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Mission Statement

A description of the Studio for New Media's goals and objectives.

In the 1990s, many people in the digital humanities and/or new media studies discussed ontologies. That is to say, many writers suggested that electronic media had some essential quality that differentiated "new" media from the "old" ones. Of course theorists disagreed as to what exactly that quality was: some suggested it was democracy (Bolter 1991, Krol 1993), while others suggested it was free trade (Negroponte 1995, Mitchell 1996), while still others contended it was about globalized communities of practice (Wenger and Snyder 2000). But a popular trend was to argue that new media should be true to their essence--whatever that might be.

We at the Studio for New Media believe that new media are not determined by simple ontologies, but instead involve significant human aspects, such as culture, history, rhetoric and design.

The mission of the Studio for New Media is to extend and develop both scholarly and popular understanding of new media, by exploring applications of emerging technologies, studying the culturally-situated representations of online practice, and theorizing the relationships between technology and culture. Rather than assuming that technologies contain qualities which then shape culture, the Studio will foster critical study of the dialectical (mutually-constitutive) interaction between cultures and communications technologies.

The Studio for New Media will pursue this mission by facilitating several forms of theoretically-informed practice:

  • interdisciplinary scholarly research into new media, publishing collaborative writings about new findings and methodologies
  • students' extracurricular interactions with advanced new media technologies
  • development of leading-edge new media products, including web sites, web applications, interactive multimedia, user interfaces, instructional designs, audio CDs, CD-ROMs, Blu-Ray and video DVDs, and DVD-ROM solutions
  • funded research into new media development methods and techniques
  • study of the teaching of new media
  • investigation of often-neglected arts and humanities aspects of new media, such as the cultural studies of technology, history of science and technology, and user-centered design

Geoffrey Sauer
Director, Studio for New Media

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