Discovery Themes: Collaboration for Humane Technologies

Research happening now in the Department of Dance and the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) will impact the way we interact with technology in our future living rooms, offices and classrooms. Collaboration for Humane Technologies Principal Investigator and Department of Dance Professor Norah Zuniga-Shaw says that we have created a world surrounded with inhumane technology. Many of us sit at a desk all day staring at a computer screen, which is not how the body was designed to move. What if technology were more humane and its design was informed by the study of the movements of dancers using tools such as motion-capture technology? Think of the way people interact with an Xbox using a Kinect device or the cool table screens that you see on the various Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) episodes on television. The Collaboration for Humane Technologies research team wants to inform the future design of this and other kinds of technology with questions such as, “How can we take collaborative creative action for better more livable futures?”

The Collaboration for Humane Technologies is one of 11 Discovery Theme grants awarded by the Division of Arts and Humanities that “advance the Theme’s three overarching pillars, while identifying signature areas of study within the division” (Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme website). According to Zuniga-Shaw, the “Collaboration for Humane Technologies will foster arts-driven, interdisciplinary research to take action on the challenges that impact life and livability in the 21st century. At the core of the project are two Pop-Up Collaborations supported and extended by curricular offerings as well as innovative public events, documentation and dissemination. The first Pop-Up focused on Humane Technologies, exploring new ways to interact with dynamic mediums that access our multisensory human capacities.”  

Project researchers took action to create more livable futures with this first Pop-Up collaboration March 6-10, 2017 at ACCAD, bringing faculty artists and scholars from all over campus together with students and alumni. They worked together from a place of engaged compassion, using what they know and what they do as dancers, designers, artists, scientists and humanists.

The project team includes Norah Zuniga-Shaw (Dance), Principal Investigator; Peter K. Chan (Design); Isla Hansen (ACCAD and Art); Alan Price (ACCAD and Design); Scott Swearingen (Design); and E. Scott Denison (Design). Department of Dance faculty Hannah Kosstrin and Daniel Roberts serve as resource faculty for the project.