Creatives thinking critically
Curtin’s new Centre for Culture and Technology will promote innovative research and creative practice in new media technologies, informed by developments in critical theory.
The federal government’s recent Excellence in Research for Australia assessment confirmed Curtin’s ‘above or well above world standard’ strengths in the humanities, particularly in the field of cultural studies. The University is consolidating its expertise in that field with emerging research strengths in media and communication, and has established the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT).
The centre is co-directed by Professors Niall Lucy and Mark Balnaves, from Curtin’s School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts.
“We’ve positioned CCAT at the intersections of disciplinary and creative professional boundaries as a portal to cutting-edge research in media, art, culture, theory and new technologies,” Balnaves says.
“One aim is to promote collaboration among Curtin’s leading international researchers within cultural studies, literary studies and communication, to help build unique capabilities in ‘connective media’ - digital media, film and television, and the visual arts.”
One of the centre’s most anticipated initiatives is an immersive environment known as ‘the CAVE’ which will be a, major space for creative projects in multidimensional environments. The CAVE will allow film and video, journalism and other media research students to create new types of narratives for the future media industry.
CCAT will comprise humanities scholars, arts practitioners, industry professionals, and arts organisations and institutions. With such sophisticated infrastructure, including digital rendering and animation laboratories, the centre is expected to attract high-level researchers and creative practitioners.
“We’ll encourage investigations into the relationships between cultural practices and digital technologies through public performance production and environments, Balnaves says.”
“We anticipate the CAVE will be shared with academic areas, such as architecture and design, that can benefit from virtual visual environments.”
CCAT will also host a unique international journal of digital humanities and the arts that showcases curated multimedia works. The journal will provide a scholarly platform for critically exploring the progressions of digital culture, such as the strategic role of social media.
Balnaves has begun CCAT’s research program with the development of the Western Australian Digital Media Archive, in collaboration with the State Library. The new online archive will exhibit historical media materials from key players in WA’s media development.
This article first appeared in R&D Now Winter 2011