Centre for Digital Media’s director Richard Smith travelled to Brazil early this semester to connect with Brazil’s digital media industry. This is his account of the trip.
The Centre for Digital Media has had many amazing students from Brazil in the past few years. Last September, in an effort to understand the country better, recruit more students, and connect with schools and organizations down there, I took a trip to Brazil.
Brazil is a big country with a large population. This two week trip barely scratched the surface of what we could come to know about Brazilian digital media, but it is a good start.
To keep things manageable, we focused on three cities: Curitiba, Porto Alegre, and Sao Paulo.
Our first stop was Curitiba, where we met with representatives of both Universidade Positivo (UP) and Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Parana (PUCPR).
At Universidade Positivo there are three design streams: product design, fashion design, and visual design. The product and visual design students are most closely aligned with our own work, and we met a couple of amazing professors working on interactive products, including an animal welfare mobile app that holds promise for helping farmers and others who work with animals to more easily and quickly identify signs of stress or pain in animals. As it turns out, one of the professors working on that app, Ms Andreia de Paula Vieira, did her PhD at UBC, one of our partner universities! She knows Vancouver well, and we hope to have her visit us someday in the future.
Like the Master of Digital Media program, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Parana (PUCPR) teaches students the fundamentals of game play through traditional games before they start making digital games.
On the other side of campus, they have BEPID—Brazilian Education Project for iOS Development. One of nine in Brazil, these collaborative ventures between universities and Apple are an intensive on-campus education and training program for young iOS developers and entrepreneurs. Here, we’re looking at a phone charging station, where you can charge your phone inside the boxes.
Next, we went to Porto Alegre, where we visited PUC RS. The school is part of an interesting digital media incubator in a former monastery. They also have a large communication and film program that’s exploring digital transformations. The highlight of our trip to PUC RS was a meeting with faculty and students from the design program.
In the city of Sao Leopoldo we visited UNISINOS, another large private University near Porto Alegre and met with with professors and coordinators from the design and digital games programs. A few professors from UNISINOS will be visiting Centre for Digital Media in January 2016 and we are excited discuss more collaboration ideas between the institutions.
At our last city, Sao Paulo, we visited W3Haus and ABRADi (Brazilian Association of Digital Media) where we learned that the Brazilian digital media industry is moving towards more interactive agencies and agencies that have greater focus on interactive products.
We visited Faculdade Melies de Tecnologia, an excellent animation school in SP that runs an undergraduate program in audiovisual production - animation design. In addition to interactive agencies, animation, games and mobile applications are growing rapidly in Brazil.
This is us having lunch at University ESPM SP after touring their digital media production and research facilities. They have an interesting living lab for the future of retail.
In Sao Paulo we also visited Anhembi Morumbi University, where one of our Master of Digital Media students graduated. Anhembi Morumbi University has a large advertising and marketing program, and excellent design programs.
Our last stop was at SAGA SP. Through the Girls Learning Code event that we held at Centre for Digital Media and the Tomorrow’s Master of Digital Media program, we’ve seen young people’s strong interest in digital media training for their future careers. SAGA focuses on offering after school digital media programs for teenagers.
Thanks to the organizational skills of our own Ana Johnston, and with help from Lorena Chatwell of Canada Express Consulting, the trip was a huge success. I look forward to deeper collaboration with Brazilian universities in the coming years and, hopefully, more Master of Digital Media students from that region as well.
Are you Brazilian and interested in the Master of Digital Media program? Join our waitlist for the next Brazilian webinar.