Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

Alumni Profile: Robin Oppenheimer, SIAT

September 21, 2011

Recent SFU alumna Robin Oppenheimer has been working in the media arts field since 1980.

While running a media arts center in Seattle in the late 1990s, she researched a unique partnership of avant-garde artists and Bell Labs engineers, who came together in 1966 to create a series of large-scale multimedia performances called “9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering.”

Her research in SFU's School of Interactive Arts and Technology focused on how the artists and engineers, coming from two very different cultures of art and science, communicated and collaborated to produce the “9 Evenings” performances.

Today, the historically separate worlds of art and science are now intimately linked through their dependence on and shared uses of electronic communication technologies and systems, especially in social media and games. Robin's findings point the way to identifying the underlying elements of successful creative collaborations.

She says, “My graduate work at SIAT was transformative for me personally and professionally. I was an international student with 30 years of experience working with media artists, coming from Seattle to live and attend classes in Surrey, BC. I saw how technology enabled all of us to use our diverse talents and experiences to generate new ideas and create new things that we never could do alone. This was the genesis for my dissertation research into creative collaboration, and it has changed the way I live and work in the world."

Robin will be presenting her PhD research on September 29, 2011, at ReWire in Liverpool, a bi-annual international conference of media arts historians, scholars and practitioners that focuses on the complex relationships between art, science, technology and industry.

She received her PhD from the School of Interactive Arts and Technology in June 2011, and is now a Lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program at the University of Washington.

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