Chapter 6: Across Disciplines: Establishing a New Media Program
Reviewed by Brittany Van Dyke
Matt Barton and Kevin Moberly focused on their collaborative endeavor to establish a new media program at St. Cloud State University. The chapter acknowledged both the process and struggles they faced with this endeavor. One struggle was the notion that such programs cost institutions too much money; another struggle was the fear of who could teach people to use the new tools. Rather than brushing these concerns aside, the authors suggested that these questions, along with others, need to be addressed by all individuals involved.
In reporting on establishing their own studio, Barton and Moberly pointed out their failures and cautioned readers to consider how centers might be perceived by others. Everyone had an idea of how such a program should look; what was often overlooked was how the space functioned. The authors argued that to make "new approaches and new modes of knowledge possible" (p. 166), the interdisciplinary nature of new media programs must be wrestled with as part of the study, not as something that must be resolved.
On the surface, this chapter discussed the changes made at one institution and demonstrated the challenges associated with taking risks. On a larger scale, however, readers are asked to reconsider their approach to new media. Rather than seeing new media as an addition to a program, Barton and Moberly argued for the need to rethink current structures and to collaborate across institutions. The chapter laid the groundwork for future conversations at other institutions about the need to re-see such programs as truly interdisciplinary.