BCNM's Big Wins 2022

10 Jun, 2022

BCNM's Big Wins 2022

The 2021-2022 academic year has been a blast and we're thrilled to share some of our greatest achievements. Check out the new media impact we made!

Curriculum Development

Our goal was to offer courses on histories and futures of technology that combine arts, design, humanities, social sciences, data, and engineering approaches and foreground diverse makers and users of new media. We truly succeeded on this front with an incredible slate of courses, featuring Locative Media, Digital Storytelling, Critical Practices, Tangible User Interfaces, and Fandom & Piracy, in addition to our core History and Theory of New Media and Questioning New Media classes. These classes are known for platforming the diversity of new media. This year, we furthered that goal by also offering the new course Queering Digital Cultures to directly engage these questions of representation. The class asked what it means to "queer" digital culture, both as a retrospective, present, and future focus, reviewing neglected and revised histories of that have begun to feature in recent new media scholarship.

BCNM also sought to support the new digital cultures program in Media Studies by helping our newest faculty member, Emma Fraser, establish a portable, online, digital storytelling lab (POD). Students in her Media Studies/New Media classes (including the newly developed Digital Storytelling) develop creative fiction and non-fiction works including interactive audio, podcasts, machinima, Twine games, hypertext fiction, etc., borrowing equipment to explore the history of the digital form.

Our aim of accelerating peer learning experiences through our undergraduate research fellowship has once again proven successful, pairing undergraduates with graduates who can mentor them on research practices (here and here). This year, we were able to pair undergraduates with graduates working on new media in pediatric healthcare environments, the emergence of photography and digital film as tools of evidence in policing and the law, as well as the development of three dimensional immersive soundtracks. We received excellent feedback from students on the experience, including the following statements: “My experience these past few months was undeniably valuable in that it was the first time that I as a first generation college student was able to work on graduate-level research.” Others appreciated working “in a collaborative environment that fostered growth” and “making connections between the research project and my own studies.”

We're also pleased to share that faculty member Clancy Wilmott is working closely with a team of students to support the Sogorea Te' Land Trust in producing a decolonized map of Ohlone lands. Expect this discovery led project to lead to future exciting coursework!

Finally, a massive congratulations to Gail De Kosnik for receiving an American Cultures Excellence in Teaching Award and to Clancy Wilmott for receiving a Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association Teaching Excellence Award. These remarkable accolades highlight the dedication of our faculty at BCNM.

Interdisciplinary Research

BCNM champions vanguard interdisciplinary research. We were thrilled to support our faculty in doing this amazing work with increased research grants. This year, we were able to offer funds to Professors Beth Piatote (Ethnic Studies), working on reclaiming old media for new use as a tool of Indigenous language revitalization; Greg Niemeyer (Art Practice) and Lisa Wymore (Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies), ​​who are spearheading a community-led VR immersive experience reflecting on the impact of recent California Wildfires on local Northern California communities; Emma Fraser (Media Studies/BCNM), exploring representations of space in video games and virtual reality applications; and Celeste Kidd (Psychology), who explores the effects of cognitive load and theory of mind on the emergence of political polarization online.

This year marked the return of our conference and summer research grants. We were particularly pleased to be able to support LGBTQ and POC scholars, as well as research that explores the impacts of water resource management on Indigenous and low income populations, the colonial infrastructure of technology, and possibilities for repurposing new media to serve disadvantaged communities. We also continued to offer our prestigious Lyman Fellowship, which this year went to Julia Irwin, who researches how pattern recognition became the dominant mode of optical perception in institutional settings in light of the U.S. military’s twenty-first-century embrace of pattern recognition techniques for automating image interpretation and targeting procedures.

