As reported in the Daily Texan, classes for the ACTLab program in New Media at the University of Texas at Austin, for which I helped both build as a student and as a teacher, have been cancelled effective Fall 2010. This unfortunate event has come due to the retirement of its founder, Professor Allucquére Sandy Stone. Professor Stone is retiring from active teaching, however she will become a Professor Emerita, thus retaining the ability to teach courses at the University of Texas at Austin. Myself and other students have formally requested both the Radio-Television-Film Department and the College of Communications to reconsider their decision and retain ACTLab courses. The impact of the ACTLab's closing is not limited to the RTF department, but to the art and technology community in the city of Austin and around the world.I lectured at ACTLab once, on EFF's behalf, and was struck by the incredible creativity and verve of the program.
The ACTLab has a proven track record of advanced New Media research practice that combines media theory, media production, intermodal art and ever-evolving technology which has been recognized around the world in both academic and the professional circles. From its early 1990's virtual world research into the creation of collaborative spaces (both text-based and three-dimensional worlds) and behavioral research of the inhabitants to the early 2000's exploration and development of peer-to-peer video streaming systems, and its most recent work with BarCamps and social-media based interaction phenomena, the ACTLab has long existed at the cutting edge of New Media.