ACTLab@EGS Summer 2011 Class at European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, Switzerland. For this occasion, the ACTLab umbrella is yellow.:-) Missing from this photo is Joachim Schmidt, director of the Swiss Expressive Arts Institute and ACTLab@EGS faculty.


ACTLab@EGS is our newest sister program, located in the high Alps at the foot of the Allalin Glacier in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. ACTLab@EGS provides Digital Arts and Media and Media Literacy programs in association with the European Graduate School (EGS). We're in the Arts, Health and Society division. The ACTLab@EGS website is here.

UIW Convergent Media

The Convergent Media Program at University of the Incarnate Word is our sister program, located in San Antonio, Texas. Founded by ACTLabbie Joseph Lopez, the Convergent Media program offers a creative space for students to flourish in theory, technology and practice. Their website is here.

The ACTLab Program

We no longer offer formal, semester-by-semester ACTLab courses at UT.

Activities of various kinds continue, though. We'll provide updates here as we rework the website. Sandy's "retirement" from UT (she insists on putting it in quotes) marked the end of the first ACTLab phase, which ran from 1993 to 2010. As you can tell, though (see the above photo for an example), she hasn't retired from teaching elsewhere, or from other kinds of adventures. Meanwhile, until we manage to rework the entire ACTLab website, please treat the information below and on subsequent pages as historical.

The Historical ACTLab (the Mothership)

The UT ACTLab was a radical new kind of experimental program based on interactive, collaborative, student-centered learning, created by a unique international and transdisciplinary group of artists, scholars, teachers, techies, and hackers. Founded in 1993 by Allucquere Rosanne (Sandy) Stone, our special qualities derived from courses and activities based on the ACTLab's unique pedagogy; our custom multimodal studio specifically designed for ACTLab work; the enthusiasm and dedication of our community; the guiding vision of our directors, visiting artists and lecturers; and our students' broad spectrum of interests.

ACTLab programs help students to:

their skills using ACTLab principles of intensive discussion, conceptual freeplay, and intellectual daring. Working in the ACTLab's technology-rich environment, students would master cutting edge hardware and software with an eye toward new ways of representing their work. We encouraged unconventional approaches, flexibility, and transdisciplinarity, not only for their intrinsic worth, but because multiple knowledge sets are what you need to thrive in an era of exponential change.
by study and example to translate their research into advanced media, emergent technology, sound, movement, performance, and other dynamic modes of representation.
a member of the ACTLab's international community of award-winning researchers, entrepreneurs, performers, artists, and scholars.
their advice and experience via ACTLab mailing lists, workshops,and personal encounters.
You can participate in the ACTLab community in many different ways. If you take ACTLab courses at one of our sister programs, your final work, besides being an exploration and/or refinement of your semester's theoretical studies, will be an original contribution to the development of transdisciplinary approaches to research, redefining the scholarly mission, and exploring new pedagogy for the twenty-first century university.

We're aware and proud of our past twenty years of contributions to modern thinking, advanced communication theory and practice, and academic excellence. We're proud to say that we didn't jump on the New Media bandwagon -- we created it.
The ACTLab and our sister ACTLabs are shaped and distinguished by the extraordinarily diverse backgrounds and skill sets of its faculty, students, and guests. From its inception, the ACTLab has been a major international presence in defining the nature and direction of new transdisciplinary organizations. ACTLab principles of risk-taking, extreme interdisciplinarity, and openness to innovation have been extensively quoted and debated at institutions worldwide as they attempt to chart their own future courses.
ACTLab courses are concept-driven, rather than skills-driven, but making -- activity which requires physical engagement -- is the heart of our pedagogy. The basis for our class structure is that deep learning engages all the senses. We believe that theory flows from the act of making. We consider hermeneutics to be the basis of ACTLab philosophy: active, playful engagement, informed by individual effort and open to surprise. The point of each ACTLab course is to help you define, develop, and produce a project that reflects on the social, cultural, aesthetic, political, and personal issues raised in that particular class. For undergraduates and for masters students doing projects and reports, our aim is to teach you critical thinking about media and technology and to help you develop a portfolio of representative projects to take with you when you graduate. For masters students doing theses and doctoral students, our goal is to quicken your appreciation of technology's foibles and potentials, and to ask research questions that interconnect with these technologies and their social, economic, aesthetic, political, and personal environments.


MAKE STUFF refers to the philosophical concept of poiesis: that is, human culture arises from the essential act of making. TAKE RISKS doesn't mean thrashing, but rather learning to welcome the unexpected and to create circumstances in which you can be surprised by your own work. In the real world, being comfortable with risk means you are ready to unhesitatingly sieze opportunities when they speed by. And BE AWESOME means being ready to put all of your potential out there where others, including possible employers, can appreciate it.

We offer you the opportunity to engage cutting-edge technologies, but we also encourage you to view these as means rather than as ends in themselves. Make sure you're taking advantage of technology, rather than waking up to find that technology is taking advantage of you. That's why we encourage critical thinking, and offer you the opportunity to engage cutting-edge theory along with making.
We situate our work at the hotly contested intersections where technology, art, and culture collide. ACTLab courses have a broad range and allow for multiple topics. You can taste a course or two or work intensively over time, and even repeat courses because course topics always change.

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