Message to Alumni: The Latest from the Dean's Office

Dear Colleagues,

MakerThinkerProfessor Sharon Sliwinski and I take great pleasure in introducing you to FIMS’ new “maker-thinker” project. We invite you to start at, our Instagram-styled website which takes you to a range of projects by faculty and current students who draw upon theory, research and multi-modality to come to know the world differently. What do I mean by “multimodality”? The many ways of making and expressing meaning available to us as human beings, including classical practices in scholarly writing (books, articles) but also including games, video, music, movement, and data—big data. We used to collect questionnaire responses in the hundreds, and we still do. But we also collect tweets by the millions, plotting them on graphic sweeps whose dot-matrix density reminds me of a flock of migrating birds crossing the 401 at low altitude. We’re learning to think in new ways. We’re also interested in the range of media and communication approaches you use and how they’re connected to your time at FIMS. Does this question interest you? Might you consider a visit to FIMS to workshop a media or communication skill for current students?

At the heart of the makerthinker project is a desire to foster students’ creativity. There is no doubt that the next generation will face a host of challenges. We want our students to be able to think critically about the world in which we live, but we also want to strengthen their capacity to intervene in the communities and lifeworlds they inhabit. This creative approach to living depends, in part, on the richness of the relationship between the individual and the environment. We are actively working to enrich the FIMS environment – through the wonderful workspaces afforded by our new building as well as the diverse range of speakers and materials offered in our programs and virtual forums. We want FIMS to serve as a space of potential, and play – an environment in which students feel confident to discover, experience, and interact with the world in creative ways.

Making Matters Series PosterOne of the big pieces of our maker-thinker project is our 2019-20 speakers series “Making Matters” ( Making Matters explores knowledge and expression in a range of forms, from song, birdcalls and language, to buildings, web series and zines. When people make things, something happens. Think of your experiences of making things for the first time as a child. A cake? A paper airplane? A vinegar-and-baking soda volcano in the sink? (If you haven’t tried it we recommend it.) Our five guests bring multidisciplinary expertise and deep practice to making and the study of making in the present and past, along with their recognition of the transformative power of making. They help us understand how we and others come to know our worlds and how we might make them anew. Please check out our guests and their beautiful projects, and consider attending if you’re nearby. All events are free and open to the public.

Back to you, our alumni. Another wonderful opportunity to visit is Homecoming ‘19, 1-3 p.m., October 19 at the FIMS & Nursing Building on campus. We’ll welcome a beautiful panel of FIMS alum in media arts. Join writer, editor, and digital journalist Angela Misri, now at The Walrus, graphics director for the New York Times opinion section Stuart Thompson, international electronic music composer and performer Kara-Lis Coverdale, and visual artist and Vice media producer Ryan Louis. All of them are first-rate makers and thinkers whose conversation will animate our future at FIMS.

Welcome everyone.

Lisa Henderson, Dean
Sharon Sliwinski, Associate Dean

Lisa Henderson  Sharon Sliwinski