Artist-led technology education for a more imaginative and just world.Since 1998, Eyebeam youth programs put aspiring young artists together in a collaborative, learning environment with artists critically engaged with the impact of technology on culture at large. Our focus is to develop accessible and engaging educational programming for teens and teachers typically underserved in the areas of STEAM.

Eyebeam has supported thousands of public facing workshops, classes and learning opportunities through recurring Eyebeam-led youth programs like Digital Day Camp and our Student Residency. Additionally, Eyebeam supports our artist’s educational projects that often turn into stand-alone programs including Playable Fashion, Rap Research Lab, Our Net and Computational Fashion.

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Digital Day Camp

Digital Day Camp (DDC) is Eyebeam’s longest running program, since 1998, and the first-ever youth summer program centered on new media education. DDC is a multi-week, summer arts and technology intensive for approximately 20 NYC public high school students. Students meet daily (Mon-Fri) at the Eyebeam studio where artist-educators have a long tradition of offering accessible, radical, arts-focused technology education. Through our partnerships we recruit applicants from youth in populations underrepresented in technology ensuring a diverse range of ideas and backgrounds in each cohort.

During Digital Day Camp, students work alongside artist-educators and staff, engaging in lectures and hands-on workshops focusing on art and technology tools, careers in the field, and relevant social and artistic topics. Through support from the DDC staff, students realize a collaborative final project that represents a synthesized understanding of their summer experiences. Projects are shared in a public forum where students reflect and engage with a community of stakeholders. The theme of the program changes each year adapting to both cultural trends and those in technology.

Some examples from previous years include:

DDC 2002 investigated architecture, public art, and memorials in contemporary society. The program addressed both the area destroyed by the September 11th attacks and its impact on the city’s collective consciousness.

DDC 2006 focused on the relevance of and issues surrounding biotechnology projects by artists and activists.

Digital Day Camp challenges youth to apply creative thinking strategies across a range of technological tools and topics with the goal to help them develop critical, empowering and long-lasting relationships with technology.

Playable Fashion

Playable Fashion is an education program for youth exploring the intersections between Fashion, Technology and Gaming. Students learn concepts and techniques behind each subject, combining learnings to create their own digital games and wearable controllers inspired by their personal narratives. Playable Fashion introduces students to concepts core to technology and computational thinking in an accessible and fun way. Experiences learned from Playable Fashion give youth the comfort level to continue exploring technology, and their voice in it, as creators.

Playable Fashion, developed by Eyebeam alumni Kaho Abe and Ramsey Nasser, is an extension of their practice, passion and professional history in game design, education, coding, and fashion design. Since its inception in 2013, Playable Fashion has expanded from a stand-alone after school program to a set of curriculum which has been delivered in various environments including integration into a year-long public school computer science program.

Playable Fashion has served over 260 under-resourced youth through after-school programs at Eyebeam and hands-on workshops throughout the city at alternative learning spaces like New York Hall of Science, Bronx Museum, NYC Parks Resource Centers, CSNYC (CS4All) and Code Liberation.  NYC public school partners include Academy of Innovative Technology (Brooklyn), Satellite Academy (Manhattan), and Hudson High School of Learning Technologies (Manhattan).

Through a series of nine modules, students develop core skills to empower them as makers and not just passive consumers of the technology that surrounds them on a daily basis. Playable Fashion does this by exploring:

  • Game Design – Students learn the principles and workflows involved in conceptualizing and creating a digital interactive game. They also learn the language and techniques behind designing games.
  • Technology – Students learn how to think abstractly about code and electronics, while building the software and hardware needed to realize their projects.  
  • Fashion – Students become familiar with the field of wearable electronics. They learn about the materials used for fabrication and learn the skills necessary to design and make their own game controlling wearables.

Eyebeam and Playable Fashion would like to thank and acknowledge the support from our funders The Pinkerton Foundation, Capital One and from National Writing Project’s Educator Innovator Initiative and the LRNG Innovation Challenge, part of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and John Legend’s Show Me Campaign.

eyebeam student residency

Student Residency

Eyebeam’s Student Resident program is an after-school, 5-month residency open to New York City public high school students interested in studying the intersection of art and technology. During the residency, students work with full time residents, staff and mentors, get training in digital fabrication tools and develop projects working with the guidance of dedicated mentors alongside Eyebeam’s artists in the Research Residency program.

Student Residents have the same access to Eyebeam facilities and professional development opportunities available to full-time residents including group feedback, staff support, access to tools and studio space, external visits to institutions and artist spaces and presenting work at semi-public community events.

Rap Research Lab

Rap Research Lab is an educational youth program that engages teens in exploring hip-hop as cultural data through research and creative processes in order to produce visual communications and new understandings of the world around them. Rap Research Lab was founded by Eyebeam alumni, Tahir Hemphill and is based on his project Rap Almanac, a searchable database built from the lyrics of over 50,000 hip-hop songs, which generates reports on searched words, phrases and ideas.

Through Rap Research Lab, Hemphill and his teaching-artist collaborators have taught design, cultural analysis, media criticism, data mining, and data visualization to teens in order for them to conduct research and create their own final data visualization projects. The goal of Rap Research Lab’s educational programming is to increase participation of underserved NYC youth, especially youth of color, immigrant, female and transgender youth, in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) through culture, design, and digital media in a project-based learning environment. Teens thus become both content producers and knowledge interpreters.

By developing self-directed projects, students from these marginalized groups move to the center as knowledge experts. This project encourages interest in STEM by introducing technological tools, data analysis, research techniques, and media criticism using a subject—hip hop—that is central to the culture and identity of youth.

Jessica Calderon for Our Net

OurNet

OurNet teaches youth key components of network infrastructure by enabling them to develop their own private internal networks that are independent of the Internet. These lessons introduce how technology works, providing core language and concepts that serve as a solid base of understanding for further exploration. OurNet was developed by alums Joanne McNeil and Dan Phiffer.

Through workshops, students learn how to create a website with shared hosting where students can learn how simple it is to start their own social network and edit pages with a shell account. Furthermore, they learn to create a “darknet” or private network independent of the Internet. Using a simple wifi router, that the students name and design, students will be able to communicate in an anonymous forum.

The goal for this project is to make network infrastructure less scary for people without technical backgrounds. OurNet wants to develop a new conversation around technology and ownership because it is so important to understand how much independence you have — or don’t.

Image: a drawing by Jessica Calderon, as she imagines the internet at the beginning of the Our Net program.