I have been asked to be the Project Manager (i.e. web developer, writer, researcher, designer, etc.) for a gnovis multimedia article. The project is poorly named the "Interdisciplinary Toolbox" -- what could that possibly mean? Having a toolbox of my own I think of it as something that would cull together a manual-like list of approaches, techniques, objects, theories, etc. of how one would go about examinining this "Interdisciplinary" *thing* (for lack of a better word). To me, it sounds like they are really seeking a showcase, rather than an intellectual examination and critique of the notion of interdisciplinarity as it relates to academia and accepted forms of intellectual products (which is what I would like to do with this).
Read the following and tell me if that is the purpose:
This multimedia project will explore imaginative expressions of interdisciplinary scholarship that focus on the socio-cultural, technological, economic and political aspects of communication. The basis for this project will be creative works for any CCT class. Works can be by both current CCT students or alumni. Additionally, the project should seek to broaden the scope and audience of the piece by seeking out like-minded projects that have emerged from other graduate programs. The format for this project will be left to the discretion of the project manager/content designer(s), but like its subject matter, should be innovative and dynamic in its presentation.
My problem with this description are the assumptions involved in the use of certain terms and phrases left undefined (in bold). Very clearly this is a project that is designed for and by the CCT program; since gnovis is directly tied to and funded by my graduate program, Communication, Culture and Technology, the motivations for this project are obviously tied to the program's concerns of attracting new applicants, foundation grants, and generally improving the esteem of the program both within the university and the "field" itself (I will refrain from going into the notion of "field" here and now --- later, much later). Given the inherent link to the CCT Program with this project, I am suspicious of the potential sources of the kind of output that is desired for the "toolbox." There are NO classes offered by CCT that inspire creativity. Okay, fine. Two exceptions -- "Digital Art I & II" exist, although the consensus is that the professors of the courses have yet to achieve the finesse to negotiate the inherently constrained structure of software (Adobe Photoshop, primarily) with expressive, creative freedom. Having lived on both sides of the tracks - software and art - I know this is difficult to achieve. However, I continue to blame the fact that the CCT Program does NOT communicate with the Fine Art Program (the homebase of the digital art professors), which hinders the development of quality cross/interdisciplinary conversation. Just because a course is cross-listed does not mean that interdisciplinary work will be achieved during the semester.
---More on this later...perhaps...