XSEAD is an community platform for those working across disciplines: design, the arts, engineering and science. It’s a home for creative works, innovative processes and explained outcomes that cut across traditional boundaries.

Create, Curate, Converse

XSEAD has three key areas which are carefully connected to provide a community driven network which is responsive to contemporary trends, topics and themes.

A venue to share and discuss current work across the field through community contribution. It will also offer a ‘work-in-progress’ area, to chart the development of a project from idea to completion, to solicit informed feedback and to provide mentorship from community leaders.

Distinguished organizations and community leaders have partnered with XSEAD to develop curated sets of high-quality examples of integrative works. Each set will build visual explanations of integrative works, representing a perspective on the history and prospects of the field.

Initially, this editorial layer has invited articles discussing themes of relevance to integrative works across science, art and technology. However, as the community platform matures, this will give way to a peer-reviewed journal for reporting new integrative works through multimodal forms.

Connecting Science, Engineering, Design & the Arts

  • Discover and Connect

    Come to know the diverse community creating and innovating across science, engineering, arts and design. Through recommendations, discover and connect with your fellows to collaborate, share and discuss.

  • Share Wares

    The platform will house a community contributed commons of assets, media and code of collective value. This resource layer will 'lift the hood' on the diversity of tools, techniques and approaches employed in practice.

  • Underway & Evolving

    We hope to make the process as much a part of how we talk about our work as the outcome. The platform helps chart the development of work over time and offers multiple opportunities for feedback and critique.

  • Curating the Field

    Showcase and acknowledge the outstanding work which has influenced our field. Invited curators will share their perspective on exemplary work.

  • Developing Dialog

    Think and reflect on the challenges and opportunity for the community through essays and conversation. Explore the topics and themes which will shape our community

  • Rethinking Scholarship

    This is a space for the community to curate knowledge in novel ways. Beyond text, reporting will be representative of the work described, including multimedia, code, data and tools. This new and open editorial will be guided and influenced by the community.

A multi-site research initiative

The XSEAD platform is a large scale multisite initiative supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1141631. The goal of this work is to develop technology solutions to supporting networks of creativity and build an understanding of the communities collaborating across traditional disciplines.

Lead Institution

This work is being coordinated by a number of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

Collaborating Institutions

To bring about this platform, a number of institutions have partnered as part of this research activity.

  • Donna Cox
    Principal Investigator, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
  • Hari Sundaram
    Co-Principal Investigator, School of Arts, Media + Engineering, Arizona State University
  • Jonas Braasch
    Co-Principal Investigator, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Shawn Brixey
    Co-Principal Investigator, University of Washington
  • Gerhart Fischer
    Senior Personelle, University of Colorado Boulder

Increasing Research Evidence

The Challenge

One of the greatest challenges facing the United States in research and education is how to fundamentally encourage innovation across all sectors and spawn new solutions to address global challenges. Increasing research evidence and industrial innovations (i.e. mobile computing, social media) confirm that broad interdisciplinary collaborations that include both science and art fields have great potential for spawning creativity. An emerging hybrid community of scientists, engineers, artists and designers is producing innovative and entrepreneurial research that advances new knowledge and proposes holistic solutions to societal challenges including health, education and environmental change. Yet, this burgeoning interdisciplinary community continues to face problems in its efforts to self-organize among constraints imposed by academic systems and historical biases; it continues to seek a dynamic and synergizing research and outreach exchange.

Building Participation

Building upon lessons-learned, we propose a new virtual exchange to support networks of creativity and innovation amongst science, engineering, art and design (XSEAD). XSEAD will integrate four key characteristics of successful, media rich social networking websites for incentivizing participation:

  1. low entry threshold for contributions coupled with incentivization for deep engagement;
  2. opportunities for users to discover and connect to communities of shared interests,
  3. dynamic organization based on community usage patterns; and
  4. intuitive navigation, search and discovery.

The XSEAD project will address the following urgent needs of the interdisciplinary science-art community: establish a cohesive view of the field and provide a branding to attract entrepreneurs and industry; create a venue for multimodal documentation of research outcomes; provide extensive databases of prior and current research; allow rapid dissemination of research outcomes; facilitate forming of collaborations and specialized sub-communities; document and help evolve science-art curricula efforts and evaluation approaches; provide context and support mechanisms for science-arts careers; establish evidence of the societal impact of interdisciplinary science-art integration. Our work on the development of XSEAD will also contribute further knowledge in three technical areas:

  • Content organization (improve the effectiveness of algorithms for dynamic, usage based, organization of large multimedia databases);
  • Recommendation algorithms (promote the use of multi-relational structures for providing effective recommendations);
  • Community dynamics (develop novel algorithms to extract structures that encode meaningful interactions in online social networks).
Broader Impact and Objectives

XSEAD will expose general non-expert audiences to the evolution and potential of collaborative research across science and arts. It will attract the interest of young people searching for careers that combine the rigor of science and engineering with the creativity and reflection of arts and design. It will serve teachers and informal learning communities seeking exemplars for curricular development, active practitioners looking for further institutional opportunities to present and support their ongoing work, academics developing related interdisciplinary efforts and commercial companies seeking cross-trained expertise. XSEAD will enable rapid research exchange and in-depth peer-reviewed scholarship between the worlds of science and art and provide a unique and deeply engaging inroad to a vast and creative repository. XSEAD will help promote new paradigms for developing human centric solutions to complex societal problems (i.e. cost effective health and wellness, globalization and conflict, adaptive K-12 learning, electronic communication and security). These paradigms will combine knowledge across broad and diverse areas of human knowledge.