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Interdisciplinary arts

Interdisciplinary arts

Interdisciplinary Arts is an academic department in the School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago . As one of the earliest interdisciplinary arts programs in the United States, it has been an incubator for new approaches to art making for the past 30 years. Guided by the principle That interdisciplinarity “is a defining characteristic of contemporary practice art” [1] and “A Necessary prerequisite For Those artists Who will shape the future of creative practice”, [2] the Artists Who work in the Interdisciplinary Arts department Investigate new ground.

Examining concepts, forms and techniques from across the spectrum, performing and media arts, students work with a diverse array of unique and experimental approaches that interrogate artist books, installations, gesture and movement, sound art, durational performance, interactive media, video, performance media, papermaking, letterpress, etching and offset printing, electronically controlled artefacts, online artwork, performance in artificial spaces, multiple democratic, written, spoken and performed, text, dramatic forms, DIY / DIT collaborative strategies and relational art forms.


Interdisciplinary Arts was formulated in Chicago II, 1976, by Suzanne Cohan-Lange , Jean Unsworth, and Rebecca Ruben. [3] Originally accepted by the Chicago Consortium of Colleges as a multi-university program, in 1981, it was established as a permanent department at Columbia College Chicago . [4] At that time, the Interdisciplinary Arts MA program was formalized within the context of the department. Since then, two MFA degrees have been added: the Interdisciplinary Book & MFA Arts Paper, launched in 1994; and the Interdisciplinary Arts & Media MFA, launched in 2002. The founding of the Interdisciplinary Arts program is preceded by the undergraduate program in the Studio for Interrelated MediaFounded by Harris Barron in 1969 at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston.


The Interdisciplinary Arts MA is for art teachers who want to expand their repertoire of techniques, as well as assisting practitioners in expanding their practice to include new media. It is immersed in the traditional art media that make up the heart of the program: visual art, movement, sound, writing, and drama.

The Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts MFA program enables students to participate in the contemporary art world by encouraging them to consider book and paper for a site for interdisciplinary practice. It promotes the understanding of hand-writing and the arts as well as the application of cultural discourse, community building, and collaborative practice.

The Interdisciplinary Arts & Media MFA fosters an innovative dialogue between the fine, performing and media arts. It is a graduate program for professional artists who want to be integrated into their art and practice, and they want to expand their performance, installation, interactive, and relational art forms.


In the 916 S. Wabash building are housed the departmental offices, faculty offices, conference room, reading hall, two smart classrooms, large computer labs, three lab installations and the media equipment center. Additionally, the Center for Book and Paper Arts is part of the Interdisciplinary Arts department. The Center for Book and Paper Arts occupies the entire second floor of the historic Ludington Building at 1104 South Wabash and includes a papermaking studio, a letterpress facility, a bookbindery, a gallery, a smart classroom, a multi-purpose space for performance and readings , a computer room, a space room, studio space for artists, a resource room, and offices for the staff. Also at 1104 South Wabash are studio spaces for the MFA students.


  • Michelle Lemon
  • Jeff Abell
  • Sherry Antonini
  • Paul Catanese
  • Joseph Fosco
  • David Jude Greene
  • Mary Kennedy
  • Jenny Magnus
  • Clifton Meador
  • Jeanine Mellinger
  • Melissa Potter
  • Mat Rappaport
  • Brian Saner
  • Miram Schaer]
  • Eric Scholl
  • Nana Shineflug
  • Doug Stapleton
  • Mirella Tanta
  • Nancy VanKanegan


  1. Jump up^ Interdisciplinary Arts Department,”Interdisciplinary Arts Department Mission Statement”, Retrieved Nov. 6, 2009.
  2. Jump up^ Interdisciplinary Arts Department,”Interdisciplinary Arts Department Homepage”, Retrieved 6 Nov 2009.
  3. Jump up^ Watkins, Beverly T., In Non-Traditional, Interdisciplinary Study at Columbia College, Artists Get a Chance to Broaden Their Horizons, Hone Creativity,”Chronicle of Higher Education,”v37 n3 pA17,20 Sep 19 1990,ISSN 0009 -5982, Retrieved Nov 9, 2009.
  4. Jump up^ Columbia College Oral History Project,”Columbia College Oral History Project”, Retrieved 9 Nov 2009.