sponsor media design program
Selected Sponsored Partnerships

Spring 2008 From Hi-fi to Lo-fi: Sharing digital stories in the developing world

This project addresses the multi-faceted design challenges of UNICEF’s Story-Sharing Software Project (SSSP). The primary objective will be to develop tools, techniques, and formats for digital story sharing in low bandwidth environments.

January 2007 - February 2008 IMPACT: web tools to educate teens about futures in design and the arts
FUNDED RESEARCH INITIATIVE: Ford Foundation and Irvine Foundation
IMPACT’S overall goal is to aid teens to reach their vision of the future. Rather than have them begin with selecting a school or a “major," the web tools of IMPACT enable teens to develop a personal perspective about social significance within the communities and issues that surround them. IMPACT introduces young people to the power of design within multiple disciplines and gets them to consider the visual arts as a vehicle with which to make their impact.

December 2007 Real-time feeds in the domestic sphere

Students in the Media Design Program are studying real-time web cams and data feeds that broadcast unscripted content throughout the day into the family home. Our research intends to better understand the qualities of real-time media that have “staying power” and that impact the dialogue and dynamics of a family. Chumby International provided 6 Chumbys to the Media Design Program to use in 4 family homes as part of their study. The MDP provided feedback to Chumby International about how their devices were used by both MDP students and the study participants.

Summer 2007 Acura Oracles multi-touch experiments
ALPHA EXPERIMENTATION: George P. Johnson and Acura

George P. Johnson and Acura loaned an interactive multi-touch table to the Media Design Program for use in Phil van Allen’s Interactive Objects and Spaces course. Students were encouraged to “play” with the device to see what they could come up with. Acura and GPJ were given a first-look at the results. The partnership led to an MDP intern at George P. Johnson who applied his experimetation in the context of the Detroit Auto Show.

January 2007 - May 2008 May 2008 Living Profiles
FUNDED RESEARCH INITIATIVE: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Living Profiles is an 18-month research project to prototype the personal health record of the future. Living Profiles explores ways to empower teens with chronic health conditions to better manage their own health and well-being during transition from pediatric care to adult medicine. The research has led to a combination of real-time streaming data tools, ambient technology, and an interface that aggregates data into a teen-specific Quality-of-Life Timeline.

Fall 2004 Tweens: Technology, Agency, and Engagement
SPONSORED RESEARCH STUDIO: Hewlett-Packard’s Consumer Applications Lab

Media Design students studied the media habits, everyday experiences, and values of American tweens (ages 11–14) in order to understand the role of technology in their lives. Using a unique form of design-driven human-centered research, MDP students generated interpretive tools that were used in brainstorming sessions at Hewlett-Packard. HP went on to recreate the study at a national level in order to develop new products for this emerging community of users.

There are a variety of ways to engage in research with the Media Design Program, three of which are outlined below:

Alpha Experimentation
MDP students and faculty work with alpha version technologies to discover new uses, provide feedback, and inspire companies to think differently about what they are developing. This level of sponsorship ranges from simply loaning devices to the MDP, to a fully-funded, directed exploration.

Sponsored Research Studio
MDP faculty run an elective course whose goals are defined in collaboration with a research sponsor. Sponsors benefit by having graduate students engage with an issue or problem which can lead to a range of potential outcomes. This option can also be run as a transdisciplinary studio drawing students from all Art Center majors.

Funded Research Initiatives
The Media Design Program runs faculty-led multi-year projects that explore more complex research questions in depth. MDP Faculty members serve as Principal Investigators who put together research teams comprised of students, alumni, academics, and professionals, as needed.

If you are interested in partnering with the Media Design Program, please contact MDP Chair, Anne Burdick. burdick (at) artcenter.edu.