Digital Arts

Beginning in the 1980s, the use of digital tools and practices have continued to grow and evolve throughout the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University. In 1983 the School of Architecture began its first computer-aided design studio; in 1985 the Center for Art and Technology was founded, to be renamed the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry in 1989 (and Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry in 2012). A new master’s program for Interaction Design was launched by the Department of Design in 1994, with the School of Drama and School of Computer Science collaborating to create the Entertainment Technology Center in 1998.  More recently in 2013, the CFA partnered with the University Libraries and others to establish IDEATE: integrated undergraduate work in digital media, media design, learning media and intelligent environments.

In this tradition, dSHARP defines “digital arts” as anything at the intersection of the digital and the arts, which includes but is not limited to:

  • digital games
  • digital media
  • website design
  • user experience and interface design
  • virtual reality

Within the dSHARP core team, we have particular expertise in data visualization (Emma Slayton and Scott Weingart), and digital games, user experience and website design (Rikk Mulligan).

Our core team also hopes to contribute toward the array of convergent practices growing between scholars in the digital arts and humanities that include:

  • Digital collections and archiving.
  • Geospatial and critical discursive mapping technologies.
  • ‘Big Data,’ social computing, crowdsourcing, and networking.
  • 3D immersive visualization environments.
  • Text encoding.
  • Electronic music and performance.
  • Digital storytelling and publishing.

Events and Education

Undergraduates interest in digital arts should consider the BXA Intercollegiate Degree Program, which is at the intersection of the arts with the humanities, sciences, or computer sciences.

Research and Resources

Exemplar Projects

  • The Virtual St Paul’s Cathedral Project incorporates sound to help visitors experience worship and preaching at St Paul’s Cathedral and in Paul’s Churchyard as events that unfold over time and on particular occasions in London in the early seventeenth century.
  • Manly Images is an experimental web interface for a collection of around 7000 historic images held by the Manly Public Library, in Sydney, Australia.
  • On Multimodal Composing What does composing look like in and across digital, networked spaces and the physical spaces our bodies inhabit as we compose? What does multimodal composing look like as we choreograph alphabetic text, images, sound, video, and more? In this project, the authors take on these questions as they capture and share their composing processes across mediums, platforms, localities, and languages.

Local Partners

  • The Center for the Arts in Society is dedicated to the exploration of society in the arts, including the digital.
  • Entertainment Technology Center is involved in a wide variety of digital scholarship activities, such as the creation of educational games and ETC Press.
  • The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Enquiry is a laboratory for atypical, anti-disciplinary, and inter-institutional research at the intersection of arts, science, technology and culture.
  • IDeATE has a variety of Makerspace technology, including 3-D printers. While prior training is required before being allowed access to their spaces and equipment, such training is offered on a regular basis.

The University of Pittsburgh has the Visual Media Workshop, directed by Alison Langmead (Itinera, Decomposing Bodies) and Constellations.

The Carnegie Museum of Art also occasionally hosts digital projects and events, such as Art Tracks and the 2016 Digital Provenance Symposium.