New Media

An image depicting work at the School of Art + Design.
The New Media program offers undergraduate-level study that leads to a BFA degree. Students and faculty work in sound, video, interactive media and web-based platforms to create performances, exhibitions, client-driven applications, and projects in public space. Through research and teaching, the New Media program serves as Illinois' site for practice-based exploration and criticism of new technological forms of art, design, and communication.

In the New Media program, students get acquainted with the newest forms of creation and communication. More importantly, New Media students learn to identify what is or isn't "new" about these technologies. Science and the market will always present new tools and platforms for artists and designers. Instead of blindly consuming every emerging technological platform, New Media practitioners sort through the opportunities and place them in a larger context of sensation, communication, production, and consumption. What possibilities do these forms and tools offer for perceiving the world, representing that world, and relating it to others? How do newer consumer and scientific technologies replicate pre-existing forms of perception and communication rather than investigating and creating new forms?

Students work primarily through practice, building experiences that utilize new and old technologies and narratives. Through the construction of projects in various media, they acquire technical skills, practice vocabularies of critique and analysis, and gain familiarity with historical and contemporary precedents.

Initial courses introduce basic technological and conceptual approaches to digital imaging, interactive media, and time-based applications. Upper-level courses allow students to acquire and practice more specialized knowledge in these forms. The core of undergraduate study in New Media are the Junior and Senior-level Studio courses, where students work with faculty from within and without the New Media program to develop an individually-determined body of work, a portfolio that demonstrates their technical, conceptual and expressive abilities.

New Media study can lead to a wide variety of post-educational pursuits, including art gallery practice, commercial design, non-profit or community media advocacy, or research in corporate and educational contexts. Research by faculty in Illinois' New Media program is representative of this span. Individual faculty experience includes work in screen-based and physical interactive media, performance, publication, curation, exhibition, and activism.

New Media Resources

The New Media program builds on a decade of research and teaching under the Narrative Media moniker, which was recently retired to allow for a broader range of practices. Work in New Media at Illinois is uniquely informed by its location within a University world-renowned for its contributions to scientific advancement and historically-informed criticism of communication technologies.

The School of Art + Design maintains regularly-updated computer labs and an equipment-loan pool equipped for work in sound, video, networked applications, physical interaction, 2-D and 3-D imaging and output. School venues for display and publication include the online Ninth Letter journal, and Krannert Museum's Virtual Reality Canvas.

Regularly Offered Courses

Occasional Courses

New Media curriculum requirements

New Media degree requirements are listed under the College of Fine and Applied Arts on the University of Illinois Programs of Study website.