Posted in communication and networking, design and architecture, education, electronic imaging and displays, engineering, Illumination

Receive an MA in Creative Tinkering

I’m probably too young to be saying this, but have you ever discovered a new activity or class or sport and thought to yourself, “Id only I’d known about this sooner!”

I stumbled upon this cool graduate program,  the N.Y.U. Interactive Telecommunications Program. The students’ Winter 2008 projects were featured in Scientific American, and there’s a reason: they’re very impressive. According to the magazine, “from hacking a piano to mix and dispense cocktails to rigging a Twitter-powered mobile of birds, students married tech to whimsy for their 2008 winter show.” They combined tinkering and art to create some really original ideas and projects, and even those that weren’t original took a previously-used idea and definitely gave it a new spin.

The entire Interactive Telecommunications Program, which sounds like it’s a degree for computer software writers, is geared to teach people how to design games, build musical instruments and create works of interactive art. It claims to be the first graduate program in alternative media, and is housed in the Tisch School of the Arts.

There are lots of different projects being done by the different students and faculty, mostly social media-driver, or certainly riffing off people’s new fascination with digital communication. The Penultimater, for example, is just an electronic version of the group story-writing project.

The program is housed in a famous arts college, but it’s hard to tell if this is a technology degree or arts degree, and that’s the best part. Who knew that there was a graduate program geared specifically towards people who love K’NEX and crayons!



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.