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May 15, 2013

Conference explores media, technology, and a ‘culture consumed’

Digital technologies have transformed the way people learn, work, and interact with each another. But with new digital tools come tremendous responsibilities, as well as questions about personal identity, methods of representation, and access to information.

Academics and industry insiders will explore the evolving and at times unknown digital landscape at a three-day conference, “Decoding the Digital: Media, Technology and a Culture Consumed?,” held at the University, Sept. 12–14.

The conference will feature talks that delve into the possibilities that digital media bring to art, education, medicine, research, and entertainment, and include discussions of how progress sometimes brings unexpected consequences.

“We want to celebrate innovation but be attentive to all that accompanies it, such as forgetting about who we are and how we interact with each other,” says Thomas DiPiero, dean for humanities and interdisciplinary studies.

DiPiero says the conference offers an uncommon mix of industry leaders and academics whose talks range from hacking, social media, and marketing to race and ethnicity in the digital age. Industry insiders include experts from Warner Brothers, TVGla, and Intel Labs.

Open to students, scholars, and the general public, the talks will provide people with a deeper appreciation for electronic media and strategies for becoming more sophisticated consumers of them.

“Digital media introduce people to new ideas and create new possibilities for work that is already being done,” says DiPiero. “For example, in the past year researchers at Rochester have created apps to help study the flu and to experience nature in urban spaces.”

Intended to generate a collaborative spark across a variety of fields, parts of the conference are scheduled to take place in the new Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation, which is under construction on the River Campus. Designed to provide students with a space conducive to new ways of thinking, the building will be home to new majors in digital media studies and audio and music engineering.

For a complete list of speakers and to register for the conference, visit

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