On April 2, 2016, Bloomfield College hosted the Creative Arts & Technology Conference, a one-day event for creatives working along the intersections of design, art, and technology.
The conference was organized by Bloomfield College faculty members Brian S. Chung and GJ Lee, and featured professional portfolio reviews, an arts conference, and social game installations from the visiting design studio, Gigantic Mechanic.
A diverse panel of eight established professionals were chosen for their interdisciplinary expertise and proven ability as mentors. Bloomfield College students, alumni, and emerging professionals from the area took advantage of this opportunity.
"At first glance, speakers may seem to come from disparate and unrelated backgrounds," said Brian Chung, CAT faculty member and co-organizer of the conference. “Yet, they are all engaged in new ways of storytelling, building communities, and crafting aesthetic experiences. Highlighting those connections across fields is essential, and demonstrates that even specialized creative work is interdisciplinary.”
Portfolio reviewers included some from BuzzFeed, Rockstar Games, Arkadium, Avalanche Studios, and independent practices. They represented disciplines including illustration, music, game design, creative coding, and more.
"Getting advice from the pros was insightful and informative, especially since we will be using these portfolios when job searching,” said Nyoka Shortt, class of 2016.
Phillip McLaughlin, class of 2016, agreed and added, “I found this event to be the most useful out of my whole four years at the College. Having actual professionals in the industry present for one-on-one talks for questions and advice was invaluable.”
"Through their professional experiences, the reviewers understand the interdisciplinary nature of creative work, which reinforces what we teach our students, and prepares them for post-school endeavors,” said GJ Lee, co-organizer of the conference. “What’s also great is the positive influence the reviewers bring. We chose them because we know them to genuinely want to help others succeed.”
As part of the event, visiting design studio Gigantic Mechanic installed multiple social experiences, including a simulation of cooks and wait staff in an art studio turned kitchen, a massive multiplayer local game played in the theatre, and a transformation of Westminster Hall into a canvas for poetry.
Many attendees especially enjoyed the opportunities to socialize and network with other guests, reviewers, and speakers.