School of Art
The University of Houston
4800 Calhoun Rd.
Houston, TX 77204-4019

Main Office Phone:
713-743-3001

Undergraduate office:
713-743-3670

Graduate office:
713-743-2830 

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Interdisciplinary Practice and Emerging Forms

Program description

The influence of ubiquitous information, geopolitics and technology has profoundly changed the ways in which we understand and engage the world. Fields of artistic practice have expanded to respond to those influences with new languages, tools, and hybrid forms.

The MFA program in Interdisciplinary Practice and Emerging Forms (IPEF) recognizes that contemporary practice is often located between or beyond traditional disciplines, and defines art-making as a series of approaches supported by theory, analysis and conceptualization.

IPEF functions as an intermedia laboratory with students working collaboratively and individually in an intensive, critical environment. Students are encouraged to explore and combine systems of knowledge, to challenge conventions of production and presentation, to identify new fields of investigation as well as new media, and to embrace experimentation as an operating premise.

Studios include focused workshops in live performance, sound, experimental writing, 3D design, site-practice, robots and sensors, interactive agents, networks, geolocative media, animation and gaming, among other topics. Seminars support the refinement of critical and contextual awareness – essential tools in the development of both art and artist.

The IPEF program is supported by unique resources and collaborations across the university including the Faculty Affiliate Network (FAN)and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the ArtsFAN is a network of faculty from across the university who are interested in collaboration, mentorship, sharing expertise, and establishing meaningful interface with artists. Affiliates are leading scholars drawn from, but not limited to research units such as Architecture, Biology, Engineering, Computer Science, Economics, Psychology, Religion and Anthropology.

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts cultivates interdisciplinary collaboration in the performing, visual, and literary arts, by offering public events, residencies, and courses that fuse artistic disciplines, ignite dialogue, and present new ways of experiencing the arts in contemporary life.

Admission to IPEF is based primarily on portfolio and statement of purpose. We encourage not only candidates holding degrees in new media or emerging fields, but also candidates who are motivated, enthusiastic, experimenters involved in original research.