What is New Media?

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. BCNM is located at a global center for design and information technology and based in a public research university known for alternative thinking.

The Berkeley Center for New Media is an interdisciplinary research center that studies and shapes media transition and emergence from diverse perspectives. Through critical thinking and making, we cultivate technological equity and fairness in our classrooms, in our communities, and on the internet.

We recognize that BCNM is located in the territory of Huichin, the ancestral and unceded lands of Chochenyo speaking Ohlone peoples, specifically, the Confederated Villages of Lisjan. The history of prolific technological development in this region has always depended on this land, and all of our technological infrastructures and activities take place on and in relation to this land. We commit to supporting the sovereignty and ongoing stewardship of this place by Ohlone peoples through building long-term reciprocity and relationships with tribal leaders and organizations.​

All media (Latin for “middle elements”) facilitate transformation: by definition, media are transformative. From the stone tablet to the printing press to the internet, media have become increasingly reconfigurable. The value of a medium is often related to its capacity for reconfiguration. To claim a medium as “new” is to posit a meaningful improvement over prior media. Thus new media are highly reconfigurable and doubly transformative: they achieve a transformation of prior modes of transformation.

While new media often produce new perceptions, new behaviors, and new insights, they remain deeply rooted in powerful aesthetic, cultural, and political forces. As media transform, they often distort. Sophocles observed that “nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” BCNM actively engages scholars who critically examine the opportunities and risks associated with new media and who consider how new media can constructively benefit education, political engagement, privacy, and aesthetic experience.

BCNM catalyzes research, educates future leaders, and facilitates public discourse through courses, lectures, symposia, and special events. BCNM has established cross-disciplinary faculty positions and a special program for masters’ and Ph.D. students. The BCNM supports academic modes of scholarship while encouraging unorthodox artworks, designs, and experiments. By reaching out to students, researchers, industry figures, and the broader public, BCNM stimulates new perspectives on contemporary new media.

For more information on our current commitments and initiatives, please see our 2021-2022 Strategic Plan.


Tom McEnaney, Director
tmc [​at​] berkeley.edu

Lara Wolfe, Associate Director
lara [​at​] berkeley.edu

Alex Saum-Pascual, Head Graduate Advisor
saum-pascual [​at​] berkeley.edu

Raphael Cohen, Events Coordinator/Office Manager
raphaelcohen [​at​] berkeley.edu

General Inquiries
info.bcnm [​at​] berkeley.edu

webmaster.bcnm [​at​] berkeley.edu

340 Moffitt

The BCNM Commons has 8 moveable tables and 20 moveable chairs set up in a seminar style with an additional 12 chairs placed along the walls of the room. The room has a projector with Meyer Sound speakers, used via a VGA/HDMI cable. The cost to rent the BCNM Commons is $200. Please use the calendar below to check availability and email lara [​at​] berkeley.edu for your reservation. You can explore a 3D version of the Commons here!

If you are affiliated with BCNM, you can reserve the BCNM Commons for meetings and courses free of charge.


The Berkeley Center for New Media would like to thank our sponsors for their generous support.