Open Arts Courses

The following Open Arts courses are offered to NYU students throughout the academic year.  

Please refer to NYU Albert to confirm if the course is offered during a particular term.

Classes for graduate students are noted with the OART-GT designation

Arts & Humanities

Art Matters: From Artist to Action

OART-UT 300 / 2 units / First seven weeks only

What subject matters do we discuss through art?
Why does art matter as a cultural enterprise?
What is the artist’s relationship with the community/audience?
How do social, cultural, political ideas influence the artist’s motivation?

This new master class invites Tisch Artists in Residence into the classroom to share insights about their work, including their methods, successes, failures, as well as their relationship with their community, workspace, collaborators, and audiences. Students will explore what motivates the artist and what paths they take to articulate their ideas into creative projects. The visiting artists will be prompted to address what matters to them as artists and scholars and global citizens; questions will be posed, including: what are the ways artists respond to the matters that affect their communities? What role do they play in raising issues of resonance/urgency and what are the challenges to effecting change through artistic research and practice? Each week the visiting artist will engage with a series of questions pertaining to the “matters” of making work and the significance of why their work “matters”.

*Humanities credit for TSOA students


Jill Sigman is an artist who choreographs with bodies and materials. Her work exists at the intersection of dance, visual art, and social practice. She has built huts out of trash in places such as The Ringling Museum of Art and a fjord in the Arctic, and used them as sites for performance and community discussion. She has stored seed, cultivated weeds, and created sculptural installations and dances based on them. She has studied permaculture and created movement scores that embody its principles; volunteered on urban farms and planted a field of kale in performance; and danced in a ring of 3,000 broken eggshells containing people’s answers to the questions “what have you broken?”, “what have you lost?” and “how would you like to die?”.

Bodies in Cultural Landscapes

OART-UT 706 / 4 units

This course examines the Western fascination with the moving body in different cultural environments and throughout colonial and postcolonial historical periods until the present time.  It will begin by investigating early images and artistic representation of the body in motion captured by European ethnographers at the turn of the 19th century, and continue tracing it to current trends of contemporary culture.  The goal of this course is to develop a critical understanding of the culture built around the body as subject as well as a marker of otherness. This course will offer students an opportunity to study and articulate, intellectually and physically, the legibility of bodies in motion within different cultural landscapes. Body as Culture: Bodies in Cultural Landscapes will provide an open forum in which to investigate human movement within the specific aesthetic system and cultural practice of early ethnographic representation to contemporary culture’s engagement with the moving body. It will offer insight into personal and cultural identity, stimulating an expanded recognition and appreciation of difference. This course offers students the opportunity to explore simultaneously their intellect (in class viewing, readings and discussions), as well as in the presentation of their own version of ethnographic research and representation based on a topic of their choice discussed with instructor. Students will engage weekly with exercises and assignments based on course material.

Politics of Portraiture

OART-UT 826 / 4 units

This course explores the pictorial articulation of individual human likeness and its fiction in the public forum. The art of portraiture has survived its own origins in myth making and archetype building. The human image, or icon, forever landmarks the voices, textures, physicality, spirituality, symbols, politics, aesthetic concerns and military contexts, religious rituals, government, calendar ceremonies, daily functions, heroic acts and social disorders of diverse cultures throughout recorded history. It is the history of creation, the story of romance, the mark of progress, the record of royalty and the profile of democracy. It is the revolution of fine art and a catalyst of discipline. Imaging the individual in the public eye is the story of humankind. This course bridges the worlds of the oral and written mythologies which inhabit and empower us and the creative manifestation (conscious and unconscious) of these ancient archetypes into contemporary art, media and design. Students will critically rethink the implied and material presence of portraiture in everyday life. Students will gain practical knowledge and insight into the origins and potential power of the archetypes which permeate our collective unconscious.

