Carnegie Mellon University

Student uses virtual reality headset

August 15, 2022

Carnegie Mellon University Launches Minor in Immersive Technologies in Arts & Culture

The minor is designed to connect CMU students from diverse backgrounds and enable them to explore the expansive possibilities of immersive technologies

KellyAnn Tsai

Immersive and spatial media such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and digital projection offer innovative possibilities in the arts, entertainment, science, industry, and countless other domains. Technologies seeded 50 years ago are now entering commercial, political and cultural realms; and the potential for augmented and immersive experiences to further disrupt our current media ecosystem is tremendous.

As immersive experiences and augmented realities increasingly feature in work and leisure, young innovators are needed who can blend technological skills with creative imagination and critical humanistic practice. In response to this need, Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Modern Languages and IDeATe, the Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology network, have collaborated to launch a new minor in Immersive Technologies in Arts & Culture.

Students in the Immersive Technologies in Arts & Culture minor will be hybrid technologists, media-makers, and storytellers who can create mediated experiences at the intersection of technology, design, and the humanities. They will be equipped with the social consciousness, global awareness, and cross-cultural skills needed to forge positive new paths for immersive media going into the future. 

“We are excited to launch this new minor with the Department of Modern Languages, which brings together the humanities, the arts, and technology,” said Susan Finger, Associate Dean of IDeATE. “The minor is designed to connect CMU students from diverse backgrounds and enable them to explore the expansive possibilities of immersive technologies.”

Students in the minor will:

  • Learn to construct and deconstruct immersive and augmented experiences with respect to the cultural, socio-emotional, and embodied aspects of human experience
  • Develop the technical know-how and creative production skills to collaboratively author original narratives and prototype spatially mediated experiences
  • Explore the narrative possibilities and technical affordances of the genre while attending to the aesthetic considerations, humanistic concerns, and design conventions defining this emerging mode of cultural production. 

“This is a really exciting opportunity for students to design and create immersive experiences, and to have a voice in deciding the future of these emerging technologies,” said Stephan Caspar, Assistant Teaching Professor of Media Creation & Multi-Cultural Studies in the Department of Modern Languages. “They are going to be the ones that use VR and AR to tell stories and shape our culture, so it is essential that they start exploring and making sense of it now.” 

digital-realities-course-card-min.pngDigital Realities: Introducing Immersive Technologies for Arts & Culture,” a core course for the Immersive Technologies in Arts & Culture minor, will be offered in the Fall 2022 semester. The course will be taught in the Askwith Kenner Global Languages & Cultures Room, a dedicated space for exploring language and culture through new immersive technologies managed by the Department for Modern Languages

Learn more about the Minor in Immersive Technologies in Arts & Culture

Visitors look towards a screen in a dark room. The screen shows an image of a man with the text "How conscious do you think I am of my appearance?"
Visitors explore the Kenner Room exhibit Kaleidoscope, an immersive experience created to explore unconscious bias
Two students stand in a room, one wearing VR goggles. In the foreground there is a computer monitor showing Google Earth and the word Pittsburgh
Students try virtual reality at an IDeAte Open House event
A room is set up with large desks and several computer monitors. The room is colorful and is set up to encourage collaboration.

The Askwith Kenner Global Languages and Cultures Room provides an immersive space for members of the CMU community and visitors to interact with each other locally and with people and places around the world.