Start of the Year Media Arts Design Engineering and Science


21 years ago, the first 3 Master of Science students enrolled in the first quarter of the then new, Media Arts and Tecnology Graduate Program at the University of California Santa Barbara. Until today, 137 students were awarded MS and PhD degrees and have gone into the world, working at some of the world's best research and teaching universities, continuing to have successful creative careers and populating the new economy of California, New England and beyond.

Media Arts and Technology education and research are strategically positioned between exploding growth areas of pervasive computation, deep and horizontal transdisciplinary inquiry at the edges of knowledge and aesthetics. We are linking computational and engineering methodologies with creative investigations, enabling the formation of research and education leaders that do not easily fit in and conform to established fields. At the same time, we are preparing our graduates for the ever growing demand in media and information technology industries, media art, technology, design and science related institutions and programs, creative and others, where new forms of transdisciplinary thinking and skills are in high demand. MAT is a unique graduate program residing both in the UCSB College of Letters and Science, Division of Humanities and Fine Arts and the College of Engineering. It was initially founded to pursue the then emerging opportunities for hybrid research and education at the intersection of arts, media arts, music, electrical and computer engineering and computer science. Since then, it has paved the way and has grown into one of the most competitive, prolific and successful graduate transdisciplinary programs of its kind both in the University of California system and worldwide.

From 2008 on, the students of MAT have been presenting their research projects in showcases, exhibitions, performances, concerts and lectures at the s.c. End of the Year Show. This was a major event on the Santa Barbara and UCSB calendars, attracting hundreds of visitors. The pandemic changed that and in the Spring of 2020 the students presented a fully online exhibition and showcase and in 2021 we have decided to change the format, so it would fit the current post-pandemic world. What ensued was the establishment of a series of showcases, exhibitions and performances under the heading SYMADES (Start of the Year Media Arts Design Engineering and Science).

SYMADES are events and situations that will take place monthly, starting in November 2021, both at UCSB as well as at the Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology - SBCAST and other venues.


Stay tuned, antennae up!


Marko Peljhan

Professor and Chair

Media Arts and Technology Program

University of California

Santa Barbara