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New Media Research Fellowship

New Media Research Fellowship

Applications for Summer 2022 are closed.

The Berkeley Center for New Media offers a variety of fellowships for its doctoral and certificate students. The Summer Research fellowship is awarded annually to five candidates.

Summer Research Fellowship

Applications for Summer 2022 are now closed.

This year projects that focus on women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Global South, ability diverse, and socioeconomically disadvantaged peoples as makers and users of new media will be prioritized. If relevant, please explain how your project foregrounds one or more of these communities.

Interested in other BCNM resources? Check out all the graduate opportunities here!

2022

View the recipients here.

William Morgan

William Morgan's research deploys the framework of cybernetics in order to highlight how these hidden aspects of digital capitalism function in a global system. Understanding cybernetics as a “reconfiguration of metaphysics on behalf of technics” per Luciana Parisi, William examines in his dissertation three scenes of this cybernetic reconfiguration of sense: e-waste, epigenetics, and geopolitics. This summer, he will be working particularly on the third chapter, visiting archives at Harvard University, traveling to Chile to research Cybersyn, and presenting a paper on the topic at the University of Indiana.

Lani Alden

Lani Alden studies transgender subjects on stage in kabuki and will be purchasing fan magazines of kabuki to support their research. Lani's research questions what happens when the transgender body moves from being portrayed through artistic portrayals (primarily via ukiyo-e print) to a quasi-representational form like the photograph. Lani intends to destructively scan these magazines and then use optical character recognition to place the information in a database. This will enable Lani to dynamically find and locate passages related to the transgender subjects on the kabuki stage (the onnagata) and perform natural language processing techniques to see how they are discussed in relation to photography in comparison to older forms of media representation.

Haripriya Sathyanarayanan

Immersive Virtual Environments for Co-Designing Supportive Pediatric Healthcare Spaces: The research uses New Media (Virtual Reality integrated with biosensors) as a tool for collaboration and engagement with the vulnerable pediatric hospitalized population with very specific needs. The patients’ voice is much needed in design mock-ups, simulation, and feedback to meet functional and emotional affordances, and address diversity and equity. The expected outcomes of the research are knowledge on perspectives of hospitalized children to capture their uniquely different perspectives and preferences on design, physiological response to stimuli from room design elements in real-time, and opportunity to create solutions that resonate equitably with children of all age groups. This research engages directly with children on spatial design and a supportive hospital environment filling critical gaps on children’s potential to serve as agents of architectural knowledge.

Fei Pan

Pan will revisit their research and previous work done in sculptural form in 2021, where she did document studies and on-site field research about the historical process of landmarking and shifting sand in south-east Asia. The purpose of the project is to bring awareness to the post-colonial and socioeconomic sides of natural and biological elements. It also further questions how we think of landscape as constructed, artificial geographic regions. She will extend the study and explore new methods of making art through new media and archival documents. In this way, she hopes to overcome physical obstacles and keep telling forgotten stories.

Rebecca Levitan

Rebecca's digital project fits into her larger study of ancient sculpture, bringing methodologies into the 21st century through the application of New Media. Artists on the Cycladic island of Naxos were the pioneers of monumental stone sculpture in Archaic Greece. Naxos is also home to several rich deposits of a coarse-grained sparkling marble and is the only source of the abrasive emery in the Aegean. Despite being one of the most renowned centers of sculptural production and marble extraction in the Greek world, the landscapes and archaeology of Archaic Naxos are comparatively unstudied, with many questions about the quarrying and sculpting industry on the island and its socio-political implications unanswered. Rebecca's project seeks to redress this imbalance by revisiting the island’s sites of Archaic marble extraction and their remarkable output, situating quarries and kouroi within the broader context of the Archaic Naxian landscape, economy, and artistic production. Her project combines two methodologies: traditional sculptural examination (including close observation, analog drawing and comparison) with the newest techniques in landscape survey and digital recording (including precision 3D modeling, high resolution topographic survey, and geological modeling).

