93.830/93.430/64.830: Disruptive Technologies in Arts Enterprises

Spring 2022, 6 units

Meeting time/location: Wednesdays, 6:20 – 7:40*; HbH 1206

Instructor: Dr. Brett Ashley Crawford

TA: Katie Winter kwinter@

Contact info:, 301.802.6016 (c)

Office Hours: Tuesdays 12 – 2:00, Wednesdays 1 – 3:00, Thursdays 2 – 4:00

Office: HbH 3023

Office Hours Zoom Link when needed by choice or CMU posture:

Course Description
The world is undergoing monumental change. Much of this is fueled by the aftermath of the introduction of the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s and the entry of the personal computer to the mass marketplace. These actions opened up opportunities for computing and creativity using modern technology akin to the industrial revolution. Richard Florida identified and coined the term creative economy. Some have also coined this time as the second renaissance noting that this era is changing our core frameworks for civilization. As in the age of the renaissance, creativity and the arts are often at the cutting edge for creating and incorporating technologies in the world even though some nonprofit institutions seem slow to adapt.

This seminar course provides students with multiple perspectives on how emerging technologies are disrupting arts enterprises, including arts-making, audience engagement, and arts management. From the Internet of Things to Virtual Reality, students will investigate what is happening in the field and what’s on the fringe and about to break into the marketplace. Through readings/viewings, hands-on activities, and individualized research the course provides a breadth of understanding of multiple technologies for students overall. Additionally, each individual student leaves the class with a deeper expertise in at least two technologies of their choice.

The material submitted for assignments may be recommended to be included in the content created for AMT Lab ( Readers for the platform are arts management professionals working in the field. Approximately 10,000 individuals from around the world read the content monthly. IF recommended for AMT Lab, the content is passed on to the Chief Editor of Research or the Podcast Producer who will work with you directly. If you are interested in the potential for publication, please sign the release form attached at the end of the syllabus and scan/email to your TA, Katie by the end of January.

Course Objectives:

In the process of taking this course, you willAssessed by
learn techniques for research at the graduate/pre-professional levelClass Curation, Weekly News, Rabbit Holes
Explore transmedia as a method for sharing your ideas via course WordPress platformRabbit Holes
Uncover resources for learning about emerging technologyWeekly News
Get hands-on experience with several emergent forms of technologyHands-On
Understand how emerging modes of technology are changing all aspects of the arts enterprise.Weekly Prep & News, Rabbit Holes, Class Curation & Engagement
Identify the current and future opportunities for technology in the arts making and management spacesClass Curation, Weekly News, Rabbit Holes, Class Curation & Engagement
Gain perspectives of the intended and unintended consequences of the introduction of technologies to the arts making and arts management practiceClass Curation & Class Engagement
Learn to create qualitative and quantitative evaluation of software and hardwareReview / Analysis option in Rabbit Holes
Understand the core terminology and infrastructure of individual, institutional and marketplace technology solutionsClass Curation, Weekly News, Class Engagement, Rabbit Holes

Course Tools:

Useful Tools:

Course Texts:

  • Tools and Weapons, Brad Smith (available via the Library reserves )
  • Creativity Code,  (Available via Library reserves)
  • Articles, Podcasts, Videos and research studies from leaders in the field.

External Reliable Sources (for use for In the Weekly News)


  • Engage in the world of the arts as you can online and in person (as it is safe)
  • Engage at CMU in arts-tech locations via web-based opportunities (IdeATe, Create Lab and Frank Ratchye Studio for Creative Inquiry, Entertainment Technology Center sharings, CFA projects)
  • You can also attend professional conferences on the topics: Nonprofit Technology Conference (March) and others.

Course Requirements


As a seminar, active in-class contributions are expected. At the graduate level, attendance is assumed, except in extraordinary circumstances. Should such circumstances arise (hospitalization, earthquake, etc.), please make every effort to let me know before class begins. One absence is assumed but recognize that your presence is important for our intellectual growth as a class as a whole.

Active class participation is expected. The class will offer opportunities to learn in an active and synergistic manner. Class time will include discussion of preparation materials, in-class projects, platform critiques, oral presentations and sharing of thoughts and ideas.

Due to the depth of the content and the limited in-class time together, this course utilizes various technologies:  Canvas, Google, and a course WordPress site.  You are strongly encouraged to use Zotero as a means to track your research sources. Zotero workshops are available.

