Northwestern faculty visit Qatar to teach new media and technology course

The course features topics ranging from live video performance to strategies for sound and music as well the use of alternate screens.

Students at NU-Q are being introduced to technical aspects of entertainment media by three visiting faculty members from Northwestern’s Radio/TV/Film (RTVF) department in the School of Communication. The course, Media Performance Technologies, is being presented in three parts, all unified around the common theme of live media performance.

“NU-Q’s programs and curriculum are complemented by the knowledge and resources of its home campus in the U.S.,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO at NU-Q. “Our cross-campus collaboration efforts have made this course possible and will have reciprocal academic benefits for both schools.”

The tripartite course augments NU-Q’s other entertainment media offerings in documentary and narrative film as well as screenwriting and acting. “The new course responds to student requests to cover important topics that are not part of the school’s regular course offerings,” said Dennis.

With topics ranging from live video performance to strategies for sound and music as well the use of alternate screens, NU-Q students will “benefit from three master teachers who are steeped in entertainment industries,” according to Dean Dennis.

The first section, taught by Professor Eric Patrick introduces students to live video performance through software for creating live video mixes that can be performed in different settings, including the veejay culture where projection mapping is projected onto various complex surfaces, along with the creation and curation of motion graphics. Patrick’s commercial animation and independent experimental works have been extensively screened at international festivals, museums, and on television. With more than 25 years’ experience in the industry, Patrick has received significant recognition, including Emmy nominations, fellowships, and grants. Patrick is an associate professor at Northwestern and teaches courses in animation and data visualization. 

A second five-week module will be led by Northwestern RTVF lecturer Stephan Moore, and will focus on strategies and software for the live creation and performance of electronic sound and music. Topics covered will include sampling, beat programming, basic audio effects manipulation and creation, basic algorithmic composition, live audio production concepts, performance techniques, and collaborative performance. Moore is an acclaimed sound-artist who specializes in the creation and perception of sonic environments. He has created sound installations and sound designs for major theater productions as well as solo and group performances.

The last section of the course will be taught by Chaz Evans. During this section, students will explore the relationship between screens, the spaces around screens, and human performance. Evans will also teach students to use a range of creative approaches to initiate playful situations of live performance. Evans is also a lecturer at Northwestern’s School of Communication, where he teaches software, performance, and histories of art and technology.

“This modular course is the first of its kind at NU-Q and students have been very excited about it,” said Scott Curtis, director of the communication program. "It is designed to expose students to a variety of hardware and software that might not normally come together, in order to create and then project sounds and images in live performance situations in public spaces. It combines our students’ interest in media technologies with their passion for performance.”