Kevin Lo

Kevin Lo will be performing on a platform that enables integration of audience GPS and phone data (accelerometer, touch data) into performative and installation-based projects. This data will be maximally customizable and scalable for implementation in various projects, particularly those which emphasize participation. Given the persistent necessity of networked virtual events, his project will also benefit remote collaboration across time zones. This method of data integration had an opening salvo of tests via the integration of phone data for DROUGHT SPA's telematic work, Return the Eye (2020-2021). The coding of this was specific to that project, and cannot be extended to future works. Work on this platform over the summer will include a full reworking of that code, adding GPS; it would be organized in a mode that exposes data not only to the central server, but to participants as well. Building in a way for individual participants to see the data will allow for more flexibility and further potentials for projects, as this will enable folks to gain immediate feedback of the experience as a whole, as well as an awareness of others around them. In the context of locative media, this presents the phone or device as an extension of the body and its orientations. By moving the phone in XYZ space, participants interact touchlessly with the work, engaging their bodily autonomy. Aims of this are to be able to map infrastructural objects to virtual space, or engage in a purely virtual mapping, similar to how VR decouples virtual objects from reality.

Irma Barbosa

Irma and their sister Celeste are collaborating on a video/ experimental film project inspired by their grandmother's goat farm and home in the San Fernando Valley called "A recipe for remembering." Drawn by the processes of preservation, invisible labor, and the resilience it takes to prepare her delicious birria dish, as well as the consumption of it, they have been documenting and learning from her process. Birria immigrated with their family to the states and has been made to celebrate their culture and family for decades. In the first half of this project, Irma and her sister have closely documented their grandmother's caring gestures as well as her instruction on how to make her birria. Now they will visit their grandmother's home in Mexico and continue the documentation process. Through photography, experimental video, sculpture, performance, and installation they are exploring the animal-human interdependent connection as well as the poetic nature of recipes and their appeal to be remembered and passed down from generation to generation, across borders.

Amanda Barnett

Water resource management and environmental conservation are modes of asserting authority in the political ecology of settler-colonial ownership over Native lands. This study asks how watershed planning documents betray the unpolitical nature of environmental sciences. Amanda aims to explore ways to build on existing research this summer using community-based participatory research (CBPR) to develop a more inclusive approach to knowledge creation. In particular, framing communication in terms of accessibility using new media to co-create new knowledge will restructure normative power dynamics between the actors involved (myself included). Participatory research that subverts extractive relationships and paternalistic research practices needs to use new media to be both adaptive and to builds trust, ownership of data, and social justice actions. The next phase of study involves CBPR that works with community on the ground to develop a braided understanding of both the theoretical and academic with the lived expertise. Development of such CBPR practices will be first co-written with, by, and for community, and research design in the forms of representational new media will be developed collaboratively. Works might include podcasts, online tools for defining, deciding, and owning data, or public works and exhibits, just to name a few. Comics and graphically illustrated online and analog works are also potentially part of the process, depending on how communication and knowledge creation and dissemination is identified.

2021

View the recipients here.

Rachel Chen

This summer Rachel will be conducting a design-based research (DBR) study with an embodied design technological platform being developed for non-speaking students in Special Education. Although participation in social interaction is possible for many people, it is not readily accessible to students who do not use conventional speech. Autistic learners, especially those who are non-speaking, often realize their desire to communicate through non-dominant sensory modalities, attunements, and practices. How then can we design for inclusive social participation of students with diverse interactional modalities? By using the body as a conduit through which interaction can happen, we can reclaim one of the basic modalities of communication: touch. The platform at the center of her project—the Magical Musical Mat (MMM)—amplifies physical touch between people through sound. When participants step onto their respective floormats and then establish skin contact with one another, they close and thus activate an electronic circuit that triggers musical sounds. As participants co-produce different types of touch-based gestures, such as holding hands, striking “high fives,” or performing gentle taps, capacitive sensors on the mat detect resistance changes between their bodies.

