June 17, 2010

Hamilton poised to become leader in interactive digital media

    Today, McMaster University, Silicon Knights, Mohawk College and the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH) have taken the first steps to launch a bold initiative in the eighth art - digital media - with the creation of Eight: The Hamilton Institute for Interactive Digital Media.

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A hundred years ago, cinema was labeled "the seventh art," joining architecture, sculpture, painting, music, poetry and dance. Today, McMaster University, Silicon Knights, Mohawk College and the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH) have taken the first steps to launch a bold initiative in the eighth art - digital media - with the creation of Eight: The Hamilton Institute for Interactive Digital Media.

The presidents of all four institutions are signatories on a memorandum of understanding that was signed today during the University's Innovation Showcase at the McMaster Innovation Park where the new Institute will be located when it opens in 2011.

"We want to be known as the 'eighth art' University, but achieving that distinction depends on effective collaboration with great partners," said Peter George, President of McMaster. "Capitalizing on one another's strengths will create unlimited opportunities for research commercialization, education and training, and economic development and job creation for our region."

The collaboration brings together the skills and expertise to research, teach and create digital media technologies, and will enable a seamless synergy between the partner institutions: Silicon Knights and the AGH could participate in research, curriculum development, and teaching at the new Institute. In addition, a parallel and major goal is to turn the Hamilton region into an international leader in interactive digital media with Eight serving as a magnet for talent, resources and funding.

"We are pleased to be a part of this exciting new initiative that will bring together the best and brightest in the field of digital media," said Rob MacIsaac, president of Mohawk College. "It's an initiative that will build on Mohawk's long-standing partnership with McMaster, draw on our college's strengths in applied learning and research, and leverage our ability to stay responsive to employer needs and industry trends."

St. Catharines-based Silicon Knights, one of the leading independent game developers in the world, brings its development and creative expertise, which in turn complements the humanities and engineering faculties at McMaster and its track record of world-class research and education capabilities.

"We have been promoting the 'eighth art' for many years, and are beyond excited to have aligned with three outstanding partners that share the same vision, and understand the need to grow the talent and resources in this arena," said Denis Dyack, president, Silicon Knights.

"It will be most enriching for artists, students and the community to have the opportunity to work closely with world renowned researchers in science and technology and for the AGH to present their work in the context of an art gallery," said Louise Dompierre, president and CEO of the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

AGH, one of Canada's most engaging public art galleries, positions digital art as one of its key artistic activities through research exhibition and education, and this will dovetail with the applied learning taught at Mohawk College with its keen focus on and responsiveness to industry and market trends.

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