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Gateway was the community newsletter of Pratt Institute published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement through spring 2014. For current Pratt-related news, visit the News page on Pratt’s website.


Film/Video and Photography Department to Become Separate Departments

The Department of Film/Video and Photography will stand as two distinct departments beginning July 1. The decision to create two separate departments was driven by the increasing complexity of both disciplines and their potential for growth, says Concetta M. Stewart, dean of the School of Art and Design.

“The grammars, sensibilities, and intellectual direction of all that was once known as 'Media Arts' here at Pratt and in recent years as the 'Department of Film/Video and Photography' are different and worthy of individual exploration,” says Stewart.  

Stewart adds that the restructuring within the School of Art and Design recognizes that disciplines can no longer be tied to each other simply because of technical similarities, even while programs build upon their historic roots. Stewart calls the change exciting, because the photography department will be able to develop programmatic nuances among documentary photography, photojournalism, and commercial photography while continuing to explore the theoretical frames that would, for instance, insert one photo-work into a gallery as a projection or print, and place another on a website as breaking news. Similar expansion and articulation will be possible in Film/Video, as students explore a range of professional and experimental genres.

“This meets the demands of both students and potential students,” says Stewart. “They will be able to specialize within photography or film/video, while building a myriad of meaningful connections to both well trodden and emerging subject paths. That, combined with the countless opportunities in New York City, made this division a logical step.”

Stewart also says that having separate departments will allow students to collaborate more closely with other departments of their choice.

“Students interested in fashion and editorial photography can work with the Department of Fashion Design; students who are interested in film as text and theory can work closely with the Department of Humanities and Media Studies in our School of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and students interested in making photographs that move can rely on the strong interdepartmental connections between the Film/Video and Photography departments,” says Stewart. “There is incredible potential for cross-disciplinary work.”

The School of Art and Design is reviewing the feasibility of creating a graduate film program, which would call for the Department of Film/Video to be its own department. 

The Department of Film/Video will be chaired by Leighton Pierce, who comes to us this July from his recent post as chair of the Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature at the University of Iowa. Professor Sarah Van Ouwerkerk, a faculty member in the current Department of Film/Video and Photography will serve as the interim chair of the Department of Photography until a search for a permanent chair is completed.

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