New-Media Artist Named to MacArthur Foundation Endowed Chair

San Diego, Jan. 16, 2015 — Visual Arts professor Sheldon Brown is one of two distinguished UC San Diego faculty who have been appointed to hold University of California endowed faculty chairs supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, in areas of particular interest to the foundation. Brown is a long-time participant in Calit2 and former leader of its new-media arts initiatives.

Sheldon Brown

UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla appointed Brown from the Division of Arts and Humanities to hold the MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning. (At the same time, Khosla appointed School of International Relations and Pacific Studies professor Emilie Hafner-Burton to hold the MacArthur Foundation Chair in International Justice and Human Rights.

In 1981, the MacArthur Foundation—one of the nation’s largest independent foundations—established a $1.2 million endowment to support an endowed chair that would rotate among the University of California campuses. The endowment has since generated seven systemwide chairs that rotate among the UC campuses in five-year increments. UC San Diego’s first allocation of these prestigious systemwide chairs will be from 2014 to 2019. Brown and Hafner-Burton will each be supported by a $1 million endowment for a five-year term.

“Endowed chairs, which provide support for the chair holder’s scholarly activities, are critical to attracting and retaining exceptional faculty in a wide range of academic fields,” said UC San Diego Executive Vice Chancellor Suresh Subramani. “We are delighted to recognize Sheldon Brown and Emilie Hafner-Burton with appointments to these prestigious chairs so generously endowed by the MacArthur Foundation.”

Sheldon Brown is director of the campus’s Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination and UC San Diego site director for the Center for Hybrid Multicore Productivity Research, sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

In her nomination of Brown for the endowed faculty chair, Dean of Arts and Humanities Cristina Della Coletta stated, “Professor Brown’s innovative and cross-disciplinary practice and his varied contributions to the profession satisfy in an exemplary way the spirit of the MacArthur endowment and reflect the level of distinction that UC San Diego requires of all its chair holders. In over 20 years at UC San Diego, Professor Brown has brought insight and creativity to a boldly interdisciplinary arena that uses digital media to engage disciplines traditionally as disparate as neuroscience and sculpture, literature and medicine, and engineering and the visual arts. His works dwell in the fertile and capacious space where contemporary art meets cutting edge computer science.”

“The endowed chair award will help to further my work in creating insightful experiences that engage the elusive qualities of aesthetics and imagination,” said Brown. “Digital media provides a platform for responsive environments where an individual’s state of mind can attenuate interactions with mediated phenomena. The ultimate outcome of this work is the ability to create richer, deeper and more nuanced cultural and learning experiences.”

Related Links

Clarke Center for Human Imagination

Media Contacts

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Doug Ramsey,