Our students, faculty, and alumni are making an incredible impact on inclusive new media research. Research highlights include: two faculty book publications (Image Objects by Jacob Gaboury; The Distance Cure by Hannah Zeavin), one alum book publication (Imaginable by Jane McGonigal), and one student book publication (Gossypin by Ra Malika Imhotep). They also include faculty art exhibitions (Suspended Matter, Asma Kazmi; Refamiliarization, Covid/E-Lit, and Unbounded Unleashed Unforgiving, Alex Saum-Pascual; Dog Pack, Jill Miller), student and alumni art exhibitions or performances (six from Edgar Fabián Frías, two from Trevor Paglen, 1 from Sivan Eldar). In addition, we had 57 faculty, 14 student, and 35 alumni articles published in a range of fields, including Algorithms, Art, Artificial Intelligence, Computer-Human Interaction, Data Science, East Asian Studies, Education, English, Film & Media, Gender and Women’s Studies, History, Machine Learning, Media Studies, Music, Performance Studies, Psychology, Public Policy, Robotics and Automation, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology, and User Interfaces.

Moreover, BCNM faculty, alumni, and students have been recognized with numerous awards, including: Greg Niemeyer received the Peder Sather Grant, Pro Helvetia Grant; Morgan Ames received the Sally Hacker Prize, Computer History Museum Prize; Hannah Zeavin received the Brooke Hindle Award, Timothy Shary Prize, Courage to Dream Book Prize; Liza Gak received the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship; Tonya Nguyen received an Honorable Mention for the NSF GRF; Haripriya Sathyanarayanan received the Helen Wallace Dissertation Prize, GMZ Graduate Fellowship; Edgar Fabián Frías and Erica Deeman received the Cadogan Awards; Xiaowei Wang was appointed a Civic Media Fellow; Clement Hil Goldberg received the Creative Capital Award; and Tiffany Ng received the Henry Russell Award.

In addition, our students are staking a claim for UC Berkeley new media teaching and research on a national scale. Our students this year received positions in the following universities: Nour El Rayes Assistant Professor at Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins; Justin Berner Postdoctoral Fellow NYU Shanghai; Ra Malika Imhotep Postdoctoral Fellow UC Riverside; Tory Jeffay Postdoctoral Fellow Dartmouth Society of Fellows; Juliana Friend Postdoctoral Fellow at UCSF’s Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies (IHPS). Our alumni are also taking on more senior roles: Bo Ruberg was promoted to Associate Professor at UC Irvine; Tiffany Ng to Associate Professor at the University of Michigan; Noura Howell became an Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech, and danah boyd was appointed a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Georgetown University.

Finally, the Color of New Media Working Group is creating opportunities for BCNM students to publish in the field of new media studies, with its solicitation and selection of essays for its collection on the Media Crease. This is an exciting ongoing project, so watch this space!


We had a stellar year for public programs, offering 18 events and serving 4,000 people. These events define important and unexpected directions of research for new media scholars, engineers, artists, and policymakers.

Our Indigenous Technologies public programs this year continued to be a highlight of our series with some of the highest attendance of over 1800 viewers of our four lectures, drawing attention to historical technological achievements of Indigenous groups and the potential for future technologies to be informed by Indigenous thinking.. The program moved beyond our History and Theory of New Media Series to touch all our public programming.

We're also pleased to welcome Sierra Edd as the new Indigenous Technologies coordinator (replacing Marcelo Garzo Montalvo, who took a tenure-track faculty position at CSU San Marcos) in Spring 2022. We are now in the process of developing relationships w to build out Indigenous Technology programs and residencies.

We were excited to support the Color of New Media Working Group's student publication program by convening a public symposium and closed book workshop around the term of the Media Crease. Contributing authors had the opportunity to workshop their essays with peers over several private sessions this Spring. We then continued the conversation, successfully bringing this term to the academic consciousness, through a public symposium featuring two leading new media scholars, who are now also planning on revising their remarks for publication in the anthology.

Finally, we launched a speaker series and fundraising drive for AAPI Media Creatives. We hosted an extremely successful lecture with Hollywood luminaries Daniel Wu and Melvin Mar, attracting over 500 in attendance. The event shone a light on AAPI representation in the American media landscape and served to launch our Big Give fundraising drive for the AAPI Media Creatives Fellowship. We were able to solicit a matching donor (Sam Kwok) and raise $6,670 towards the fund in a single day — the biggest Big Give performance from the Berkeley Center for New Media to date.