The new Centre for Digital Media welcomed its inaugural class of the Masters of Digital Media Program as full-time studies went into full-swing Sept. 4th. The launch of the Centre - a state-of-the-art multimedia facility for education and research - is the result of an extraordinary collaboration between the BC Provincial Government, Industry, and four of BC's major post-secondary institutions, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. This first student cohort and faculty is comprised of some of the most talented in their field in the world.
The CDM was made possible through a 2007 provincial government grant of $40.5 million, a unique coming-together of four leading post-secondary institutions, and the active encouragement and support of B.C.’s fast-growing digital media industry.
The CDM is a graduate school offering students a Master’s degree, uniquely accredited by all four institutions, that steers graduates towards becoming leaders in the digital media world of special effects, electronic games, interactive and web design, and dozens of other fields.
The CDM is the first new building on the 17-acre parcel of land on Great Northern Way that Finning donated to the four institutions in 2001. Other developments will quickly follow, such as new office space for digital media firms. These initiatives add to the vitality of the adjacent Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, which already boasts Vancouver’s largest concentration of artists.
The CDM’s faculty members include professors from all four institutions, as well as experts drawn from local industry. Collaboration between the CDM and industry is key as they work together on industry-relevant student projects; more than 100 have been completed so far. To help convert these student projects into start-up businesses, the CDM is starting an entrepreneur-in-residence program.
The opening of the CDM demonstrates what is possible when the provincial government shows foresight, when City Hall grasps an idea and provides a flexible approach to implementing its land use policy, when four post-secondary institutions decide to work co-operatively towards a common end, and when industry steps up to say, “We will get behind this.”