Design Professors Liat Berdugo and Rachel Beth Egenhoefer are both headed to Los Angeles for the College Arts Association (CAA) Annual Conference. CAA is one of the largest conferences for higher education in the visual arts in the country. Academic conferences allow participants to present their research in juried and curated formats, learn about issues in the field, network with colleagues and more. Here Liat and Rachel Beth share why they’re going and what they’re looking forward to.
What will are you going to present on at the conference?
Rachel Beth: I’ll be giving a talk called “Design for Behavior Change through Data Visualization”. It will be part of a larger panel called “Art on the Nature of Data About Nature”. A lot of my recent research has been on topics in sustainable design. Design for behavior change in this area is something I’m very interested in. My talk will present a lot of different examples of artists and designers who work with data, sustainability, and behavior.
Liat: I’ll be giving a talk called “Copy Culture: Teaching Appropriation as Creative Practice” on a panel called “Copyright, Fair Use, and their Limits, Part I.” This panel is part of CAA’s Committee on Intellectual Property, which was created five years ago to monitor debates and legislation about intellectual property for the benefit of artists, designers, art historians, and art educators. I’m quite excited to be a part of this panel and to discuss the potential of fair use and appropriation as a tool for creative practice, rather than something to be simply fear wholeheartedly.
How have past conferences influenced you?
RB: I’ve gotten a lot of new ideas for teaching – technologies, readings, assignments, and whole new classes. It’s really important to always be learning new things. As educators, our learning doesn’t stop when we graduate, it has to keep going, and conferences can be a great way to keep up with what’s going on in the field.
Liat: I find the other participants very important and thrilling to meet at conferences – and I have met people that ended up becoming collaborators of mine years down the line. For instance, at this very same conference in 2012, I met the person with whom I co-founded the Living Room Light Exchange, a monthly new media art salon in the Bay Area that’s gone on to receive numerous grants and both local and national press. I also learn a good deal of new material at these conferences, and I meet the brilliant artist, historians, curators, and thinkers, with whom I might interact years down the line.
What else are you looking forward to?
RB: I’m looking forward to catching up with friends and colleagues who work at other schools around the country. It’s great to be in one place to be able to do that. I’m also looking forward to the book fair. It’s a fantastic place to check out new publications specifically in art and design. I usually come home with a much heavier suitcase!
Liat: This year, I’m joining the Board of The New Media Caucus, which is an organization that promotes the development and understanding of new media art. I’m thrilled to be joining an international team to work towards diversity and inclusion in what can sometimes be a homogenous, tech-driven field, and to work to internationalize the organization as well. Finally — and on a wholly different note — I adore going down to LA: I always make a point of seeing weird, peripheral works of art, design, and even performance!