In a rapidly technologizing world, OCAD University is meeting the evolution of art and design head-on with its Digital Futures Initiative.
The initiative explores the creative possibilities of digital technologies through new cross-disciplinary programs, research laboratories and partnerships.
“We’re surrounded by computation and technologies in our day-to-day life,” says Caroline Langill, associate dean of the faculty of art and interim chair of the DFI undergraduate program. “(So) it’s important for artists to be engaged in those media that business and corporations are using for various applications.”
The DFI mandate includes both a heavy academic component as well as hands-on, studio-based learning. In September 2009, the school launched DFI-related minors in digital media and on-screen media.
OCADU plans to introduce an interdisciplinary major program in fall 2011, where students will be able to specialize in the following areas: Physical, tangible and embedded interactions; screens, performance and games; data visualization; inclusive design; or foresight and innovation.
Langill cites the iPhone and iPad as examples of how computation and technologies have influenced the design community. Technologies have also changed the nature of both art and its audience, she says.
“Over the past 10 years we’ve seen artists engaging much more in new media art practices and using interactive technologies for art, which makes work often much more participatory.”