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Anne Balsamo, Ph.D.: Designing Culture: Innovation, Imagination, and Futuremaking



In the presentation, Anne Balsamo outlines her approach to the study and practice of technology-based innovation, to argue that the real business of innovation is the reproduction of culture over time and over place.  Understanding innovation as a socio-technical-cultural process, she discusses the importance of cross-disciplinary collaboration among creative technologists, computer scientists, and digital humanists.  These collaborations must seriously consider questions of ethics, cultural and social good, and intentional future-making.  In making this argument, she focuses on the work of those whose practice, teaching, and research involves (1) digital media arts, digital archives, and big data, (2) new technologies of literacy, and (3) the design of public interactives.

About Anne Balsamo

Anne Balsamo is the Dean of the School of Media Studies in the New School in New York City. Her recent book, Designing Culture: The Technological Imagination at Work (Duke, 2011) examines the relationship between culture and technological innovation, with a particular focus on the role of the humanities in cultural innovation.  Previously she was a Full Professor at the University of Southern California where she held joint appointments in the Annenberg School of Communication and the Interactive Media Division of the School of Cinematic Arts.  From 2004-2007, she served as the Director of the Institute for Multimedia Literacy at USC where she created one of the first academic programs in multimedia literacy across the curriculum.  In 1998, she left a tenured faculty position at Georgia Institute of Technology to join a research-design group at Xerox PARC that created experimental reading devices and new media genres.  In 2002, she co-founded, Onomy Labs, Inc. a Silicon Valley technology design and fabrication company that builds cultural technologies. Her first book, Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading Cyborg Women (Duke UP, 1996) investigated the social and cultural implications of emergent bio-technologies.