Creative Research Teams 

Students, professionals and faculty come together to form interdisciplinary teams often combining undergraduate and graduate students.

Projects + Workshops 

Joshua Tree Animation. Human activities have catapulted us into the 6th major extinction event on our planet where we will continue to see rapid species loss with far reaching consequences. Art has the potential to connect people to concepts at an emotional level and is a powerful tool to communicate difficult science concepts. 

Bio-Sensing Workshop with Sussex University of UCSC. A Practice-based research workshop organized by: Dr Emile Devereaux and Dr Kate O’Riordan, University of Sussex, working with Prof Jennifer Parker and David Harris at UCSC OpenLab during the UCSC-SUSSEX Digital Media Exchange.

The Slugs to Sludge Wastewater 5K is a walk which follows the path of wastewater from the UC-Santa Cruz campus to the Wastewater Treatment Plant at Neary Lagoon. Along the way, participants will learn about the poetics and politics of human waste, and the water required to process it, as they travel through several different hybrid landscapes of wilderness and human infrastructure.

Bronze rings cast directly from 3D printed prototypes for OpenLab's Blue Trail:Oceanic Scales project

Blue Trail Design Jam created as a laboratory for imagination and innovation, the day kicked off with “meet and greet” activities as well as presentations by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, UCSC Institute of Marine Sciences and the United Nations Safe Planet Campaign. Following, participants formed interdisciplinary teams and worked through a facilitated “design thinking” process to produce a final project concept by the end of the day.

THRIVE Infant Family Program Research has shown that talking with your baby while in the NICU supports cognition and language development at 18 months!  Your baby knows you best and you can make the difference in development just by learning with the APP. You are not alone in the NICU because THRIVE supports you with a virtual parent group, music, movement and stories about talking with your baby!

VJ & Projection Mapping workshop with visiting artist Joel Dittrich

Phyto Heros- Alliance Data & EPSILON awarded a generous Community Outreach Grant to Oceanic Scales, funding the completion of an educational app version of the project that also serves as an augmented reality system to help reveal hidden layers of the Oceanic Scales interactive puzzle. 

The IDEA Hub is a campus-wide initiative for students, created to spread social and creative entrepreneurship at UCSC, Led by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development (CIED) . A network of incubation facilities, fellowships, seminars, workshops, and mentorships provide students space to critically think about the challenges facing society and propose pathways for meaningful intervention.

HiVE 3D Fabrication Tutorial: Learn Free Alternative Software to Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator

Friday January 19, 2-4pm with J Gaston. The HiVE is located in the Art Department, across from the wood shop in studio A101. Please bring your own laptop with pre-installed software: Inkscape and Pixlr. See flyer for details

TRANSMUTATIONS developed in collaboration with sonicSENSE, a platform created by Barney Haynes and Jennifer Parker, in collaboration with UCSC Mechatronics graduate students in the Digital Art New Media program. Final works were displayed for 3 months at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts in San Francisco, CA. in 2011.

SonicSENSE was created by Barney Haynes and Jennifer Parker in 2008 as an expandable and evolving site for art, culture, new technologies, digital media, collaboration, and participation. SonicSENSE uses the creative diversity of computational media and traditional visual art practices to cultivate space for sharing, questioning, and exploring interdisciplinary frameworks, methodologies, and experiences. Read more

Formula Slug is a nonprofit organization at UC Santa Cruz created for students, by students. Our team attracts like-minded, driven individuals and fosters a friendly environment for developing real-world experience. OpenLab has supported solar powered projects with Formula Slug.

In this session, Aristea will present a media analysis of FitBit, a cloud-based tracking device which monitors a range of activities linked to weight loss and tness activity. Her focus is on FitBit blogs, media coverage, and user interface (device screen, phone app and website). Through this exploration she will locate tness tracking sensors in digital culture and discuss emerging self-management behaviours.

Changing our conversation about water. On November 21st, HOK Nexus sponsored a water workshop to begin a conversation about the current state of our water infrastructure and supply in California. Professor Parker was invited to contribute as OpenLab director with two graduate students in the DANM program.

 Art + Astrophysics Lab in the Digital Arts Research Center worsk closely with OpenLab founding Professors Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz and Jennifer Parker with support from the UCSC NSF REU- Lamat Summer Research Program, OpenLab, and the SLUG: Supercomputer lab for Undergraduates.

Blue Trail Innovation + Imagination for Ocean Sustainability. Despite a growing awareness of “green,” most people are unaware that our actions are polluting, depleting and killing the biodiversity of the ocean—or that we can make a difference. The ocean crisis is at a tipping point—the time for “blue” is now.

Collaborative Work created with Professor Jennifer Parker and DANM graduate students in the Mechatronics research cohort. Mechatronics is the functional integration of mechanical, electronic, and information technologies.


Flag Field is an installation of 196 flags on the surface of the moon, forming a complete 14-row square grid—one flag for each country officially recognized by the United Nations at the time of this writing.

OpenLab: Creating Art + Science Platforms to Engage Citizens and Grow Community Workshops, Exhibits, and Talks, organized by Jennifer Parker. Include participatory workshops: Learn about Phytoplankton, Desalination and Bike Mechanics. Create CB Radios, Discover How to Build DIY Water Rafts and Play Yahoo Answers Jeopardy Game Show

ArtHERE (2012) was a new initiative and online platform for crowd-sourced urban revitalization through the matching of art and place. Seeking a test platform and catalyst for the program, the artist group behind ArtHERE and ZERO1 have collaboratively positioned the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial as the launch pad for the first region-specific platform

Dynamic Mechatronics for Artists, UCiRA + OpenLab Sponsored Workshop with Sudhu Tewari 

DANM Mechatronics + OpenLab

The following is a sampling of works created in collaboration with Professor Jennifer Parker and DANM graduate students in the Mechatronics research cohort, with additional undergraduate student team members from several disciplines across campus.

Mechatronics is the functional integration of mechanical, electronic, and information technologies.  In Digital Arts and New Media Graduate (DANM) program at UCSC this framework is employed for the development and production of physical, systems-based artwork that incorporates elements of robotics, motion control, software engineering, and hardware design. DANM Mechatronics research involves the use of a variety of media including video, performance, sound, and sculpture to create complex kinetic audio-visual systems for the exploration of temporality, materiality, experience, perception at the root of collaborative research.