Faculty and Staff

Robin Oppenheimer

Part-Time Lecturer

B.S. English/Education, Indiana University
M.S. Ed.S. Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University
Ph.D. School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University

Office: UW1-351
Phone: 425-352-3687
Email: robin2@uw.edu
Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246


The “fringe” world of the media arts and activism has been my classroom, research lab, and interactive learning environment for over 30 years. I exhibited and worked with filmmakers and media artists from around the world, and ran two media arts centers - IMAGE Film/Video Center in Atlanta and 911 Media Arts Center in Seattle. From this deep knowledge and experience I design courses that reveal the artistic and technological roots of an ever-expanding media culture while involving students in an active learning environment. We question everything, engage the world of ideas, collaborate, and laugh a lot. I encourage students to discover their talents and passions while modeling active listening, engaged dialogue, and empathy that I practice as a lifelong learner and teacher.

Recent Courses Taught

BIS 313 Special Media Topics: Documentary Forms
BIS 313 Special Media Topics: Participatory Media Culture
BCUSP DCI Coffee and Media: Representations, Histories and Activism (with Dr. Gustafson)


The outlier world of experimental media has much to teach us as our mediated environment and language expands to include communicating with images and sound. I researched and taught the multiple histories of video art and experimental film for many years, but didn't recognize my work as academic research until I attended Simon Fraser University to get my Ph.D. My dissertation research focused on a group of avant-garde artists in New York's Greenwich Village who, in 1966, collaborated with Bell Telephone Laboratories engineers to create ten multi-media performances in a huge armory. The "9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering" was an intentional collaboration between the worlds of the arts and engineering using new technologies. It is also a case study in creative collaboration that introduced me to a wider world of ideas and histories across the arts and sciences, including cybernetics, psychedelic light shows, Black Mountain College, postmodern dance, and recent social science research into creativity and collaboration. My current research incorporates all these trajectories (and more) into courses designed to teach the historical roots and contemporary connections to the global media culture students now have an active role in shaping.

Selected Publications

2011, June: PhD Dissertation, The Strange Dance: “9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering” as Creative Collaboration.

2009, October: “Glocal: Exploring a Digital Future Through Collaboration” commissioned essay published by the Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey, B.C.

2009, April 15: “Maximal Art: The Origins and Aesthetics of West Coast Light Shows” published in Rhizome electronic newsletter.

"The Conversation Continues: When Artists and Engineers First Collaborated," for new media exhibition catalogue Speculative Data and the Creative Imaginary: Shared Visions Between Art and Technology, sponsored by the National Science Foundation for exhibition June 4 - August 24, 2007, National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC, 2007.

"Visions and Hindsights: Seattle's and/or Alternative Art Space 1974-1984,” in A Closer Look/Hidden Histories, National Alliance of Media Arts and Culture publication, 2006.

"A Strange Dance: The Creative Collaborative Origins & Processes of ‘9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering'," in Creativity and Cognition Conference Proceedings 2005 by ACM Press, 2005.