  • Canvas will serve as a conduit to the course website, it relays deadlines and it is a place where you submit your work. It also is the hub for out-of-class conversations, class curation and weekly news.
  • Google Drive will be a location where we offer collaborative opportunities including your Hands On Reports
  • WordPress will be a location for course content and creating your rabbit hole assignments to share
  • For private communication, Canvas mail or are always options.

Course deliverables

  • Weekly News – Earn up to 16 points (4 points per module – no extra credit/no make up for missed work. 50% loss of points if posted after 1:30pm day of. Zero if posted after class begins. )
    •  Details: You will sign up on shared google sheet for a weekly news date, one for each module.  You will look news covering emerging technology in your field that aligns with the topic of the module / for the day.  Why? Technology opportunities are evolving faster than any one person can track.  As a group, we can keep up to date with the field together. Full assignment is attached with rubric.  You will post your weekly news to Discussion Board by 1:30pm the day of class.
      • Include a 2-3 sentence “remark” in the clipping that explains what you found interesting in the article, how it relates to the module and how it is disrupting our arts ecosystem. The news piece may be regarding arts, arts management or related technology (for example – an article on RFID upgrades might not scream arts but it has use-value for the arts, e.g. Disney wristbands) AND where the technology affects the enterprise (program, internal, external, infrastructure)
        • Include a link to the source.
        • It is a graded assignment (4 points total. 1 point for a link. 1 point for a reliable resource published within the last 18 months. 1 point for a basic remark that covers ½ the prompt. 2 points for a strong response that addresses the prompt fully.
  •  Class curation (earn 11 points)
    • You will sign up for one Class Curation week. You will be co- leading the discussion on that week’s content. To do that, you will work with your co-leads on a class shared Google doc.  You should create a document that outlines your jointly determined 3 takeaways from class preparation materials, 3 discussion questions and no more than 2 interesting links. Post is due by Tuesday at midnight EST.  Completing the assignment with all the above parts = 100%.  A google sheet will be provided for you to select date/topic.

  • Hands-On Play Time*Earn  up to 24 points (8 per Hands On)
    • 3 Hands-on experiments will be completed, documented (model and form for each hands-on provided via WordPress with the linked Google doc to copy). Results will be turned in via pdf in Canvas and shared out through an in-class round robin exercise. The round robin consists of a 2 – 5 minute share of your experiment to a subset of your peers who will give you individualized feedback on a shared Google doc.
    • You can do a 4th Hands on to earn extra credit of 3% to final grade.
    • This work should be done in randomized pairs.
      • Engage in a VR arts performance or AR art experience (local museums have a plethora of opportunity as does the web).  What was it like? What worked? What didn’t? Now, try making your own VR/AR/MR/XR — (single no longer than 2 minutes of XR). Tools/Demos on Web site
      • AI: engage with a chat bot on Facebook or on a website. When is it real and when is it a bot? How can you tell? Now try creating a chat bot or create a small robot. Tools/Demos on Website
      • Blockchain is transforming our commerce and our art ecosystem.  Engage on a DAPP platform, maybe buy some cryptocurrency in Venmo. NOW get creative and mint your OWN NFT.
      • EXTRA CREDIT: Your choice (individualized experiment — what do you want to try? 3-D Printing (, web scraping? You pick! – can do workshops too )
  • Rabbit Hole Projects (2 different topics to earn 25 points apiece)               
    • Your focus for your projects will be topics relevant to your industry, complex enough to be worthy of deeper research, and something you’re highly curious about. Weekly news can serve as a resource for ideas, but final topics will be selected and submitted for review 3 weeks prior to due dates. In the process of research and writing you will experiment in class with ways to share your findings that are not academic or solely text-based.  Data-informed, digital storytelling skills should be used and learnings shared to your peers and perhaps the field. Students are encouraged to use multi-media and interactive tools as methods to enhance communicating the findings in their rabbit holes using a web-based platform: WordPress.  NOTE:  You can do a review of literature on the impact OR you can do a product review of the technology itself. (samples below)
  • The cumulation of your research will include:
    • 1) a sharing with your classmates that explains what the technology is, how it works, who is using it and how it is disrupting the arts enterprise field. Limit 3 minutes. (one page infographic or written handout allowed) You will get peer feedback from them via a shared google doc.
    • 2) you will create a final report that will effectively communicate the technology and its impact on the field. IF your rabbit hole is a product review, it should still be written but with a slightly different format with takeaways and writing style relevant to a professional in the field.  The report should include digital storytelling techniques (graphs, images, etc.) to convey the concepts and reach a length of anywhere from 1,600 – 2,500 words.
    • Both rabbit holes require a separate ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY with at least 12 but no more than 20 reliable and unique resources (not Wikipedia).

