RIT set to host the a2ru 2024 national conference in November

The national conference is open to educators from colleges and universities across the country

Elizabeth Lamark

Malcolm Zale, a recent graduate from RIT’s motion picture science program, demonstrates real-time motion capture at the university’s virtual production set. This type of work is just one example of the scholarship a2ru is seeking to highlight during the national conference.

RIT is set to welcome researchers and educators from across the U.S. and North and South America during the 2024 a2ru national conference. The conference will take place Nov. 14-16, and session proposals are being accepted online with a deadline of March 15 to submit.

The national conference will follow the theme “Generate | Integrate: Technology, the Arts & Design” and will encourage attendees to celebrate and explore the role of technology within the arts and design fields. RIT’s dedication to the Technology, the Arts, and Design (TAD) initiative—which emphasizes the meaningful partnership of diverse ways of thinking, exploring, and making to address complex contemporary problems, advance knowledge, and pursue joy and wonder—inspired the conference theme.

RIT President David Munson’s longstanding relationship with a2ru, paired with RIT’s robust, interdisciplinary educational offerings, makes the university an ideal venue for a conference of this nature.

“Having been one of the founders of a2ru during my time at the University of Michigan, it is an honor and delight for RIT to serve as the host university for this year’s national conference,” said Munson. “The conference will bring together creative researchers and practitioners from across the country who are passionate about integration of the arts, sciences, and other disciplines. We look forward to the ideas and conversations that will be shared on campus in November. As a special treat, attendees will experience the SHED, which is a physical manifestation of the profound connection between STEM fields and the Arts."

More from a2ru

RIT is also hosting the a2ru student summit in March 2024. Read this article or go to the a2ru website for information about how to get involved.

As the arts and higher education wrestle with the rapid emergence of generative AI and immersive technologies, and their potentially seismic impacts on education, research, and creative practice, the conference will prompt attendees to take a more historicized, holistic, and complex look at these issues in order to chart a collective way forward.

The conference organizers are seeking proposals for workshops, presentations, panels, and art and poster gallery displays. Proposals can pursue thematic questions such as, but not limited to: How might historical technologies, or historical understandings of and attitudes toward technology, shape contemporary arts and design practices? How can the arts and design communities productively intervene in the continued development of generative AI and immersive (e.g. AR/VR) technologies? How are emerging technologies making the arts and design more accessible for both makers and audiences?

RIT’s College of Art and Design is spearheading the coordination of the conference. Dean Todd Jokl looks forward to hearing others’ varied perspectives related to the conference’s theme and the increasing roles advanced technologies are playing in the arts disciplines.

 “The trend of the past few decades is accelerating even more abruptly as artists, designers, performers, and creatives more broadly are integrating and innovating through their creations in the fields where technology, the arts, and design intersect,” said Jokl. “Increasingly, the creative technologists have emerged as an important and driving force in furthering the arts, design, industry, and research in the academic settings where faculty, students, and curriculum are cross-pollinating between a multitude of disciplines.”

The a2ru national conference is an opportunity for practitioners and researchers from across higher education to share innovations and perspectives in the arts. A2ru’s work, in partnership with an international network of leading higher education institutions, allies, and partners, envisions a world in which universities—students, faculty, and leaders—explore, embed, and integrate the arts in everyday practice and research.

“RIT's faculty make vital contributions to a2ru events, research, and publications, and President Munson has been an invaluable champion of arts-integrated and interdisciplinary teaching, research, and practice. We look forward to gathering our international network in Rochester to share ideas, foster new collaborations, and to highlight RIT's innovative work across technology, the arts and design,” said a2ru Executive Director Maryrose Flanigan.

More detailed proposal submission information can be found on the a2ru conference website. Registration information and other details will be available in the coming months on the webpage.

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