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Cultural Computing: building a collaborative research team across the arts, humanities, sciences and enginnering

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Beck S. Cultural Computing: building a collaborative research team across the arts, humanities, sciences and enginnering. Oral presentation at 2017 SciTS Conference. Clearwater Beach, FL. Jun 13, 2017. Centers and Institutes To Promote Team Science- What Leads to Success? Online at:

This presentation is a case-study on how a transdisciplinary research collaboration was created to explore computational applications in the arts and humanities. The group’s struggles and successes provide a road map for others looking to overcome the significant structural, cultural and administrative barriers inherent in most research universities. In 2003, our university invested $9 million in recurring state funds to establish and support an interdisciplinary research center in computational science. In addition to traditional computational disciplines (materials science, fluid dynamics, astrophysics), the governing council for the center authorized the establishment of a research group in digital media, recognizing the nascent strengths at the university and the opportunity for research and economic development in this area. Challenges were plenty in establishing this new group. Money for joint faculty hires was in the originating budget, but departments and colleges were reluctant to share time and resources to support such faculty. University promotion & tenure policies did not address keys issues relating to joint appointments, and its F&A policies did not provide sufficient incentives for departmental participation in joint research projects. We overcame these barriers by identifying common goals and values, requiring financial buy-in from departments, and sharing the benefits (financial and intellectual) among all participating units. We will present two instances where faculty colocation, shared values and random coffee meetings led to significant scientific and artistic breakthroughs. Projects in tangible interaction and music-overnetworks will illustrate the transdisciplinary nature of the research. And we will focus on how research teams were identified, assembled and incentivized to address complex artistic problems that cross the arts, humanities, science and engineering.



Type of Publication:

Oral presentation


scits 2017 conference, presentation, interdisciplinary research team

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Provide institutional support for team science
  • Conduct research on/evaluate team science

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Resource created by Jane Hwang on 10/3/2017 11:53:38 AM.

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