Faculty Seed Grants

Faculty Seed Grants

Applications are due March 18, 2019

The Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM) is a focal point for research and teaching about new media, led by a highly trans-disciplinary community of 120 affiliated faculty, advisors, and scholars, from 35 UC Berkeley departments, including Architecture, Philosophy, Film & Media, History of Art, Performance Studies, and Music; the Schools of Engineering, Information, Journalism, and Law; and the Berkeley Art Museum. Our mission is to critically analyze and help shape developments in new media from cross-disciplinary and global perspectives that emphasize humanities and the public interest.

BCNM’s seed grant fellowship program aims to identify innovative research incorporating questions of new media, and to support this work across campus, particularly by junior faculty. In keeping with BCNM’s own mission, this research can relate either to explorations of contemporary media in transformation, or to critical questions around the historic transformations and effects of new media on their own time.


This year, the Center will support up to two recipients.

Assistant Professors are invited to apply for a one-year seed grant of $5,000. Interested applicants should apply with a one page research proposal here.

Work proposed for the fellowship can be a new extension of existing research, or new research grounded in the applicant’s interest and experience. Collaborative applications are allowed. Applications should address the urgency and impact of the research, as well as make clear how questions of new media—historic, contemporary, or both—are relevant. While a detailed budget is not necessary, we ask that you make clear what specific activities are likely to be supported by the fellowship funds. Previous fellows are not eligible to apply.

Applications are due March 18, 2019.

Funded faculty will be invited to help shape the larger conversation about new media on campus as part of BCNM’s Executive Committee, with recipients serving for the duration of their fellowship. The Executive Committee includes faculty from a wide variety of disciplines, and meets Monday 1-2pm for a catered lunch; members are expected to attend at least three meetings per semester.

Proposals will be assessed by the current Executive Committee according to three criteria:

  • relevance to new media
  • academic rigor
  • potential for future funding

BCNM alumni will be involved in the selection process. Funds will be transferred by the end of April. Seed grants are given with the understanding that future grants arising from funded research should be undertaken with the Berkeley Center for New Media as the administrative home for future award funds.

Past Awards


Jacob Gaboury

Regimes of Identification: Queer Computing and Digital History seeks to understand how queer identity has been so radically transformed by contemporary digital technologies, examining the queer history of computer science and proposing a queer theory of computing through an investigation of non-binary figures in the early history of mathematics and computation. Extending Alan Turing's early writing on uncomputability, Gaboury looks to articulate a queer externality to so-called “universal computation” through an investigation of queer sites and practices in media art, philosophy, and computer science. In doing so, his goal is to parse the relationship between these two disparate regimes of identification and their broad influence on our contemporary digital culture.

Rita Lucarelli

From Papyrus to Coffins in 3D: The New Media of the Book of the Dead is aimed primarily at building up a new platform for an in-depth study of the materiality of the Book of the Dead texts and images through the 3D visualizations of inscribed, anthropoid coffins produced in the First Millennium BCE, when magical texts and iconography were particularly en vogue on mortuary objects in Egypt. The main outcome of this project is to allow the scholarly community to work on the translation and on other metadata (transcription and translation of the hieroglyphic text, iconographic analysis, coffin typology, origin and whereabouts of the coffins’ owner, etc.), having as a basis this new media – the 3D model of the coffin.


Andrew Atwood

New Apps for New Audiences will further Andrew’s previous work and research on interactive app designs as way to engage and attract new audiences to architecture. Within the spirit of this accessibility and freedom, this research grant would support the development of an app that builds on my ongoing research into Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) design. This grant will aid the production of an interactive mobile tool that enables people to consider the possibilities of adding housing to their existing home, like a traditional ADU, but additionally will allow people to speculate on small scale housing solutions in other open spaces that have not yet been considered by planning institutions or developers. In this way, the app enables everyone, practitioners and the public alike, to rethink our preconceived notions about zoning and challenge us to think small on a big scale.

