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Welcome to the New Arts + Design Initiative Website

Welcome to the new Arts + Design Initiative Website


“Well, Berkeley isn’t exactly known for being an artistic university.”

How many times have I had to hear an assertion like that during my 19 years at this incredibly creative campus?  Every moment of every day, I have had the pleasure of witnessing all kinds energetic and exciting activity.  Student actors rehearse their scenes on the porch below my office. I have taught hundreds of thinkers and makers about art, dance, new media, and theater. Each day, I decide if I have time to catch a noon concert or stop by a campus gallery or observe a design critique. In office hours, students describe artworks that address pressing social issues. As afternoon turns into evening, our campus plazas are taken over by dancers rehearsing their moves. And almost every weekend, I have the chance to take in a world-class performance event.

Not an artistic university?  Really?!

Clearly, there was a communication issue. Indeed, the chance to address the disparity between perception and reality was part of why I agreed to take on a new role as Berkeley’s Associate Vice Chancellor for the Arts + Design over 18 months ago. Today, I'm glad to announce the soft launch of the new Berkeley Arts + Design website. Here we have gathered all of the academic programs, museums, presenting organizations, centers, institutes, and student clubs that activate Berkeley’s tremendous creative culture.  I have seen how such sites function at our peer private and public universities—as orientation for students (and their parents), as sites for information and current news, as vehicles for accessing the arts, for event-planning, and social sharing. You’ll find a site with all of these capacities and more. We’ve sorted across Visual art, Design, Performance, Film and Media, and Literature as well as amongst different types of organizations. Check out News, Events, and our section on Themes to learn more about some of the central topics explored by our creative research culture—whether climate, social equity, S.T.E.A.M., urban design, or curation.  We’re particularly excited about our Made at Berkeley gallery of creative work from our students, alumni, and faculty. You’ll find it showcasing work that crosses disciplinary boundaries and imagines projects that advance our public values. I can’t wait to see what happens when we become used to seeing this creativity in action, across all wings of the campus. 

The creation of this site required its own campus engagement process. It relied upon the ingenuity of our design firm, Project 6, on our dedicated staff, and on the vision of alumni who offered ‘pro-bono’ creative direction.  Meanwhile, we are also indebted to the hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and community members who put time into its creation, advising us on its content, its language, and its user experience at every turn.  Representatives of departments, colleges, centers, presenters, and student groups put incredible energy and insight into its crafting.  We learned a great deal in the process—and everyone learned a great deal about each other.  Indeed, we could already feel internal communication clicking as faculty, curators, and students shared information about programs and projects that other colleagues had never heard of.  

The Arts + Design Initiative has many goals as we work with our colleagues to place creativity at the core of the research, programming, educational, and community mission of UC Berkeley. (Indeed, as we close out the year, join us for the final public dialogues in our Arts + Design Monday series and for our  A +D Instagram tour on Cal Day.)   However, none of these programmatic and educational goals can be achieved without communication (amongst ourselves and to our public) about our creative culture.  UC Berkeley is the site of a robust culture, a dynamic culture, a culture that is brainy, imaginative, and an artistic culture that seeks to change the world. Ours is a culture committed to activating creativity for the greater good. 

Enjoy, relish, cherish.  Fiat Lux and Go Bears!

Shannon Jackson
Associate Vice Chancellor, Arts + Design
Director, Arts Research Center
Hadidi Professor Arts & Humanities



*The Arts + Design Initiative welcomes feedback related to this website. Feedback submitted during this soft launch phase of the site through summer 2017 will be taken into consideration for future fixes and redesigns. To submit feedback please email