“Weird Media” conference offers students college credits

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IDMAA’s “Weird Media” conference website’s main page.

Erich Schweitzer, news reporter

As summer break rolls around once more, some students are looking for opportunities to earn credits before the start of their next school year. As part of the “Weird Media” themed conference being hosted by Winona State University this summer, there will be a workshop during the week leading up to it offering students who participate three college credits.

The conference is being put on by IDMAA, the International Digital Media and Arts Association, while the workshop will be led by artists Patrick Lemieux and Staphanie Strickland from the University of California-Davis.

Patrick Lichty, the lead curator of this year’s conference and Winona State mass communication professor with a fondness for creative digital media, describes the workshop as “a quick, intense, low stakes credit-bearing workshop that might open a student’s mind to new ideas about the creation of media and how it might work in creative ways or in the marketplace.”

According to IDMAA’s website, the workshop is “an experimental, hands-on, game design camp.” Participants will spend the week altering a conventional platform gaming experience by creating multiplayer controllers, requiring multiple people to work together to beat the game.

Davin Heckman, another professor in Winona State’s mass communications program and curator for the event, said the workshop will be a good opportunity for students interested in creative digital media to build relevant skills for their career.

According to Heckman, some students at Winona State are already registered to attend the conference. Heckman is also offering some students in his classes a chance to present their course work at the event. He went on to explain that he wants students in the digital media field to grab this opportunity.

Students who attend the conference can mingle with the many artists and scholars who will be in attendance, which offers them the chance to do media-specific networking and receive professional advice and feedback.

The conference itself will be an exhibition of digital media art presented by artists from all over the world. Heckman said they have already received more than 120 submissions from artists who want their work to be featured. There will also be presentations and lectures to offer a learning experience for those who attend.

Winona State students, particularly those in media or art-related fields, play a large role in the university’s goals of hosting the conference. Lichty hopes to use the conference to build a “stronger creative media economy” which would open “deeper research opportunities and more opportunities for our students.”

This is Winona State’s third year hosting the conference. Heckman said they plan to keep hosting it for many years to come.

There is a $50 registration fee for attendees of the workshop and conference. The conference and exhibition will go on from June 24 to June 26, 2022, and the workshop will be held at the Winona State during the week leading up to the conference.

Whether you have an interest in art and digital media or are just looking for a unique credit-earning opportunity, the Weird Media conference and workshop offers many opportunities for students of just about any study to explore and learn.