Exciting times at HUMlab

Things are moving slower at the university, and also at HUMlab. We are finishing a very intense year, where the Media Places Conference 9-11 December was a major final push. This has been a good year. Many amazing visitors, a group of excellent postdoctoral fellows, intensified digital art work, solidification of the technology platform in the new part of the lab (with the screenscape), new research projects (in the last round of Swedish Research Council awards, there were three projects with strong HUMlab ties), intensified collaboration with Stanford University and Lund University, the implementation of a mentor program happen, hard work towards establishing a new educational program in stage arts at the faculty and quite a bit of educational development work in other areas, exciting collaboration with industry, great development work in the SHIPS and SEAD projects (wth the Demographic Database and with the Environmental Archeaology Group), the media place conference, a great number of visits to the lab (including three embassies in the last month), and the establishment of media places as a strong area of interest in the lab, and many other things.

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Anja Linna (performance at Media Places Conference together with Iris Piers)

Thinking of the upcoming year, it will probably be quite intense too, but in a different way. We have a range of really interesting incoming guests, new digital art fellows, futher establishment of media places as a research area, new international contacts, strengthened national collaboration with Lund University, more indiegame events, further collaboration with the digital media industry, expansion of the lab, and of course, the establishment of the Umeå Arts Campus. HUMlab-X is such an interesting and challenging project. In a bit more than a year from now, there will be two HUMlabs.

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Umeå Arts Campus. Original picture: White Arkitekter/Henning Larsen Arkitekter

The Arts Campus consists of (or will consist of) the Umeå Institute of Design, the Academy of Fine Arts, the School of Architecture, Bildmuseet and HUMlab-X. Close to the river in between the main campus and the city center (15 minutes to the former and about 10 minutes to the latter walking time). We will work closely with the other schools and the museum as well as with the City of Umeå and industry. Digital art, expression and culture. Imagination. One interesting challenge is to connect the two labs, and to collide multiple networks.

Most importantly, I think, HUMlab as a meeting place and a network keeps energizing us. I am particularly happy that the number of researchers at the Humanities faculty directly involved in HUMlab has increased significantly, that collaboration outside the faculty keeps intensifiying, that we are part of an ecology of digital media research and industry, and that there are HUMlab friends in many places. See you in HUMlab!

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