Extra Credit (potential 1% to final grade):  WOYP / WYFT Post (see example )

Grading Scale (100 Points):

  • Weekly News +  week 1 Discussion Board (4 each +1)                15
  • Class Curation                                                                           11
  • Experiments     (8 each)                                                                        24
  • Rabbit Holes     (25 apiece)                                                       50

Late work:  Rabbit Holes and Hands On have a 48-hour grace period recognizing that conflicts happen.  The 48-hour grace period can be extended IF you request the extension prior to the original due date.  Late work received , otherwise, receives a zero.   Rationale: You cannot turn in a grant late and in an IRL environment you are expected to let your supervisor know if you are going to miss a deadline.

Grading Scale:

A+        99-100% A          94-98.9% A‐         91-93.9% B+        88 – 90.9% B          84-87.9% B-         81-83.9%C+        78-80.9% C          74-77.9% C-         71-73.9% R          70.9% and below  

Course & Classroom Policies and Expectations

Recording Class Sessions. Classes will not be recorded unless due to Covid Protocols, we are moved to a Zoom environment. If you are provided with an accommodation that requires recording, please notify the professor immediately.  Should we pivot we will also be following a shared set of Digital Agreements for Zoom protocols.

Food/Drink. You are permitted to eat and drink in class as long as you do not disrupt others in the class and All Covid safety measures must be maintained.

Cell Phones. Turn off or, at least, mute your cell phone during class sessions and keep them in your bag/in a drawer at home.

Computers.  Computers should be charged and available for every class meeting. Sometimes we will be using them during class. Sometimes we need to be focused on interpersonal interaction with a discreet request to put your computers away.

Intellectual and Professional Integrity

This course is an integral part of your graduate education, an education that is designed to provide you with the tools for a successful, professional career.  Assumed within is a high standard of ethics and integrity. You are expected to have read and understood the Student Handbook.  Plagiarism and other forms of academic misrepresentation are viewed as extremely serious matters. Misrepresentation of another’s work as one’s own is widely recognized as among the most serious violations. Cases of cheating and plagiarism will receive a grade of zero and, per requirements, be submitted to and reviewed by the Dean’s Office where more severe penalties may be imposed, up to and including expulsion from the Heinz School.  If any academic integrity violation occurs during this course, the assignment will receive a zero for all those involved and the violation will be reported to the Dean of Heinz College and CMU Office of Students.

Collaboration and discussion around the projects will be frequent and common during class.  Your experiments should be with your lab partners only and your class curation, weekly news and project/review work solo.

In addition to the guidelines concerning work materials, you are expected to behave in a supportive and professional manner towards your colleagues/classmates; this includes sharing resources for mutual benefit protecting information told in confidence, and helping to create a general classroom climate of honesty and respect.

Respect and Support
In addition to the guidelines concerning work materials, you are expected to behave in a supportive and professional manner towards your colleagues/classmates; this includes sharing resources for mutual benefit, protecting information told in confidence, and helping to create a general classroom climate of honesty and respect.

It is my intent that students from all diverse backgrounds, identities, and perspectives be well served by this course, that students’ learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength and benefit. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. Please let me know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students or student groups. In addition, if any of our class meetings conflict with your religious events, please let me know so that we can make arrangements for you. 

All people have the right to be addressed and referred to in accordance with their personal identity. In this class, we will have the chance to indicate the name that we prefer to be called and the pronouns by which should be used to refer to us. I will do my best to address and refer to all students accordingly and support classmates in doing so as well. 

To support this framework, all in the class will agree to a set of Inclusive Behavior tenets at the start of the class.

Special Needs and Interests

My goal is to provide the most effective educational atmosphere for all students. Please let me know, in confidence, early in the semester if you have any special needs (broadly defined).  Also note that the university provides significant support should you find yourself struggling with writing (the International Communication and the Global Communications Centers are both available to you) or with work/life balance.

Take care of yourself.  Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting enough sleep and taking some time to relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress.

All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. You are not alone. There are many helpful resources available on campus and an important part of a professional education experience is learning how to ask for help. Asking for support sooner rather than later is often helpful.

If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, please seek support or help your peer do so. Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) is here to help: call 412-268-2922 and visit their website at Consider reaching out to a friend, faculty or family member you trust for help getting connected to the support that can help.

Course Schedule  (Google Sheet + on a separate webpage)