Poetics of Witnessing

OART-UT 829 / 4 units

Today, many documentarians consider themselves working within a well-defined human rights framework where images and film are used to raise awareness about social injustice. On the far edge of this movement, however, there are writers, photographers and filmmakers whose work calls attention to the traditional documentary ethics of bearing witness but whose modes of representation blur the lines between fact and fiction. This body of work is more open-ended to interpretation and multiple readings, which also include more personal themes such as loss and melancholy, the ephemeral nature of time and memory, nostalgia and change. We will study several different kinds of visual poetics such as combining documentary photos with literature, artists working with archives and found images, the personal essay film, ethnographic poetics, photo reportage and new media visual storytelling, mixed media and public projections. Some of the writers and artists we will study include Alfredo Jaar, W.G. Sebald, Chris Marker, Christian Boltanski, Forough Farrokhzad, Susan Sontag, Marcelo Brodsky, Roland Barthes, Miguel Rio Branco, Alexander Sokurov, Lorna Simpson, Jean Rouch, Susan Meiselas, Jonas Mekas. 

Contemporary Cuba: Art, History, Politics, Ideas

OART-UT 832 / 4 units

The course will focus on the development of different artistic media over five decades of Cuba’s contemporary history and consider how Cuban works of art reflect the complexity of the country’s history, culture and changing political situations. Beginning with photography from the 1960’s that recorded the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, we will analyze the history of the post-revolutionary era, focusing particularly on the fusion of propaganda and art to construct iconic images, such as the famous photo of Che Guevara by Alberto Korda. We will study the impact of Cuban cultural policy dictated by Fidel Castro in 1961 and in 1970 through documents of the period, which determined the course of Cuban arts for decades. We will continue with a survey of the visual arts on the island and consider how they constituted highly sophisticated interpretations of the always changing reality, whether in painting of the 1970’s and 80’s or installation practice of the 1990’s. Classic documentaries and films by prestigious Cuban filmmakers (Santiago Alvarez and Tomás Gutiérrez Alea) will be reviewed and analyzed, and we will conclude with an analysis of the most recent artistic expressions: Cuban hip-hop music and the edgy video works of Ernesto Oroza, Henry Eric Hernández, and other young artists. In this most recent work, political criticism, Cuban history and deconstructive techniques collide, reflecting the multiple layers of Cuban culture and its continuing development today. The course will include visits to the Center of Cuban Studies and to The 8th Floor Gallery in New York to discuss Cuban artworks in view.

Working with Groups in Community Settings

OART-UT 1017 / 4 units

This course provides students interested in exploring their artistic field of study in community settings or providing community service through the arts, with a foundation for working with small and large group structures in community settings. Students will gain an understanding of group theory and stages of group development as they impact the visiting artist’s work with community groups. Cultural and ethnic issues and an overview of population needs will be discussed in relation to entering into and engaging community groups in the creative process. Students will work in small groups to brainstorm project ideas for working with groups in community settings and will prepare and present an individual project design for a visiting artist’s work with a community group, drawing on specific fields of artistic study and taking into consideration material covered in class lectures and discussions.

Green World

OART-UT 1057 / 4 units

Climate change, fossil fuels, lack of drinking water, over-population, GMOs, pollution, and the corporate campaign to discredit science are among the most critical problems of our time. Living in denial of these issues has become the West’s de facto cultural standard with only a fraction of the public taking action.
    How can artists, citizen-scientists, and storytellers intervene in conversations regarding life- threatening issues? How can we create works which will further important conversations and have the potential to activate change?
    Green World explores contemporary environmental issues with the goal of guiding artists to create informed, responsible works of positive social change. This course is open to all NYU students with an interest in the social, scientific, activist, or artistic interest in these issues and debates.

