“Contrary to popular belief, I was not born under some auspicious sign, playing Mozart and doodling hyper-realistic portraits since I was two days old,” explains Marc Rusli of his passion for the arts as he majors in physics. “I developed each skill slowly during some period in my life…Doodling was the only option I had to relieve boredom…I sometimes wonder whether I would have any amount of drawing skill if I had been born five years later, whether I would entertain myself with an iPad rather than pencils and paper.”
The introduction of computers in the linguistics field have made it easier for researchers to verify their research and data. “It allows linguistic researchers to off-load the tedious part of verifying analyses to a computer,” said linguistics scholar Emily Bender in a recent talk at UC Santa Barbara.
Bender currently teaches at the University of Washington. Her main area of research is multilingual grammar engineering, computational semantics and the relationship between linguistics and computational linguistics.
“I grew up listening to independent music,” writes third-year UCSB English major Angie Garcia. “But until recently, I had never questioned how and when music should be categorized as indie. Then, an intriguing question popped out at me from a UC Santa Barbara music course description: ‘What does it mean for music to be independent?’ The class was called Independent Music in America and I immediately knew I had to sign up for it.”
The course takes a historical look at the underground music from the 1970s to the present in the United States. In seminar style, the class is led by David Novak from the Ethnomusicology Program and specifically explores the punk movement that began with bands such as Minor Threat, Black Flag, and Beat Happening and the genres that expanded out it.
Art and technology have often been thought of as separate domains. But in recent years, artists have been integrating more technology in their work. “Computation shapes the way people make things,” said Stanford Computer Science researcher Jennifer Jacobs to a crowded room in Elings Hall during a Media and Art Technology seminar last week.
Although computational tools and computer programs are used more now than ever it can be difficult to fully integrate technology into art and design because of how different each artist is. “Developers of computational tools struggle to provide appropriate constraints and degrees of freedom to match the needs of diverse practitioners,” Jacobs said.
Los Angeles multidisciplinary artist Rafa Esparza spoke about the progression of his creative identity during an installment of the Fall 2018 Arts Colloquium last week. Esparza’s performance art, often involving adobe bricks and Aztec dance, engages with topics like indigeneity and colonialism as he critiques harmful power structures.
“Had I not taken that Writing Program class, I may have dropped out. Had I not watched that movie and heard that legendary journalist talk about how he discovered the newest best restaurants before anyone, heard him speak about how every bite of food tasted—making me feel the ambiance of every locale —who knows where I would be now? But that movie, and more importantly Jonathan Gold, did what two years of switching majors couldn’t do. “
Writing student Justin Mallette recounts how an encounter with the late Pulitzer-Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold, inspired him to remain at UC Santa Barbara and become a writer.
To kick off the History of Art and Architecture's Digital Image Lab series, UC Santa Barbara Geography professor Keith Clarke led a Wednesday afternoon mapmaking workshop. "Anybody can sit down in front of a computer and make a map," he said. Though the process initially seemed complex, Clarke showed how digital programs have made it easier to create and access maps.
Speaking at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s Taubman Symposium in Jewish Studies, Middle East expert and former diplomat Dennis Ross Ross said that President Trump has “a policy — but not a strategy” for the Middle East.
He pointed out that Trump’s actions show a pattern – a tendency to favor counter-terrorism and counter-Iranian policies, as well as a desire to resolve to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. But, he said, there are flaws in the Trump administrations approach to all three of these Middle East policy areas, and those shortcomings prevent long-term progress.
“There’s no place where we are neutral. All of us are affected,” American actor and humanitarian Danny Glover urged his appreciative audience at UC Santa Barbara during last week’s conference titled “A Black Vision of Change.”
The 3-day event marked the 50th anniversary of the 1968 North Hall Takeover and honored those who participated in the protest, in which 12 students barricaded themselves in a campus building to demand equal treatment for black students, as well as a more relevant curriculum for students of color. The protest action led to the creation of the Department of Black Studies and the Center for Black Studies Research in 1969, as well as Chicano/a Studies. It also paved the way for the creation of Asian American Studies, Feminist Studies, and other minority studies on campus.
Author and psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison recently addressed UC Santa Barbara Writing Program students and community members about the commonly misunderstood topic of mood disorders.
Humanities, she said, are vital because they help people to understand one another, and when people are quiet about their struggles, those struggles may seem abnormal and frightening to the rest of society. “One of the great things that can be done is to write,” she said as she scanned the small room full of young writers who had gathered for a creative workshop.
The following evening in Campbell Hall, Jamison discussed bipolar disorder in the context of her personal experience and professional career.
Author and environmentalist T.A. Barron has $500,000 to establish endowed fund for environmental leadership in the humanities that benefits undergraduate students.
