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Berkeley Arts + Design Funds 14 Creative Discovery Courses

Berkeley Arts + Design is pleased to announce the fall 2018 awardees of the newly launched Creative Discovery Grants. The grants are aligned with the core values of Berkeley Discovery, which represent the most transformative forms of scholarly and experiential learning, and which powerfully express what it means to receive an education at a major public research university in the 21st century.


Creative Discovery experiences require students to face challenges of conceptualization, design, planning, and implementation; build new, and hone existing, creative skills; and participate in structured reflection throughout the act of creation. In its inaugural competition, 14 grants of up to $5,000 were awarded on a competitive basis to faculty to develop new courses or enhance existing undergraduate courses with innovative creative pedagogy and opportunities for reflective making and producing.


As this small sample of successful applications shows, grants and projects cover the entire gamut of creative genres at Berkeley, exploring visual arts, design, film & media, performing arts, and literature and imagining often new and exciting forms.


Under the auspices of Farley Gwaza and Art Practice Department Chair, Allan deSouza, a Creative Discovery grant will enhance the Worth Ryder Art Gallery Student Internship Program. Funds will be used to create a new, one-unit extension in which students will research, design, source, and install a “DIY Art Library” in the gallery. This non-lending library will be semi-permanently installed in the gallery, which is open to the public and staffed by interns. Students and community members will be able to view the materials in the gallery space and have opportunities to engage in visual arts research.


In Game Design Methods, students will work with Oculus Go to explore design methods and question the political aesthetics of VR. Building on earlier explorations of VR and AR games, Greg Niemeyer’s grant will give students access to individual VR modules, which will increase capacity-building for VR and STEAM at UC Berkeley, and cuts across disciples by enhancing efforts in Digital Humanities and Cultural Criticism. The semester-long design course will be capped off by student presentations of newly-developed games.


Professor Campion’s award will support the evolution of his long-standing music and technology course 158B. Created in 2013 and funded by the Digital Humanities at Berkeley, Music 158B is a maker course involving DIY music instrument design, computer coding, music composition and performance. Thanks to the Creative Discovery Grant, a live video-processing module will be included in the end of semester public performance/installation where students combine their individual projects in a collective action featuring several live video feeds—questioning the boundaries of music, film, and media in a highly collaborative and collective performance.


In a multi-unit collaborative project, professors from the departments of Classics, TDPS, Rhetoric, Linguistics, and Ethnic Studies will collaborate with the Hearst Museum to produce a staged reading of  Beth Piatote’s Antikoni, a modern adaptation of the Greek tragedy, Antigone. The grant will support the staging of professor Piatote’s play, which features an all-Native American cast and is set in a museum. Through a contemporary perspective on the performing arts, the play addresses the issue of indigenous human remains held by museums and poses complex ethical questions. Three free performances will take place on November 6 and 7, 2018..


In another interdisciplinary exploration, students in Sophie Volpp’s Comparative Literature 190 will make their own zines, blending the fields of literature, visual arts, making and theory. Students will be introduced to zinemaking by brand new UC Berkeley Professor Kenyatta Hinkle and Esther Pearl Watson, author of the graphic trilogy Unloveable. The four-week unit, supported by a Discovery grant, will act as pilot for a semester-long course on graphic memoirs that would combine analysis of graphic memoirs with autobiographical zine-making.


A full list of awardees is available here. Keep an eye out for the call for spring 2019 applications—available online later this fall.


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