New technologies have profoundly changed contemporary culture and inevitably altered the role of the arts in society. The Digital Arts and New Media MFA Program (DANM) serves as a center for the development and study of digital media and the cultures that they have helped create.
The DANM MFA Program is a two year program. In the first year, students will generally take three courses each term—one course in each of the program areas, New Praxis, Studies, and Collaborative Research. In the second year, students primarily take elective courses, work with their thesis committees, and pursue independent and directed research leading to the completion of the thesis project and paper.
DANM is a dynamic and highly productive center for artists — graduate students and faculty — who collaborate with scientists, humanists, and engineers from all segments of the university. DANM is a partner within UCSC’s Center for Games and Playable Media, and the graduate level game programs at UCSC have consistently been rated among the top programs in the country.
The DANM program is housed in the new Digital Arts Research Center, a 25,000 square foot building overlooking the Monterey Bay. Our state-of-the-art facilities include a black box theater, technical control booth, gallery, rapid prototyping lab and electronics lab. Students have access to 3D printers, a laser cutter, a CNC milling machine, drill presses, power tools, a fully-equipped electronics workbench, a metal shop, woodshop and digital printing lab. The program owns a vast inventory of technical equipment available for students to borrow. The collection features professional video and audio production equipment, computers, mobile devices, video projectors, an EEG headset, a 3D scanner, a quadcopter, and more.
DANM makes a strong effort to help its students put together the support they need, including guaranteed teaching assistantships for the first year. Additional support may be available in the form of grants and fellowships, graduate student researchships or additional teaching assistantships; some are awarded based on need, others on academic merit. Graduate students are encouraged to apply for both.
The campus is located among redwood forests and meadows overlooking Monterey Bay, along California’s Central Coast in close proximity to Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. Santa Cruz has a well-deserved reputation as a gathering ground for rogue intellectuals, political activists, trailblazing artists, and foodies concerned with sustainability and organics. Like the city of Santa Cruz, UCSC is dedicated to matters of environmental responsibility, social justice, and the value of art.
Prospective students in the Digital Arts and New Media program will have a foundation in the arts with some demonstrated interest in technology or a foundation in technology with demonstrated background in the arts.
Can artistic insight prove itself to be an effective participant in the framing of a scientific hypothesis? Is it possible for art-science collaboration to fulfill the disciplinary criteria of both in a non-trivial manner? This project group aspires to solve real world problems and to produce outcomes of substantial artistic and scientific value in the process.
The Public Record research group will explore the aesthetic, political and ethical dimensions of new and expanded forms of documentary art practice, interactive documentary, and socially engaged art practice. The group will experiment with new methodologies and technologies to generate new kinds of politically and socially productive documents of our situated realities.
From the rise of the New Games movement and the emergence of the role-playing game (in the 1970s) to the current moment’s rise of independent games, art games, documentary games, political games, and more — we are changing who plays, how we play, and what play can mean. This project group invites those who want to invent and explore new play spaces.
DANM brings together a unique group of highly dedicated professional artists and scholars, innovators in the field of digital arts and new media. Our faculty includes professors from disciplines as diverse as Engineering (Computer Science, Computational Media), Science (Physics, Astrophysics, Mathematics,) Humanities (Women’s Studies, Anthropology, Literature), and Arts (Film and Digital Media, Theater Arts, Music, Art, and the History of Art and Visual Culture).
Thesis Project Interviews & Video Documentation