Collaboratories: Call For Proposals

Call For Faculty Proposals: Collaboratories at the Ahmanson Lab, 2019-2020

The Ahmanson Lab at The Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study seeks proposals from USC faculty to design and coordinate yearlong interdisciplinary research collaboratories that engage undergraduate students in critical making—activities that bridge critical thinking and digital fabrication. These collaboratories should be polymathic in nature, designed to engage students from a variety of disciplines. They should be organized around a theme, problem, or set of intellectual questions that is best explored via the hands-on design and production of a digital artifact or system. We are additionally interested in collaboratories that make use of USC Libraries’ Digital Collections, Special Collections, datasets, or library resources, constructing artifacts that offer students imaginative ways to engage, showcase, analyze or visualize those materials.

In 2018-2019, the Ahmanson Lab supported three collaboratoriesMapping and App-ing Los AngelesTerraforming Mars, and Futures of Democracy. Students in these collaboratories created, respectively, an augmented reality app utilizing data from the L.A. Times to convey the story of the 2018 California Camp Fire; a research-driven, annotated virtual reality experience of a terraformed Mars; and a series of games exploring democracy-related issues such as campaign finance, corruption, and political compromise. See our 2018-2019 collaboratories here.

Collaboratories can be led by one or more faculty member. During the academic year, faculty will be responsible for conducting regular team meetings with undergraduates and for participating in one public event that showcases the collaboratory’s process and/or research outcomes.

Teams will have access to technology at the Ahmanson Lab, including a 3D printer, a commercial-grade drone, a robotic arm, multiple VR systems, and microcontroller kits. Teams creating digitally-published outcomes such as online exhibits, digital books, or multimedia projects, will also have technical support from Ahmanson Lab and other Library staff.

The Ahmanson Lab will assist faculty in generating a pool of student applicants for each collaboratory and will work together with faculty in the selection process. Each collaboratory will have four to six students who will receive a stipend from the Ahmanson Lab. A faculty stipend of $5,000 (to be shared among faculty leads) will also be available for each collaboratory.

Submit your proposals here by August 26, 2019.

Download the Call for Proposals here.

Feel free to reach out to us with any ideas before submitting your proposal. Ahmanson Lab staff are happy to answer any questions, discuss potential projects, and help to hone your proposal. Email Curtis Fletcher at cfletche@usc.edu with any questions or to schedule a meeting.