Gray Area Announces New Online Intensive Education Programs to Empower Artists and Technologists to Imagine a More Equitable Digital Future

  •  Sep 1, 2022
  •  Gray Area
As we live more of our lives in an increasingly virtual world, how can we develop creative agency as citizens in these new digital spaces? And how might we design new technologies to center consent, transparency, and trust?

SAN FRANCISCO, September 1, 2022 – San Francisco-based arts and technology cultural center Gray Area is launching two new interdisciplinary certification programs this fall in the topics of the Open Metaverse and Responsible Technology Design. With the support of an Artist Discovery Grant from the Hewlett Foundation it received at the end of last year, Gray Area has been collaborating with leading researchers and professors to develop the 10 to 12-week online courses which are now open for enrollment.

Responsible Technology Design Intensive

The Responsible Technology Design Intensive will be led by machine-learning-design researcher and artist Caroline Sinders, whose work examines the intersections of technology’s impact on society, interface design, artificial intelligence, abuse, and politics in digital conversational spaces. Sarah Aoun, activist and Vice President of Security at the Open Technology Fund joins as a guest lecturer. The course is designed for technology industry workers who are interested in developing their fluency in human rights, consent, transparency, and trust to foster communal agency. Students will explore various design frameworks, from design justice to emancipatory design, to ideate and develop more ethical products, and examine the use of user interaction and design tools in activism.

“Now more than ever, there is a real awareness and desire among tech workers for a more critical, interdisciplinary approach to building new technology. Being in such close proximity to Silicon Valley, we have an opportunity to influence and support people trying to design in a more equitable and inclusive way.”

—Niki Selken
Gray Area Creative Development Director

Open Metaverse Intensive

The Open Metaverse Intensive will be led by technology consultant Mark Hellar, and with advisement from Amelia Winger-Bearskin and Marko Suvajdzic from the Digital Worlds Institute at the University of Florida. In the course, students will learn to develop creative works in virtual and augmented reality environments using digital creator tools and code frameworks. In addition, students will gain experience publishing and selling original content, staging participatory events in the metaverse, and exploring the possibilities of this rapidly developing social and digital economy.

“As we are spending more time in these digital spaces, it’s incredibly important that we onboard as many people as we can into the environment, not only as consumers but also as participants and creators.”

—Amelia Winger-Bearskin
Open Metaverse Intensive Advisor

Winger-Bearskin, a professor of artificial intelligence and the arts at the Digital Worlds institute and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma, Deer Clan, is also the founder of Wampum.Codes, an award-winning podcast and an ethical framework for software development based on indigenous values of co-creation.

These new courses are the next stage of Gray Area’s commitment to online education. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Gray Area made its successful flagship certification program, the Creative Code Intensive, available online to students around the globe. These new intensives will follow a similar 10-week interactive learning format that augments theory with hands-on experience.

The Open Metaverse Intensive will run from November 15, 2022 — February 3, 2023. The Responsible Technology Intensive will run from January 15 — March 19, 2022.

Both courses are open for enrollment now at grayarea.org/learn.

About Gray Area

Gray Area is a 21st-century countercultural hub catalyzing creative action for social transformation. Our mission is to cultivate, sustain, and amplify a community of creative practitioners who apply antidisciplinary practice — including art, technology, science, and the humanities — towards engaging with the complex challenges facing our world. Through public events, education, incubation, and research, we maintain a platform that enables creators of diverse backgrounds and perspectives to transcend boundaries within deep artistic collaboration and gain agency to impact the world through category-defying work.

Press Contact

Joy Ding
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