University of Victoria
Arts, Media, and Technology Project

AMTC Researcher's Report on the Status of the Media & Technology Industry
Summer 1998

An initiative of the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery

This site was developed with funding support from:

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Department of Canadian Heritage

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  • AMTC Research Update - Media and Technology Centres Worldwide
    July 20, 1998

    Although there is a worldwide proliferation of computer- and technology-related research centres, Arts, Media and Technology Centres of the kind envisaged by the University of Victoria are a rarity.

    The melding of pure research, scientific and technological applications, art and expositional science proposed at UVic may in fact be unique. The two most closely related existing projects developed along similar lines to the AMTC are: the ZKM Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, and the Exploratorium in San Francisco, which defines itself as "a museum of science, art and human perception." However, it should be pointed out here that the AMTC at UVic will represent more of a hybridization of the ZKM and Exploratorium concepts.

    Research has accessed media and technology centres internationally. It is important to note that there are many more media/tech. centres "out there", but the majority of them are highly specialized in that they are devoted to specific, often lucrative, areas of research (for example robotics, artifical intelligence, etc.,), and are not concerned with the sort of cross-fertilization proposed at UVic's AMTC facility. In Canada, there are a number of centres devoted to some combination of media and technology interests. In Western Canada, the University of Alberta's RIMS facility is probably the most progressive. The University of MAnitoba is also in the process of developing a media/tech facility.

    In BC, there are 91 facilities which have computer workshops/media centres of some description, although in many cases these are simply computer labs and instructional technology support centres, and tend to be highly compartmentalized rather than broad in scope and direction.

    Clare Sugrue
    AMTC Researcher

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    AMTC Researcher's Report
    Summer 1998

    During the course of the sumer, databases were created for information in the following categories -

    1. Education-media centres-Canadian-(114 entries)

    This database is essentially a survey of Canadian universities, colleges and technical institutes, both private and public, to determine what facilities, courses, and research programs they offer relating to media, technology and computer studies. For the purposes of this survey, which set out to encompass the widest possible range of activities, the term 'media centre' is used rather generically. It includes university and college-based computing facilities of various levels of technological sophistication, and is also commonly applied to audio-visual departments and services, as well as curriculum and resource centres for teaching and educational programs. 'Media centre' also descripes the Banff Centre for the Arts, which in Canada perhaps most closely approaches the cross-fertilization of arts and technology envisaged for the University of Victoria.

    In terms of computer-related training, Carleton recently became the first Canadian university to offer an undergraduate program in Communications Engineering, a brand new discipline of engineering, while the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) is gaining recognition for its Centres of Applied Technology, developed in partnership with industry.

    Further exploration of some sites is required, but in general terms, the data provided should give a reliable, up-to-date reading of other centres' present and projected activities.

    2. Education-media centres-BC-(98 entries)

    This database surveys educational institutions in BC, both public and private, to determine what facilities/courses/research programs they offer in the areas of media, technology and computer studies. It was originally prepared for a meeting with the Minister of Advanced Education, Andrew Petter, and is quite comprehensive.

    Recently it has been expanded to include emerging facilities and programs, for example film schools and computer animation studios, etc. In the fall of 1999, for example, the Emily Carr Institute will merge two departments, Film/Video and Intermedia, into a new department called Integrated Media.

    In British Columbia, BCIT continues to develop specialized research facilities and expertise at its Technology Centre, while here in Victoria the ideacentre, a division of Camosun College, assists business and industry in the commercialization of technology.

    3. Worldwide Media and Technology Centres-(204 entries)

    This database is set up to provide a 'snapshot' view of projects worldwide which in some way explore themes similar to those proposed for the AMTC Centre. It is important to note that there are many media and technology centres in existence, but many are highly specialized in that they are devoted to specific, often lucrative, areas of research (for example robotics, artificial intelligence, etc.,), and are not concerned with the sort of cross-fertilization proposed for UVic's facility.

    Perhaps the most interesting European example of the potential for such a concept is the ZDK Centre at Karlsruhe, Germany, which continues to implement quirky, innovative projects with a techno-arts component. Middlesex University's Centre for Electronic Arts is a leading innovator in the field of postgraduate education in the understanding and application of computing to media and the arts, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory, under the direction of Nicholas Negroponte, continues its pioneering exploration of the ways in which electronic information overlaps with the everyday physical world.

    4. Potential Corporate Sponsors-(225 entries)

    This database has been considerably expanded and updated from its original content. Most recently, additions have been made to reflect the growing number of infotech companies operating on Vancouver Island.

    As its name suggests, the database will furnish the AMTC committee with a source of contact names and company information which should prove useful when seeking sponsors for the forthcoming conference and/or the AMTC project itself. Hard copy files are also being kept on selected companies.

    5. UVic Multimedia Contacts-(57 entries)
    6. Campus Contacts-Addresses

    The above databases are parts I and II of a campus-wide survey to ascertain which departments/faculties/individuals at UVic are involved in multimedia projects of various descriptions. It is primarily intended as the basis for the AMTC web site's written content, but also provides an interesting overview of the number and variety of projects ongoing on campus. UVic instructors and staff are developing software programs and packages, experimenting with the World Wide Web as a learning resource, and taking new approaches to old and emerging technologies.

    7. Raw Contacts File-(50 entries)

    This database is the equivalent of a 'miscellaneous' file, a repository for any information, contacts and leads which might prove useful in future, but are presently difficult to categorize. Business cards are an excellent source of raw contacts.

    8. Speakers File-(9 entries)

    These are potential speakers and/or individuals who have spoken at other recent conferences. Wherever possible, I have tried to obtain short biographies of these speakers and information on their publication credits, etc.,.

    9. AMTC Conference Contacts-(50 entries)

    Anybody and everybody who may be interested in attending the AMTC conference in February '99, or can help facilitate it. Infinitely adaptable as a mailing list, (as are all of the databases listed).

    10. Education Contacts-(19 entries)

    Again, self-explanatory - potentially useful contacts in the field of education (including government education contacts), and AMTC-related organizations with an educational basis.

    11. Government (Provincial)-(33 entries)

    Government officials, (all levels) - who, what and where they are and how to get in touch with them.

    Clare Sugrue
    AMTC Researcher

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