Erica Deeman

As a queer British-Jamaican, Erica asks: is there space where they can be their authentic self on this land, in mind and body? Is their hesitation to visit Jamaica owing to their queer status itself a form of colonial legacy? Erica's work will focus on their growing practice in their garden in Washington, growing fruit and vegetables that connect to their ancestral homes, diasporic and indigenous peoples. Erica will also create hybrid physical spaces that connect land, spiritual practices, and culture to their current place. This hybrid place will incorporate tests in painting, ceramics, 3D printing, and virtual space. Erica will also learn how to create virtual worlds that can transcend physical boundaries.

Edgar Fabián Frias

Edgar is creating a new media project that incorporates a billboard and video that honors our queer ancestors. For this project, Edgar will imbue their work with our ancestor’s energies of resistance, liberation, illumination, and radical change. To support this work, their research will center on the resistance strategies of the Wixáritari people in Mexico, who have successfully challenged the mining of sacred lands by both national and international corporations using ritual, ceremony, and creative practice. Edgar will also be reaching out to one or two LGBTQ+ Wixáritari YouTubers for informal dialogues and conversations around these themes. In addition to this, Edgar is hoping to also interview one or two LGBTQ+ creatives who are also working with queer ancestors as a part of this project. Their hope is that this research and these conversations will help inspire and expand upon the artwork created for the billboard to exist virtually via documentation of its existence.

Julia Irwin

This summer, Julia will conduct research on the work of industrial psychologist and writer Dr. Lillian Moller Gilbreth who with her husband, Frank B. Gilbreth, produced hundreds of industrial films and advanced experimental film exhibition practices to train factory laborers in the 1910s. Lillian Gilbreth is recognized in the field of industrial psychology as a seminal figure in the subdiscipline of ergonomics—design practices that consider physiological and psychological needs in order to improve productivity in workspaces. What remains unstudied, however, is how Lillian Gilbreth translated ideas from philosophy and the burgeoning field of psychology into an empirical, new media program for industrialists to engineer factory-compatible behavior among laborers. Central to this prescribed methodology was the exploitation of cinema’s unique relationship to sensory stimulation and the imagination. By reorganizing a worker’s visual and haptic sensorial experience, it was thought that his or her individuated cognitive processing could be reduced, nervous system steadied, and motor activity automated. Julia's project seeks to canonize Lillian Gilbreth as an early theorist of interactive media spectatorship.

Halal Kaddoura

On Her Soil: I Breathe, Weep and Fall In Love All Over Again With Her is a sequel to Searching for Her, which was exhibited remotely in Spring 20201 as part of the First Year MFA show in Art Practice. From searching for the love of her life along the coastlines of Lebanon, the artist crosses borders and exiles in the hope to physically feel the love of her life. Along the coastline of Jaffa, the artist continues to search for her lover’s soul—sensing, touching, and feeling with the hope to gently kiss her lips. Guided by her sounds, her waters, her soil, the artist lingers, weeps, and falls in love all over again with her. The original project Searching for Her is comprised of video, poetry, film photographs, and virtual space.

Tonya Nguyen

Mutual aid groups increasingly rely on online infrastructure to carry out their operations. However, mutual aid groups suffer from burnout, dominance behaviors, and failures to address intersectional power structures. To address these problems, past groups have customized their own networked infrastructures as a form of political participation. This includes an array of innovative structures including Zoom calls, ICE-raid hotlines, and automated systems for volunteer reimbursements. However, the best strategies and design implications for mutual aid and other systems of care remain unclear and understudied. Tonya plans to explore how mutual aid technologies and infrastructures are designed, built, and maintained.