Asma Kazmi

Cranes and Cube: Architecture, built and unbuilt is a multifaceted new media art/architecture project. The aim of this project is to map the radically changing sites and topographies of Saudi Arabia. It surveys the political force fields of idealism and grandeur of the real estate boom in the region, which is in dialogue with cycles of change and transformation of preexisting structures and localities. This project aims to analyze the interminable currents of buildings–built and unbuilt–and the histories, desires, and concurrent contexts that inform this process. Asma will lead a research trip, along with 2 graduate students, to film, document, and re/present the current state of the sites and locations that Al-Hariri-Rifai, a Syrian American artist, traveler, architect, teacher, and writer, drew. The final outcome of this investigation will be an art exhibit which will interweave Wahbi al-Hariri-Rifai’s drawings with a critical juxtaposition of new media objects and documents collected and made during this trip, particularly through immersive technologies such as AR/VR.

Neyran Turan

New Cadaver Exquis: Matter, Debris, and Ruins aims to build unconventional linkages between architecture, digital media, and geology. It positions certain problems brought by climate change and the Anthropocene, such as materiality, obsolescence, and waste in architectural terms. Inherent in the premise of the project is the proposition of a new conception of architecture’s engagement with the wider world through a specific focus on design’s capacity to impact planetary imagination. This is an extension of Neyran’s previous project on architectural materiality, which from the recalcitrance of a particular raw matter and its extraction from a specific geographic location, to its processing, transportation, and construction into a desired finished effect in a building, to its maintenance, demolition and waste, aims to open future dialogues in relation to the spatial and temporal long-span of architectural materiality.

Damon Young

After the Private Self asks the question: is the self of Rousseau’s Confessions the same as the self of the twenty-first century digital selfie? To what extent is subjectivity bound up in the apparatuses of its technical mediation? In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a “modern individual” took shape through the relatively new forms of the novel and the autobiography. That modern individual, writes Dipesh Chakrabarty in Provincializing Europe, is “supposed to have an interiorized ‘private’ self that pours out incessantly in diaries, letters, autobiographies, novels, and, of course, in what we say to our analysts.” In this project, I ask in what way this “private self” survives into the twenty-first century, when novels and autobiographies have ceded their position as “cultural dominant” to new media modes and platforms, and when psychoanalysis has ceded its own position of cultural dominance to cognitive behavioral therapy and other data-based and empirical methods.


In 2016, we were pleased to award Abigail De Kosnik, Eric Paulos, Greg Niemeyer, and Ed Campion with faculty seed grants, in our first pilot of the program. Recipients were selected by BCNM alumni. A huge thanks to Tiffany Ng and Reggie Royston, who gave up their time to chair the awards committee!

Abigail De Kosnik (TDPS) will receive $10,000 for her project TorrentMap, which will convene a research group to build a digital humanities tool that will measure P2P file sharing and the geographic spread of torrents over time. The tools created will be made freely available for other DH scholars to use. From Gail: “I am deeply honored by [our alumni’s] confidence in my project, and over the course of the next year, I will aim to assemble and lead a research team that will make [them] proud. Because this grant was awarded by our former students, it means more to me than any grant I could get from an institution.”

Eric Paulos (Computer Science) will receive $10,000 for his project The Making of Unmaking, which designs for the eventual deterioration and failure of 3D printed objects, so as to inspire discussion not only about the objects made but the role of making. Paulos also hopes designing for degradation will offer greater creative possibilities and encourage participation in making from new communities.

Greg Niemeyer (Art Practice) will receive $5,000 for his project Internet from the Inside Out, which builds tools to represent information from a radial perspective and will advance the conversation on aesthetics and data visualization. These tools will also be made freely available.

Ed Campion (CNMAT) will receive $5,000 for his project Sound Habitat, which will create a moveable sound installation sphere, suitable for flexible gallery, museum, and site-specific installation work.