BUFFALO, NY. -- The realms in which creativity and information
technologies meet are dynamic areas of research. They depend,
however, on new kinds of creative collaboration to provoke a
greater understanding of our world, generate jobs, produce revenue
and improve quality of life.
To encourage the development of the creative economy of this
region and to establish the University at Buffalo as a leader in
this field, the university has established the Techne Institute for
Arts and Emerging Technologies.
The institute is supported by the 3E Fund, instituted by UB
President Satish Tripathi last fall and now directed by Provost
Charles Zukoski. The fund aims to spur collaborative,
transformational initiatives that will increase research strength
across the disciplines, enhance the educational experience of UB
students and expand the university's impact.
UB's 3E Fund uses new revenue generated by the NYSUNY 2020 bill,
signed into law by Gov. Cuomo last year, to invest in
interdisciplinary initiatives that advance UB's academic
The Techne Institute, one of those initiatives, was founded by
Sarah Bay-Cheng, UB associate professor of theatre and dance, who
serves as its director.
Bay-Cheng points out that the institute is grounded in the fact
that, throughout the world, rapidly accelerating creative economies
fueled by originality, innovation and resourcefulness are
transforming the sciences and arts in ways that produce exciting
"Our role is to foster creative projects and research that
critically examine the connections across the disciplines of art,
science and technology," she says.
"Some may think of aesthetics as peripheral to the aims of a
major research university," she says, "but we cannot separate
artistic creation from the university's core mission, which is to
develop new knowledge.
"Creative practices," she explains, "have been central to the
evolution of new, and especially digital, technologies, and these
in turn inform the work of visual and performing artists in every
She acknowledges that new applications of scientific knowledge
provoke exceptionally rapid and sometimes disorienting changes in
"Those who explore and examine both technologies and the changes
they provoke help us respond critically to new and dynamic
environments," she says, adding that many pioneering
interdisciplinary artists at UB work to challenge assumptions about
what we know or think we know.
As a result, she says, UB is at the forefront of such
explorations and has the elements necessary to become a leading
institution in this field.
Laura McGeough, Techne's administrator and grants manager,
outlines the institute's ambitious program for the development of
artist residencies and new sources of funding, support for new and
ongoing faculty work and pursuit of resources that will enhance and
expand graduate education in the arts.
"This is our inaugural semester," she says, "but already we are
providing much-needed information on cultural funding sources and
grant writing, and are soliciting project proposals from faculty
Bay-Cheng adds that part of the institute's mission is to
promote national and international awareness of UB's impact in this
area, and it will be "pushing our faculty members' work to the
forefront of public attention."
On Nov. 10, Techne will host its first event, a Mobile Media
Colloquium to explore connections among mobile technologies -- such
as cell phones and wireless devices -- ubiquitous or pervasive
computing (e.g., Twitter) and the arts. Among the presenters will
be major artists noted throughout the world for their work with
such new technologies as surveillance practices, wearable media and
locative systems across digital platforms of mobile technology.