art Institute of Chicago Gunalan Nadarajan, Dean and Professor, School of Art and Design, University of Michigan Nicola Triscott, Founder and Director The Arts Catalyst, United Kingdom; Founder, Project Director, Catalyst Rwanda Oguzhan Ozcan, Professor, Interactive Media Design, Department of Media and Visual Arts Design Lab, Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey
This objective addresses the need to raise awareness of the impacts, values, opportunities and challenges of cross-disciplinary research and creative work. Following on a vision initiative first developed in the 2010 Alexandria workshop cited above, a White Papers Working Group was formed to issue an open call for white papers, to result in a published compendium. This compendium is envisioned to take a form similar to the 2003 publication "Beyond Productivity: Information, Technology, Innovation, and Creativity," edited by William J. Mitchell, Alan S. Inouye, and Marjory S. Blumenthal, Committee on Information Technology and Creativity, National Research Council. [Mitchell et. al., 2003] White papers will be targeted for selected conferences in 2013 and published online. The group is also developing a bibliography of SEAD related, third party white papers for a meta-view of needs, opportunities and recommendations.
Culture and economic development
Incubator program: economic development; toolkits; best practices and teamwork Team in development.
CoChair: Pamela Jennings, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
In service to the country, this goal involves articulating the impact of transdisciplinary skills on culture, innovation, and economic development. There is potential to build a brand with credibility and trust; to identify unique opportunities that merit community support; to develop "incubator" programs with toolkits, best practices, and strategies for team building. Such an initiative could result in workforce development; support for community spaces rural to urban; and new models for intellectual property policy and technology transfer. Designed to be accessible to the general public, the network can foster recognition in the form of awards and challenge projects; and facilitate affinity building in communities. Target support groups would consist of academic policy makers and community leaders joining together to nurture and mentor the next generation.
Partner enrollment and advocacy in agencies
Chair, Gunalan Nadarajan, University of Michigan
This objective will serve the goal of identifying partners for the network, for example The American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, College Art Association, International Graphic Association for Computing Machinery, American Institute of Graphic Arts, and others. There is potential to broker partnerships, programs and conferences among network members and institutions. A communications rationale and protocol should be developed. This group would become the voice of the network by facilitating and explaining the value of partnerships across communities and disciplines. One objective would be development of an advocacy kit for best practices.
Updated 5 July 2012