Friday, April 4
4 p.m.
Ernst Common Room, Blaustein Humanities Center

Student, faculty and alumni panelists will share their experiences with technological advances that have made it possible for people to make and share creative work, and the effects of technology on the arts in contemporary culture.


Ozgur Izmirli


Ozgur Izmirli is an associate professor of computer science and director of the Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology at Connecticut College. He has been involved with the Ammerman Center since he joined the College in 1998, serving as director since 2008. The interdisciplinary center offers a certificate program and brings together faculty, students, researchers and artists to explore the role of technology over the entire spectrum of the arts.

Izmirli teaches courses in multimedia, sound processing, computer architecture and web technologies. He structures his courses with a balance of theory and practice while encouraging creative approaches and emphasizing problem solving. Izmirli’s research interests combine music, computer science and electrical engineering, and he has authored more than 50 publications. He completed a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. at Middle East Technical University, and research at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University.

Andrea Wollensak

Andrea Wollensak is a professor of art at Connecticut College and co-associate director of events at the Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology. She combines new media technology and traditional design and fabrication to explore the convergence of place, identity and history through site-specific artwork. Themes in her work include community, environment, surveillance and memory, which she adapts to a range of artistic forms including digital prints, handmade books, audio/video installations, data visualization and 3-D printing.

Most recently, Wollensak has created a series of works influenced by Icelandic landscapes, personal narratives from residents, and iceberg data. Several of these works have already been exhibited in Hartford, Conn., and Halifax, Nova Scotia, and will be the focus of a solo show in Gothenburg, Sweden, during May 2014.

Wollensak’s creative and critical writings have appeared in a diverse array of publications, and her papers and collaborations with colleagues have been presented at national and international conferences. Her work has earned her numerous artist residencies and fellowships, as well a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and a collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation. Wollensak holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Yale University.

Virginia Anderson

Virginia Anderson joined the theater faculty at Connecticut College in 2013 after four years at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she taught a variety of courses in theater history and directed each year for the school’s main stage. She serves on the College’s steering committee for the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy and is a faculty fellow for the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology.

Many of the productions Anderson has directed have benefited from collaboration with teams of creative technology experts, including the College’s recent production of “On the Town.” She is currently working on a book, “Beyond Angels: Broadway Theatre and the AIDS Epidemic,” which grew from years of research involving creative, social, and political representations of the AIDS epidemic.

Anderson has held leadership positions within Association for Theatre in Higher Education, the American Society for Theatre Research and the American Theatre and Drama Society, and has contributed essays to numerous theater publications. She holds degrees from Carleton College, Stanford University and the University of London, and earned a Ph.D. from Tufts University.

Gretchen Halpert '81

Gretchen Halpert earned a bachelor’s degree in botany from Connecticut College before studying biological illustration at the University of New Haven. She also received a certificate in scientific and technical illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)/CE.

From 1982 to 2006, Halpert was a medical research scientist at Yale University and Rhode Island Hospital. During that time, she taught illustration at RISD/CE and Wheaton College. At Brown University, she co-directed an annual course, “Art and Medicine.” Since 2006, she has taught and exhibited her work regularly in Italy, Thailand and Taiwan. In 2012, Halpert taught scientific illustration to biology and medical students at National Taiwan University, where 12 departments supported a solo exhibition of her work.

Halpert’s drawings have appeared in books, journals and scientific publications, as well as zoos and nature centers. She is the past president of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, an international organization founded at the Smithsonian Institution. She lives in New York state, where she has taught workshops at Tanglewood Nature Center, Cornell University and the Alternative School for Math and Science.

Phoebe Bakanas '10

Phoebe Bakanas majored in music technology and computer science at Connecticut College, and was awarded a certificate from the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology. After graduation, Bakanas received a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the University of Leeds, where she earned her masters by research in computer science. She studied gesture-tracking technology in relation to music and designed a system that captures the motions of a baton and finds the conductor’s beat and tempo consistency. Her research produced papers that were accepted into three international conferences.

Currently, Bakanas is working as an engineer at a data virtualization company, exploring the world of big data.

Matthew Safian '15

Matthew Safian is currently pursuing a self-designed major combining graphic arts, computer science and psychology at Connecticut College. In 2013, he was selected for the exclusive Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Design Fellowship program. He worked at shopping startup Luvocracy in San Francisco, helping to design several key site features, as well as assets for the company's brand presence on Apple's App Store. He has also worked at frog design inc. in New York City, in the knowledge-management and visual design groups, and this summer will be at digital-magazine enterprise Flipboard in Palo Alto, Calif.

Safian is a member of Connecticut College's website design committee and performs in the College's all-male a cappella group, CoCo Beaux, and in various campus theater productions.