Our location within a major research university provides an intellectual context quite different from that found at private art schools.  Faculty and students engage with a diverse range of research methodologies and disciplinary specializations, regularly collaborating with colleagues across the performing and literary arts, social sciences, cognitive sciences, engineering, and urban studies, as well as with practitioners in the larger regional community.  Students explore new disciplinary methods and often complement individual research with collaborative and public outreach projects. They are encouraged to push the boundaries of their chosen medium and to reach across media-specific boundaries into new forms of scholarly and artistic pursuit.  

While our program is known for our unique concentration of faculty concerned with the production, criticism, and analysis of contemporary art, we are also understood as a nexus for innovative research that bridges artistic practice with forms of intellectual inquiry and creative production in the sciences and humanities.  We encourage unique combinations of studio, media, and performative practices along with unique forms of scholarship that combine traditional print-based forms with multi-modal or practice-based components.  We encourage combinatory forms that link the studio, the library, and the laboratory, on-site work and in-field work.

At the new Structural and Materials Engineering (SME) building, we now maintain an entirely new complex of facilities and research centers.  The organizing influence of this complex is the Bauhaus, the most influential modernist art school of the 20th century, one whose approach to teaching, and understanding art's relationship to society and technology, had a major impact in Europe and the United States.  The Bauhaus was shaped by 19th and early 20th century trends which had sought a reconciliation of the fine arts and the applied arts -- to reunite creativity and manufacturing,  aesthetics and functionality.  Following in the path of this school, one of our main objectives is to bring together visual arts, design, and engineering -- engaging in dialogue and collaboration with researchers working in nanotechnology, materials science, computer visualization, sensing, and structural engineering, exploring the interplay between design and fabrication methods, material forms, applied sciences, and cultural practices.  

The Visual Arts + Engineering Complex encompasses most of our facilities on the 1st and 2nd floor of the SME building.  It includes a Gallery, Fabrication Lab, 4 Research/Production Studios, 1 Residency Studio, and 6 Graduate Studios.  This is a complete complex for research, production, and presentation, bringing together faculty and student work, as well as residencies, in a complete environment for new generation thinking about material art practices, including experimental drawing, painting, and sculpture, and advanced structures and materials.  The key element of this complex is a Fabrication Lab equipped with an advanced Robotic Milling System whose specialized tooling and software systems allow the full-scale design and production of complex, 3-dimensional forms.  Through this endeavor we aim to take a leading role in the revolution that is occurring in approach to materials.  This revolution is led in part by technologies of rapid prototyping and 3d printing, as well as those of embedded computing -- leading to an understanding that computational processes do not stand outside of materials, but directly intervene in them, to the extent that we can now speak of the "computing of materials." It is also led by debates in the visual arts, humanities, and social sciences around new theories and philosophies of materiality:  frameworks that consider material agency as the effect of ad hoc configurations of human and nonhuman forces, in ways that challenge conventional ontological categories.  Sponsorship includes  Visual Arts and Engineering Collaboration Production Fund (Provides seed money for collaborative research, residencies, exhibitions, outreach events, and other means of forging new collaborations between engineering and the visual arts); Fabrication Lab (Fund for outfitting Lab to advance innovations in artistic sculpture by faculty and students using advanced robotic equipment, laser cutters, and 3D printers); 6 Graduate Fellowships; and a Residency Fellowship.

For more information regarding these opportunities, please contact Michele Palma, Director of Development, at (858) 534-9043 or mipalma@ucsd.edu.