Green World II

OART-UT 1058 / 4 units

Green World II is an extension of the existing Green World I course. It is intended for students who have completed Green World I and are interested in a deeper dive into their area of research begun in that class. This lecture course is designed for students who are interested in developing a deeper understanding of the forces that contribute to a changing planet and in investigating the impact of a radically changing biosphere on their lives and on their communities. The course supports students’ efforts to link scientific research with creative practice to find innovative responses to the issues presented in class. This class will include one required weekend field trip to Black Rock Forest Consortium to observe and participate in the activities of an ecological field research station.

Art & Technology: Concepts, History, Principles

OART-UT 1059 / 4 units

Thesis: All art uses technology. Technology is not art. Whether a work of art is created to bridge the supernatural, convey experience, thought, or a world view, or something more, art is a three letter verb representing the result of an individual’s desire to create difference.
    This course is an exploration of the relationship between art and technology over time with an emphasis on work of the late 20th century and the dawn of the 21st century. During class we will examine recurring artistic concepts and consider how technology interprets the expression of these ideas.

Iran Arts Activism

OART-UT 1500 / 4 units

How to develop an activist relation toward a foreign country placed in a diplomatic blockade with little to no visiting access and in face of a continuous flow of hyperbolic content about the country by the mainstream news media? This course answers this question in the case of Iran through investigating and developing an artistic and critical encounter with the rich and complex cinematic and moving image resources and archives of and about Iran that have emerged since the World War II, the Cold War, the Islamic republic in the aftermath of the anti-imperialist revolution in 1979, and recent wave of cyberdemocracy after the disputed election in 2009.
    The course pays particular attention to an ethical conceptualization of "diplomacy" in its understanding of both the collective and individual dimensions as instrumental toward understanding of the course of democracy in Iran through art activism.
    By experiencing a variety of cinematic movements and film archives in small and large groups, we travel through two sharply contrasting sociopolitical eras before and after the revolution of 1979. We study artistic negotiations and analyze formal cinematic techniques and problematics of gender, ethnic, and racial representations through national framework.
    We draw from online and offline archival resources of philanthropic foundations, US National Archives, YouTube and digitized videos of documentary and fiction formats including video journalism and televisual commercials. While some films have been available commercially, a large volume of the media presented in class is rarely available in public.
    The course is organized primarily as workshop sessions of film and media analysis, brief lectures, and discussions of reading assignments. Course readings include a concise combination of primary archives, memoirs, historical surveys of Iranian cinema, introductory theories of art activism and public sphere, and important case studies of more recent digital media activism. Theoretical readings are chosen as historicized articles in narrative format in order to contextualize digital technologies and environments and to help students relate to culturally and historically unfamiliar situations. Assignments include weekly journals, viewing films outside classroom in small groups, group presentations, short papers, and/or optional final project of media art presentation. No prior knowledge of Iran and/or Persian languages are required for a successful completion of this course. 

Asian & Arab Diaspora in Literature & Film

OART-UT 1503 / 4 Units

Does the Turkish German filmmaker Fatih Akin, the Lebanese Brazilian novelist Milton Hatoum, the Japanese Peruvian poet José Watanabe, the Singaporean Australian writer Kim Cheng Boey, and the Tunisian Swedish novelist Jonas Hassen Khemiri have anything in common? In an increasingly multicultural, multilingual, transnational yet increasingly divided world, what insights do the works of these architects of the imagination offer to narrowly defined strata of Eastern culture? How do they add to the ongoing dialogue between East and West—on cultural translation, migration, the refugee crisis, conflict and love? How do they help us pose fundamental questions?
    This course is a laboratory for the exploration of major cinematic and literary oeuvres by the Asian and Arab diaspora living in cosmopolitan cities worldwide: Berlin, Paris, London, Rome, the Scandinavian capitals (Europe and the United Kingdom); Buenos Aires, Brazil, Chile, Mexico (Latin America); Montreal, New York, Los Angeles (North America). Each week we explore a global urban space and those creating there. As a starting historical point, the course examines their migration or exile, and the current cultural context they are creating in. Central to this class is exploring the diversity and complexity of their aesthetics and stylistics, the unique artistic voyage they take us on, the ways their creative productions address social issues, and the richness and intricacies of these societies. In our cross-disciplinary and cross-border conversations, we also examine how urban life and the cityscape create imaginative spaces, and the unique language these artists are originating on the page and screen.

