CCA Hosts 2015 AICAD Symposium: Exploring Science in the Studio November 5–7

Exploring Science in the Classroom


San Francisco, Calif., August 25, 2015 -- More than 250 educators, artists, designers, and scientists from across North America will participate in the 2015 AICAD Symposium: Exploring Science in the Studio, November 5–7 at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco. 

The symposium, sponsored in part by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, Workday, and the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), examines the place, purpose, potential, and role of science in contemporary art and design education.

One of the oldest and most influential art and design schools in the country, CCA is pursuing ways to enable its students to take their places as scientifically literate problem solvers in a variety of careers.

Exploring Science in the Studio

The 2015 AICAD Symposium is the culmination of a multiyear project begun in 2011 to integrate science into the art and design studio curricula at CCA. The symposium aims to present the successes achieved and challenges faced at CCA and other art and design colleges that are also working in this cross-disciplinary arena.

Two CCA projects funded by the NSF grant will also be presented at the symposium: Sci-Studios, interdisciplinary thematic studios that allow faculty to embed visiting scientists directly into their curricula; and MUSE (Mobile Units for Scientific Exploration), a cart and organizational system that allows faculty to bring science equipment, materials, and collections directly into the studio, the classroom, and the field.

Symposium Highlights

A host of speakers will present on a wide range of topics from data visualization and technology to biomimicry and sustainability.  

Case studies will present projects and best practices in science in art and design education such as CCA's “Science in the Studio” (November 6, 1 p.m.); Combining Science, Art, Design, and the Humanities at RISD (November 6, 2:45 p.m.); and UCSC's OpenLab: Art & Science Research Center, (November 6, 1:45 p.m.).

Panelists will provide expertise and lead discussions on various topics ranging from the practical (Funding Science Initiatives, Online Curricular Models) to the conceptual (The Brain as Field, Public Poetic Interventions).

Workshops and field trips will give participants an opportunity to explore CCA's rich local environment and resources -- both natural (The Bay Observatory at the Exploratorium, Design in Nature at Bolinas Bay, and Biomimicry in Mission Bay) and technological (workshop at Autodesk's Pier 9 and an Energy Design Storm at CCA).

Registration & Information

To register for the symposium and associated workshops, visit the EventBrite website. For additional information, including a full schedule and speakers' bios, visit CCA's Exploring Science in the Studio website.

Keynote Lecture: Friday, November 6

Keynote speaker Natalie Jeremijenko, associate professor in the Visual Art Department at NYU, will speak at 5 p.m. on Friday, November 6, at CCA’s Perry Family Center at 350 Kansas Street.

Natalie Jeremijenko is an artist, engineer, and inventor with a speciality in environmental and urban issues. Jeremijenko’s practice develops the emerging field of socio-ecological systems design crucial in the Anthropocene, using attractions and ongoing participatory research spectacles to reimagine our collective relationship to natural systems.

This integrates diverse strategies to redesign energy, food, and transportation systems that can contribute to the common good, increase soil, aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, and improve human and environmental health.

Tickets to the keynote are included in the symposium registration fee. Additionally, a free livestream of the presentation will be available for public viewing in Timken Lecture Hall on the San Francisco campus of CCA.

Free Public Events on November 6

For a complete lineup of free events open to the public, view the schedule.


AICAD, the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design, is a nonprofit consortium of 43 leading art schools in the United States and Canada. It was founded in 1991 by a group of 25 presidents who felt a need for the similarly structured art schools to come together so as to mutually develop their schools and programs. Our mission is to help strengthen the member colleges individually and collectively, and to inform the public about these colleges and the value of studying art and design.

About California College of the Arts

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) offers 22 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design, and writing. The college offers BFA, MFA, BArch, MArch, MAAD, MBA, MDes, and MA degrees. It has campuses in San Francisco and Oakland and currently enrolls 2,000 full-time students. CCA students are encouraged to work in an interdisciplinary manner, undertaking projects and collaborations with students in other majors and engaging with outside communities.

Noted alumni include the artists Nathan Oliveira, Jules de Balincourt, Robert Arneson, Robert Bechtle, Viola Frey, and Peter Voulkos; the Oscar-winning filmmaker Audrey Marrs; the illustrator Tomie de Paola; the conceptual artists Harrell Fletcher, David Ireland, and Dennis Oppenheim; and the designers Lucille Tenazas, Michael Vanderbyl, and Gary Hutton.