Associate Dean of Academic & Student Affairs

Dane Webster,  MFA

Dane Webster is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Denver currently serving as the Director of the Digital Animation Center (DAC) and Associate Dean of Faculty & Student Affairs for the College of Arts and Media. He teaches various courses in 3D computer animation and creative coding.

My work as an artist and researcher explores the object, the environment, and the abstract. Through visualizations, I explore the intersection of science as a metaphoric object of artistic expression, and art as a mechanism that conveys scientific problems and possibilities. Yet, it is difficult to contextualize who I am as a researcher without using an interdisciplinary lens.

Over the past 13 years, every single class that I have taught is in a subject of that I myself have never taken a class in. I have a Bachelors of Science degree, with a major in 2-dimensional art and an MFA in Photography and Digital Imaging. My first position in academia was as an assistant professor teaching photography. Five years later I accepted a position at Virginia Tech to start their 3D computer animation program within the School of Visual Arts. I went on to create and direct an MFA in Creative Technologies, as well as become a Senior Fellow with the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology. This past year I became the Director of the Digital Animation Center at the University of Colorado Denver.

My artwork has been shown in juried art exhibitions (1 of 101 pieces selected from 2800 entries from 40 countries in The Art of Digital Show: An International Exhibition of Digital Art,) and my short films have been in highly competitive short film venues (1 of 102 selections from 2000 submissions from 79 counties at the Brooklyn Film Festival). My visualizations have helped raise funds toward $100 million in building projects at Virginia Tech, been viewed over 110,000 times, primarily by students learning about a Native American settlement in Virginia, and have been shown as part of an interactive app at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. I continue to be a photographer, animator, visualizer, and creative coder.

With this background, it likely comes as no surprise that I find it difficult to place myself within a specific intellectual community. I am not a noted presenter at the Eyeo Festival, though I’ve twice hosted Casey Reas, the co-founder of Processing, at Virginia Tech. I am not a keynote speaker at Siggraph, though its technological trends and professional practices emerge in my classroom discussions. I am not the most likely candidate for a solo exhibition at a major art museum, though my work has been shown at venues like the Brooklyn Museum. Instead, I focus on the notion that, by their very design, universities hold a transdisciplinary conference on their campuses every single day. I have collaborated with researchers in computer science, music, math, mechanical engineering, disaster science, history, weather, social science, and education. This is my intellectual community and scholarly context.