Language as Action: Writing the World

OART-UT 1504 / 4 units

In this class we will study and engage language as a live organism, literature as a site for encounter and unearthing. We will read poems, plays and nonfiction by contemporary American and Anglophone writers globally whose works are changing culture, eradicating invisibility and building new languages. The works we read will put into question conventional labels and terminologies, enter new spaces of human and literary ecologies. This course will explore the self and the world; imagination, language, society and action. The works read and the creative writing assignments and exercises will provide the imaginative background for writing our words, our cultures and engaging in action through language bearing in mind that literature is “a key piece of democracy.” (Eileen Myles)

The City and the Writer: New York City

OART-UT 1505 / 4 units

The City and the Writer: New York City is a laboratory for studying New York City, works written about it, as well as creating new works inspired by it. New works—poems, short stories, short plays or films—that will serve as a map for possible journeys as they reinvent and talk back to centuries of debates on immigration and space, culture and literature. A cross-disciplinary and cross-border conversation that examines how urban life and the cityscape create imaginative spaces, and the way words create cities. NYC as a global space will be explored in the works of American writers with backgrounds from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean. How does the city shape the form of writing and language? How has literature challenged certain theories on space, and narratives constructed around urban identities? We will explore different neighborhoods and their histories and meet different inventors. Students get the unique opportunity to meet numerous residents, from theater makers, designers, architects, artists, filmmakers, feminists, actors, comedians, chefs and bodega owners. Discussions will revolve around private and public spaces, ruins and constructions, traditions and modernity, memory and hyphenated identities, literature and society. The class will integrate film, photography, painting among other medias, to enrich the visual study of NYC. The city is the stage that will inspire the students’ new works. Every block in NYC is a different film set; this class offers students the opportunity to be part of the magic and to create their own story here.

Urban Arts Workshop: New York

OART-UT 1925 / OART-GT 2925 / 4 units

This course will be composed of lectures, slide shows, screenings, readings, field trips, field assignments, written reactions, discussion and blogs, as well as visits from guest speakers and artists designed to expose students to the key concepts and fundamental theories of urban studies, public art and the urban-inspired works of many great artists and writers based in New York City. Each week another “form” of urban art will be investigated, including discussions about and encounters with street photography, graffiti, sculpture, installation art, dance, performance art, parkour (freestyle street gymnastics), gorilla theater, art vandalism and underground art, urban sound projects, large-scale projections, poetry, essays and short stories with an aim to understand how such art forms came into being and how they express a distinctly urban message to the inhabitants and visitors of New York City. The instructor seeks to combine the critical and theoretical with the experiential and personal in order to lead students to a deeper and more fruitful relationship with their city, the arts and themselves.

Dance & Dance Studies

History of Dance

OART-UT 701 / 4 units

This course will explore why and how dance is a vital participant in cultural practices around the world. Looking back through the perspective of present research, we will examine how dance is inherently a reflection of the culture it represents. A wide overview of dance will be covered, beginning with temple devotion in India, to its inclusion in the rituals of Bali, the Noh and Kabuki theatrical traditions of Japan, the rites of passage and ancestor worship in the Ashanti, Yoruba, and Dogon tribes of Africa, in Aboriginal Australian ceremonies, and in the rituals of Native American tribes. The presentation of dance at Court as a symbol of power in Catherine de Medici’s Renaissance pageants will be examined, and continued in viewing the Baroque spectacles of Louis XIV's Versailles and the Paris Opera. The inevitable impact of politics on dance will be studied in the propagandist works of China’s Cultural Revolution, the French Revolution’s influence upon Romantic ballets such as La Sylphide and Giselle, and how the repression of a Gypsy culture led to the emergence of Flamenco in Spain. In addition to written texts and video documentation, we will review examples of related art forms such as visual arts, music, and drama.

