The fields of architecture, city planning, media, design, real estate, and art are first and foremost dedicated to improving the human condition and quality of life for all people. This credo applies in all the varied communities in which we are engaged, including our own here at MIT. We value each member of our community—students, faculty, postdocs, staff, and visitors—as human beings, with all our wonderful differences. These differences in culture, life experience, and opinion, fuel creative ideas and actions, which are the core of our School’s educational mission.
In 2021, the ACT community articulated the following foundational values:
- We use technology as a tool and subject of critique to impact and transform culture through the lens of art.
- We embrace inclusivity. Without agonistic difference and empathy for the other, our society remains static.
- We embrace pluriversal ways of making and world-building.
- We embrace discovery and inquiry.
- We create new ways to connect and thread meaning.
- We forge new ways of narrating and shaping time.
- We embrace the tools of fine art alongside other tools and strategies for civic, scientific, and social engagement.
- We insist on cross-sector dialogue and creative production.
- This all has to do with technology and new ways of communicating, celebrating, building infrastructures, and bridging horizontally.
The Art, Culture, and Technology (ACT) program was formed in 2010 from two multi-decade organizations: the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) and the Visual Arts Program (VAP). ACT is MIT’s primary research center and academic program offering art classes and an art-based degree. ACT provides a two-year Master of Science in Art, Culture, and Technology (SMACT) degree and an undergraduate minor and concentration. Currently, we have 15 graduate students and 150 to 200 students enrolled in our classes. The academic program is supported by a staff of five professionals, five tenured and tenure-track faculty, and three to six lecturers.