Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Siegesmund, Richard

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Art and Design


Art--Study and teaching; Design; Multimedia communications; Higher education


This study is a mixed-methods, neopragmatist examination of the systems currently being practiced in creative professional companies and the consequential changes in Higher Education Media Arts curricula, supporting a kind of meta-disciplinary pedagogy emerging from the pressures of content and device convergence in industry. The research discovers neopragmatist roots in Garrison, Neubert, & Reich's (2012) useful happenings justified in both Higher Education and the accompanying professions. Supporting philosophies are framed first by Dewey's (1934) pragmatism and Garrison, et al., extended neopragmatism, coupled with Karen Barad's (2007) new materialsms. Barad's science seems to be asking us to review current artistic and creative divisions and question their usefulness in our integrated realities. Attendant theories about Illich's (1970) organic student, Toffler's (1980) prosumer, Prior's (2010) new amateur, Pavlik and McIntosh's (2015) produser, Thumlert's (2015) non-specialist, in coordination with Sonvilla-Weiss's (2010) mash-up cultures, cultivated by Kristeva's (1980) processes of intertextuality, underpin the focus of inquiry. These meta-prod-users are becoming artists of rhetoric and writers of images, who are affectively transforming current media producings into a creative convergent cultural collective. The data collection instruments incorporated were interviews of creative professionals, professional site observations, and a nationally distributed, Higher Education faculty, online survey. Results showed that, in fact there is often a disconnect between Higher Education curricula and the creative professions, in that the skills required to prepare graduates are perceived differently from education to practice. It also revealed that democratization of technology and convergence have affected publishing and advertising agencies, to the extant where most professionals consider hybrid graduates to be essential in order to be useful in the industries. In the wake of this study, a crucial factor for the success of creative employees, is their fluency with content and production in multiple channels both analog and digital: verbal, written, visual and combinations thereof. Ultimately, a kind of experiential, interactive, cooperative storytelling is at the heart of careers in the materialisms warranted by a pulsating creative convergent culture. I envision a pod of wired classrooms populated by multiple professors in various expertise (design, communication, business, computer science and psychology) working as collaborative groups to solve real-world, creative industry problems. The cooperative exists in a synchronous flow of digital communication, in the form of virtual spaces, between a project-lead professor and creative professional client. Whether this incorporates existing social media options or future technological, communicative possibilities is scarcely relevant, because emerging digital spaces are employed seamlessly, as this becomes routine in the basic matrix for student learning outcomes. Artlessly, the students create and suggest their own media options in tandem with existing, educator-installed digital spaces. The cosmos of learning is mutable, flexible and ironically concrete, because honoring all participants and what they bring to the cooperative, becomes a standard.


Advisors: Richard Siegesmund.||Committee members: Steve Ciampaglia; Kerry Freedman; Bart Woodstrup.||Includes illustrations.||Includes bibliographical references.


224 pages




Northern Illinois University

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