Welcome to UC Irvine's hub for technologically advanced creativity. We interconnect emergent media and socially engaged artmaking with responsive design thinking for positive change.


UCI's Claire Trevor School of the Arts is recognized as a center for interdisciplinary creation in four acclaimed departments: Art, Dance, Drama and Music. Our latest initiative, the Emergent Media + Design (EM+D) program, enriches these traditional areas of artistic excellence, broadening their scope to develop new forms that explore and expand the nature of human experience.

EM+D is a consortium for research, production and scholarship, centered in the School for the Arts, with a mandate to explore new approaches to creativity and artistic practice through emergent media, socially engaged artmaking and responsive design thinking. We provide opportunities for faculty, students, and staff to engage with artistic methodologies (which can reveal and critique problems) as well as with design methodologies oriented to developing creative solutions.

Emergent Media

We engage with new forms of artistic expression enabled by emerging capabilities such as AR/VR (augmented and virtual reality), kinetic imaging, interactivity, maker-based fabrication, bioart, speculative design, social media and computer gaming.

Socially Engaged

Driven by the desire for art to make a difference in people’s lives, and in collaboration with communities, socially engaged artists make work that grapples with environmental, cultural and political issues directly relevant to people in these communities.

Design Thinking

Based on empathy, ideation and iteration, responsive design thinking is a human-centered methodology, influenced by artistic practice, dedicated to guiding technology research and development toward creative solutions based on lived experience and actual needs.

UC Irvine is reimagining creativity for the 21st century – and cutting-edge arts-based research is central to our vision

UC Irvine is reimagining creativity for the 21st century – and cutting‑edge arts‑based research is central to our vision


As UCI's hub for technologically advanced creativity, EM+D interconnects emergent media and socially engaged artmaking with responsive design thinking to inspire positive change in our communities.

Dedicated to visionary exploratory practices that empower citizens collectively, locally and directly, the EM+D initiative positions UCI as a global leader in the type of creative rethinking that always has been a hallmark of avant-garde art and design. We're creating new opportunities to broaden audiences, activities, and venues for media arts and design beyond existing disciplinary boundaries. Above all, EM+D advances the overarching goals of the School of the Arts: to help emerging artists find their voice in creative, socially responsible ways; to encourage artistic and scholarly achievements that attain ever-higher levels of global relevance; and to prepare our students to engage creatively and meaningfully in contemporary culture.

Beall Center for Art + Technology

Exhibitions and Outreach

As a central component of EM+D, the mission of the Beall Center for Art + Technology is to support exhibitions and other public programs that explore new relationships between the arts, sciences, and engineering, and to promote new forms of creation and expression. For nearly twenty years, the Beall Center has worked to redefine the museum/gallery experience, broadening the context for art by acting as a platform for emerging methods of artmaking through transdisciplinary approaches that stimulate experimentation, collaboration, and deeper forms of engagement.

More Info

Your Ocean, My Ocean

Performance and Exhibition

An experimental intermedia production in which a transdisciplinary group of artists and designers respond to the natural beauty of oceans and coastlines, as well as to detrimental human impacts on ocean ecosystems. Your Ocean, My Ocean (YOMO) features a crowd-sourced social media interface for participants to submit images, short videos and text messages. Performances, exhibitions and an evolving online presence connect the YOMO creators with voices and perspectives from a diverse mix of community contributors. After the February 2019 premiere at UCI, YOMO will tour to other venues.

More Info

Art & Design Collaboratory

UCI and the Rhode Island School of Design together are offering the Art & Design Collaboratory, an exchange program for students and faculty from both institutions. In the 2018-19 exchange, the focus is unintended onsequences of creativity and technology in the ocean environment.


The EM+D curriculum prepares students to move into a range of arts, design and media related careers, especially those that require collaborative work and innovative approaches to materials and fabrication, as well as teaching careers in the growing cadre of related programs around the world.

Emergence Series

Through the Institute for 21st Century Creativity, E+MD sponsors a series of arts-based research projects exploring new directions for intermedia performance, multi-site environments, interactive systems, immersive projection, responsive lighting, spatialized sound and other emerging creative techniques.

Moving beyond a utilitarian focus on technical innovation, EM+D supports artists, scholars and researchers to become agents of and catalysts for social transformation

Moving beyond a utilitarian focus on technical innovation, EM+D supports artists, scholars and researchers to become agents of and catalysts for social transformation


Faculty and students from across the School of the Arts are participating in EM+D, and ffiliates from other areas of UCI will contribute expertise in science, engineering, humanities, education, business and medicine.

Within EM+D, the Institute for 21st Century Creativity supports artistic research and creative work through experimental projects in which faculty and students re-imagine the world afresh with each iteration, and the Beall Centre for Art + Technology offers opportunities to share the research process with the community, challenging audiences to perceive, think and feel differently. UCI campus partners, such as the Institute and Museum for California Art, the Center for Applied Innovation and the Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation will magnify the impact of our unique approach --- combining emergent media arts research with socially engaged design thinking.

With Support From


Emergent Media + Design Program
Claire Trevor School of the Arts
University of California, Irvine
200 Mesa Arts Building
Irvine, CA 92697-2775

John Crawford, Director