The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will welcome the âwizards, pirates and magicians of the worldâ when it opens the doors of its new Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts on August 26.
Preparations for the center were kicked off in 2015 with a $ 20 million donation from the foundation of iconic talk show host Johnny Carson, himself a magician from Nebraska. Director Megan Elliott said she envisions the new Carson Center becoming the destination of choice for “transformative creative leaders – the world’s best and brightest students, faculty, guest artists, entrepreneurs and scientists. whole “.
Even before its official opening, the center earned the Hewlett Packard / Educause Campus of the Future designation, the first Big Ten program to do so. It’s a partnership with a global Fortune 100 company that will give Nebraska access to the latest high-tech equipment – and put Nebraska in the company of MIT, Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Yale University and Dartmouth College to study how augmented reality, virtual reality, and 3D scanning and printing technologies can benefit education, learning and research.
Chancellor Ronnie Green said it was exciting to see the centre’s vision merging under Elliott’s leadership.
âIt is a tremendous honor to be the first university in the Big Ten to obtain the HP/ Designation Education, âsaid Green. “Through the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts, Nebraska will equip future generations of leaders with the imagination and skills to solve the ‘bad problems’ of the future.”
Gus Schmedlen, vice president of education for HP Inc., praised the Carson Center’s unique approach to student education.
âThe Carson Center’s revolutionary approach to teaching and collaboration will enable the next generation of creative professionals to succeed using vital immersive technology while developing production skills,â said Schmedlen. “HP is proud to allow the University of Nebraska to reinvent the way their students and faculty explore and create using the ultimate in virtual reality equipment, the HP RV Backpack and HP Reverberation RV Helmet.
âI’m talking about recruiting wizards and pirates and wizards of the world. These are the kind of people that interests me. You have to be brave and courageous to be truly imaginative.
Megan Elliott, Director of the Carson Center
The center is part of the Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film at the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts. The school’s film and new media program has been integrated into the new center. A key component of its new curriculum will prepare students for the hugely disruptive forces of artificial intelligence and data streaming that have changed the face of several industries, including film.
But the centre’s 33 inaugural students and those who follow will be prepared for hitherto unimaginable careers that extend far beyond the entertainment industry, Elliott said.
âThe media is an industrial construction industry,â she said. âI see our students entering not only the entertainment industries, but the experience economy as well. They could design experiments for retail, for manufacturing, for healthcare, for museums. They can go into data visualization for the insurance industries. They can create a virtual reality environment for the architecture. I can see our students going for anything.
Two new faculty members – one a speculative artist from Hyundai’s Design Lab and the other a virtual reality lecturer from Stanford University – will join the existing faculty at the Nebraska Film School.
Ash Smith, who creates stories for film, stage, and immersive play, was Associate Director of the Art and Technology Program at the University of California, San Diego, while continuing pioneering work with the team. of Hyundai’s speculative design on robotics and microbility. at the Design Lab.
Jesse Fleming is an artist, filmmaker and researcher who creates immersive live and virtual experiences. He taught virtual reality, video, photography and design at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 2014 to 2017, and virtual reality at Stanford in 2019. His work is in the collection of the Whitney Museum of Art and Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul. . In 2014, he was named one of Los Angeles’ best artists in Artforum magazine’s annual list of top artists.
Learn more about Smith, Fleming, Elliott, and other film school teachers.
Elliott said the new center will offer a curriculum based on four cognitive skills needed to thrive in the age of intelligent machines: critical thinking, systems thinking, cultural agility and entrepreneurship.
Nebraska’s emerging media arts students will become âX-Shaped Studentsâ. As traditional higher education has formed ‘I’ students with extensive knowledge in one area, and more colleges are starting to focus on ‘T’ students with extensive knowledge in addition to specializing in one area, the center plans to take it one step further by creating the X-shaped student with a master’s degree in four areas: design, storytelling, computational creativity, and entrepreneurship.
Students at the Carson Center will learn both improv drama and magic – to honor Carson, who enrolled in the University of Nebraska as a magician, and because of the agility they derive from these skills.
“With improvisation there are three rules – you should always start with ‘yes’, you should always make your partner look good and you should always serve the story, something bigger than yourself,” he said. said Elliott. âA magician is as good as the story he tells. They know how to direct or look away. And they’re always looking for that âahaâ moment.
Elliott said that Nebraska, with a do-it-yourself and rambling thinking philosophy, truly is a place where magic can happen.
âYou don’t blindly walk into the future, do you,â she said. “We can imagine the future we want to create, and I think it’s magic.”