Rashad Timmons

Rashad's research interrogates the role of infrastructure in the production of racial blackness and enforcement of black suffering. Tracing the reconfiguration of chattel slavery’s imperative to enumerate, displace, and constrain the captive body, Rashad examines how the state works through infrastructure to develop ideas about, devalue, and discipline black life in postbellum and contemporary urban landscapes. Rashad's work contends that infrastructures visibly organize the felt intensities of racial experience and are palpable features of black ordinary and spectacular suffering. Furthermore, as modes of statecraft, infrastructures routinely dispense regulatory power that concretizes race’s lived materiality and produces black life as violable. Rashad's dissertation project asks then: what might we uncover by taking infrastructure seriously as an element of everyday black suffering? Further, how might this attention to infrastructure broaden our understanding of the quotidian dimensions of state power and black political practice? Using “traffic” as an expansive analytic to connote the complex systems undergirding urban life and the mediation of racial discourse, Rashad investigate how these variable infrastructures (e.g., roads and railways: vehicular traffic; pipelines: waste management and energy traffic; cables: telecommunications and data traffic) are complicit in discursive and corporeal antiblack injury.

2020

View the recipients here.

Haripriya Sathyanarayanan

Priya is a third year PhD student in Architecture (Building Science & Sustainability) whose research focus is on Patient-Centric Design and Spatial Perception. Healthcare experiences of a patient are largely driven by clinical outcomes, their interactions with healthcare providers, and their perceptions of care. An emerging trend in healthcare design and delivery is the new way of listening to all stakeholders in a healthcare system including clinicians and patients, also known as ‘human centered design’. The research adopts a mixed methods approach using immersive technology for collaborative design of patient spaces in a paediatric setting for enhanced patient experience. The research builds on the significant role of the built environment on patient/staff experience, stress and healing process, and the need for user engagement in the process of co-creating solutions through an evidence-based design approach. This summer Priya will continue qualitative studies with key stakeholders in healthcare settings such as patients and family, professionals from healthcare design and research, while also preparing for a pilot study in a non-healthcare setting to test VR prototypes she has been developing for field studies in the future.

Chris Chan

Positioned as both a former urban designer and a participant observer, Chris' project aims to explore from within the design process a series of artistic urban interventions to the transformations of a contemporary urban space. This summer fieldwork research will examine technology and the city through a series of transnational artistic interventions between designers and publics in China and around the world. The research will utilize key methodologies including participant observation and ethnographic interviews, as well as experimental videography and transnational curatorial collaboration and will take place through a period of approximately two months within a multi-sited collaboration between partnering testbeds in China (Chongqing and Chengdu), as well as other collaborating cities including Hong Kong and Taipei. The study will lay the ground work for a curation in progress for urban artistic expression in collaboration with local artists and the creation of new publics between two coronavirus-battered and spatially precarious locales across the globe in a union of digital art and expression.

Nicholaus Gutierrez

This summer, Nick Gutierrez will be studying the papers held in the Morton Heilig collection of the Hugh Hefner Moving Image Archive. Heilig was an inventor best known for creating an analog simulator machine called Sensorama, a coin-operated arcade cabinet that used stereoscopic film, vibration, stereo sound, chemical scents and a wind generator to create an immersive “multisensory” experience for its users. His work has taken on a second life as several prominent Virtual Reality (VR) researchers, beginning in 1980s and carrying through to the early ‘90s, became aware of his work and considered it a precursor to their own. Consequently, for the last thirty years, Heilig’s work has been consistently valorized by many in the VR research community as the direct precursor to VR, with Heilig himself treated as VR’s untimely prophet both by VR researchers and in popular accounts of VR history.

Nick’s aim in viewing Heilig’s papers is to trace any possible connections between his personal philosophy and prevalent postwar social theories that were influenced by Norbert Wiener’s cybernetics and Claude Shannon’s information theory. Nick’s argument is that the narrative of Heilig as VR’s prophetic figure is more myth than truth; a close examination of the technologies he invented shows that they were neither as novel, nor as relatable to VR, as it would seem. But his true significance to VR lies precisely in how that myth was constructed, because it serves as an illuminating example of how the VR community constructed its own mythology.

