College of Fine Arts Launches Center for Arts and Entertainment Technologies


February 25, 2016

The College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin has launched the Center for Arts and Entertainment Technologies to equip creative students with technological skills for the 21st-century economy. The center will facilitate the creation of new works and inventions that explore, expand and transform the arts and technology.

“The University of Texas in Austin is the perfect university in the perfect location to explore the creative and profitable intersections between culture, technology and commerce,” said College of Fine Arts Dean Doug Dempster. “The Center for Arts and Entertainment Technologies expands the College of Fine Arts mission to embrace the emerging technologies that are radically transforming culture and commerce in the arts and popular culture. UT’s Fine Arts graduates are pushing out the creative and commercial boundaries of high culture, popular entertainment and the technologies that provoke them.”

The centerpiece of the program is the Bachelor of Science in Arts and Entertainment Technologies — the first B.S. offered in the College of Fine Arts — which will open to students in fall 2016. In this interdisciplinary major, students will be able to take courses across three areas: music and sound, games and mobile media applications, and new performance technologies. Students in the program will learn in an environment that emphasizes hands-on, project-based learning with creative technologies.

“Today’s student is immersed in the vast world of media and production technologies, and we want to transform them from passive users to creators and developers in this program,” said Bruce Pennycook, director of the Center for Arts and Entertainment Technologies. “Our projects-based curriculum will equip students to explore their own creativity and to become innovators and entrepreneurs.”

The center has partnered with the UT Libraries to build the Foundry, a creative makerspace that will be available to all UT students and faculty members. Opening in fall 2016, the Foundry will offer 3-D modeling and printing resources; an audio/video production and editing studio; a recording studio with sound isolation for singers and narrators to practice and record; an interactive game and mobile applications studio; a studio for microelectronics and animatronics; a high-tech music production studio; and a multifaceted studio to experiment with technology-enhanced costumes and wearables.

The college will also partner with UT Libraries to renovate the fourth floor of the Fine Arts Library to create new, flexible teaching spaces — classrooms, labs and collaboration spaces — for the Center for Arts and Entertainment Technologies and other programs in the college. Renovations are expected to begin in spring 2017.

The center is seeking industry partnerships that will provide internships, mentorships, special projects and networking and employment opportunities for students. Current industry partners include Alienware, D3, High End Systems, Precision Camera, Sweetwater Sound and Wacom.

“Industry partners will be able to engage our students through internships and guest lectures to connect their studies to emerging trends in the arts and entertainment industries,” said Pennycook. “We’re excited by the possibilities that the Center for Arts and Entertainment Technologies offers to both students and industry — our students benefit from the industry expertise, and the industry benefits from our students’ talent and creativity.”