“Environmental advocacy is above all else an act of persuasion,” said John Majewski, the Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts at UCSB. “Given all the ways in which our culture communicates about significant and important issues — including literature, music, film and the arts — the humanities have a vital role in addressing the critical environmental issues that now confront us.”
With more than 70 faculty members who teach courses that address issues in the environmental humanities, UCSB already is an international leader in the field. The campus already has a range of related programming, from the English department’s Literature and the Environment Center, to the Environmental/Climate Justice Hub based at the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, among others.
Pollock Theater director Matthew Ryan introduced UC Santa Barbara to the Script to Screen series in 2010, an event that features classic or current films followed by a question and answer session with its screenwriters. That same year, he started the Pollock Internship, a program that enlists students interested in film, screenwriting, and production, to put on Pollock Theater events. Writing student Tyler Carr interviewed him for her Journalism for Web and Social Media course.
Renowned Haitian singer Emeline Michel's performed at UC Santa Barbara as part of the Center for Black Studies Research's annual Haiti Flag Week, dedicated to celebrating Haitian culture and marking the country’s independence and the creation of its flag in May, 1803.
Other events included the screening of “Charcoal,” a short film by Haitian filmmaker and photographer Francesca Andre, which captures the parallel stories of two Black women and their lifelong journey to overcome internalized colorism as they find self-acceptance and ultimately redemption. And Jana Braziel, visiting from Miami University, spoke about her book “Riding with Death: Vodou Art and Urban Ecology in the Streets of Port-au-Prince.”
Violence, memory and history. That was the theme of the first ever Latin American and Iberian Studies graduate student conference, held this spring at UC Santa Barbara.
The conference gathered 24 graduate students from universities both in the United States and Europe. Each graduate student presented the topics they discussed in their thesis statements.
Michelle Sharp, a double major in Art and Mathematics who graduated this spring, decided to branch out from her background in mathematics to expand her repertoire in the arts. Sharp is among a growing number of UCSB students who are combining STEM majors with those in the Humanities and Fine Arts.
Sharp exhibited much of her photography in the Glass Box Galleries, which feature student and faculty creative work on campus. And she created an animated short, “Agnus’ Front Lawn,” for one of her film production classes, which is a comedy about an old woman trying to win the neighborhood’s lawn competition.
After exploring the ins and outs of various creative departments, Sharp is finding her passion in animation. She finds it is easy to get jobs in art-related fields, saying it takes hard work but if you are dedicated it isn’t much different than finding jobs in STEM related fields.
Commencement 2018 speaker Katy Tur of MSNBC tells UC Santa Barbara graduates in Humanities and Fine Arts and Social Sciences how studying philosophy helped her navigate the world of broadcast journalism.
“Do what you like. Do it for a cause that is bigger than you. And you will have fun,” Tur said at the Sunday, June 17, graduation ceremony. “Sometimes what makes a job fun is that it matters.”
Tur graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2005, majoring in philosophy. She is author of the 2017 bestseller Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History.
Tune in to a Livestream of Commencement speaker Katy Tur's address to UC Santa Barbara Humanities and FIne Arts Graduates, at 9 am PT, Sunday, June 17:
Click on this post to read all about Tur’s journey from UC Santa Barbara philosophy student to a leading author and broadcaster who covered the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.
Peruvian-American mezzo-soprano Kelly Newberry was 14 years old when she found her vocal gift. She walked into high school in Simi Valley and signed up for choir since she needed an elective and all her friends were doing it. The teacher gave her a solo and that marked the beginning of her music career.
Newberry remembers when an opera singer from Austria came into her high school class offering voice lessons and sang Habanera from Carmen. Still not very much convinced that it was what she wanted to do, Newberry signed up and during her first lesson the instructor stared at her and told her she had an amazing voice for opera.
“I fell in love with it because of how emotional and raw opera can be and it’s so unabashedly emotional,” she recalls.
Passion, innovation, and inspiring talent were on display at Campbell Hall last month at an annual student-run showcase for filmmakers, artists, musicians, and other performers. Students and the larger community applauded 12 of UC Santa Barbara’s filmmakers and other creative artists at the 27th annual Reel Loud Film and Art Festival where student-directed silent short films were accompanied by live on-stage music. Nine months of hard work and dedication from the Reel Loud organizing team paid off in an evening filled with musical performances, art features, and a room full of people ready to be inspired.
Rhuigi Villaseñor, founder of Rhude Designs, combined his immigrant background and artistic vision to rise to the top of the fashion industry by age 25. He got his start in fashion as an intern and he now hires young interns with an interest in fashion and marketing - including Chris J. Capatia, a UC Santa Barbara Humanities and Fine Arts philosophy major. Capatia interviewed Villaseñor about his ‘rags to riches’ life story.