Tina Piracci

As a Master of Science in Architecture student focusing on technology and sustainability, Tina Piracci’s research is centralized around natural paste deposition 3D printing and how programming creative tool paths can yield specific desired results. In Summer 2020, she plans to 3D print a series of terracotta water filter vessels which are based off analytical research gathered at the Berkeley National Laboratory, of which she is a research affiliate. The data collected during Spring 2020 will inform the infill geometry of the proposed water filter study. This project is now a research collaboration with Potters for Peace, an organization which has provided millions of terracotta water filters to those in need and has over 50 factories run by locals all over the globe. The hopes of this collaboration is to create a more efficient design as their current design is ram-pressed and leads to design complications and inefficiencies.

At the end of the summer, Tina will have a series of terracotta vessels that function as prototypes for these water filters as well as art objects. For NCECA 2021, Tina plans to build on her proposal from this year and exhibit a totem of these water filters stacked up (tall and switching direction) at the Potters for Peace gallery in Cincinnati along with an array of infill samples, results of various patterns and verbiage on the creation process. If this study continues to go well, the director of Potters for Peace has shown interest in collaborating by placing 3D printers in current Potters for Peace facilities around the globe. The printers cost less than the ram press, and would be able to produce more efficient and plentiful filters. Each location to receive a printer would also receive training on how to produce the object, however it will be drastically less complicated for one with little experience to 3D print these objects because the files will be pre-designed and print-ready.

Kevin CK Lo

Kevin CK Lo will be reapplying LiDAR technology for artistic use. Building on Richard Mosse’s use of military grade technology in his exhibit at SFMOMA, Kevin will be repurposing this high-grade technology for an upcoming performance/exhibition. An upcoming multimedia solo show for DROUGHT SPA (with alex cruse) will use LiDAR to activate a sound-based work, able to be modulated by audience movement through the gallery space.

For Kevin’s live multimedia performances, combining spatialized audio, projections, movement, and text, sensor technologies have always been an integral component. In detourning LiDAR technologies and bringing them from industrial contexts to the highly embodied realm of performance, Kevin hopes to demonstrate new artistic possibilities and facilitate critical conversations around the contexts that these technologies typically inhabit. LiDAR’s ubiquity in automation, surveillance, industry and global supply chains have particular resonance as they are all frequent subjects of his practice.

Emily Gui

Emily Gui will collaborate with new media artist Jess Medenbach. Jess is an acclaimed video and media designer, filmmaker, editor and producer. She has worked on projects ranging from documentary, music video and video installation to media for live events, theater, and opera. An expert in Virtual and Augmented Reality technology, Jess has created many VR experiences and installations, focusing on the tension between isolation, togetherness, aura and documentation. As a sculptor and printmaker invested in materiality, process, objects and space, Emily
is fascinated with Jess’ usage of new media technology to explore the depths of human emotions embedded in space.

Emily plans to collaborate with Jess on a project exploring architecture and objects in relation to global warming and memory. This project will draw from their shared interests in infrastructure bringing us to unusual sites. As a part of this work, they will research the history of these spaces and then plan to experiment with projection and phone based technologies to create interactive and embodied installations. They will also use photogrammetry and VR to expand and enrich Emily’s existing sculptures and found, discarded objects. Emily is currently working on a series of sculptures that utilize digital printmaking in conjunction with projection and sculptural screens.

Through intensive exploration, Emily looks forward to returning to UC Berkeley in the fall with a new body of work, research and skills.

2019

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2018

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2017

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2016

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2015

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2014

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Technology Services and Training Fellowship

This is a historical award, last given in 2014. View the recipients here.

Data Literacy Fellowship

This is a historical award, last given in 2014. Please see here.