Why Dance Matters: Politics, Race, Class

OART-UT 703 / 4 units

Traversing Europe, the Americas, and Asia, this course investigates the various social, political, and historical contexts that have contributed to the evolution of dance, and conversely, explores the ways that performers and choreographers have utilized the medium of dance to reflect their personal concerns back to society in powerful ways. Artistic movements, choreographers, and dancers examined will include Vaudevillian tropes; the impact of the Industrial Revolution on ballet; sexual manipulation in the roles of Nijinsky; the political work of early modern dancers; WW I and II and its aftermath in the German Ausdruckstanz of Mary Wigman, Kurt Jooss, and in Japanese Butoh; the propagandist ballets of the Chinese Cultural Revolution; exploration of the commonplace in the psychological dance-theater of Antony Tudor and Pina Bausch; the anthropological research of black choreographers Katherine Dunham and Pearl Primus; exploration of Postmodern rebellion of the Judson Dance Theater; and the response of choreographers and performance artists to the Culture Wars and the AIDS crisis. Students will pursue extended research, view performance videos and documentaries, and be expected to write and talk about dance. 

Dancing Body in Practice and Theory

OART-UT 707 / 3 Units

(Tier II)

Part studio and part seminar, The Dancing Body focuses on the practice and history of movement and choreography in the context of Modern Dance and Performance Art in the second half of the 20th century. Though the exploration of ideas in cultural studies/dance studies essays, reviews, and writings by dance artists, students will engage with a range of physical activities and conceptual performances in practice and theory.  This course offers a unique opportunity for students to simultaneously pursue creative/physical practices while exploring the intellectual discourse that informs them. The goal of this class is to generate an artistic environment where students develop collaborative relationships throughout the creative process individually as well as collectively.

Steps, Rhythm & Movement: African Dance

OART-UT 800 / OART-GT 2800 / 2 units

This is an introduction to the dances and rhythms from Africa and the African Diaspora. Through movement, students will explore certain aesthetic characteristics that help to classify the dances as “African.” Traditional and or cultural dances and rhythms from various regions in Africa and the Caribbean will be taught along with the basic rhythmic patterns that are the foundation for the dances. There will be an emphasis on specific West African movements that have been transported and transplanted to the Americas. Class will consist of an extensive warm-up, including floor work, stretching, and isolation exercises that utilize elements of the Katherine Dunham isolation technique.

Modern Dance: Mind Body Knowledge and Expression

OART-UT 804 / OART-GT 2814 / 2 units

This course is an introduction to the fundamental concepts of Modern Dance technique that focuses on the dynamic rapport between body-mind knowledge and expression. In movement, students will become more aware and organized in their bodies. They will explore certain aesthetic characteristics that help to define dance material as “Modern” or contemporary. Through structured improvisation and teamwork approaches students will learn to dance from the inside out, exercise choice with imagination and work together as an ensemble. Ultimately, students will gain an appreciation for the expressive capacity of the body, recognizing shared, unifying attributes and those that are unique and intrinsic to each individual. The thorough warm up places an emphasis on breath and proper placement for safe practices and well being. It includes floor work, stretching and strength exercises and patterns that incorporate elements of Bartenieff Fundamentals. Short dances / sequences will be learned to sharpen knowledge of the Modern Dance lexicon and increase facility for translation of weight, space, time and energy ideas. All levels are welcome. No previous dance experience is required.


OART-UT 805 / OART-GT 2805 / 2 units

The purpose of this course is to enable the student to gain a heightened awareness, appreciation, and knowledge of dance through movement and performance. We focus on the foundations of dance such as control, aesthetics, alignment, development of strength and flexibility, dynamics, athleticism, musicality, use of space, development of learning strategies within a group context, and personal, artistic expression. The student’s mastery of their body, expression with their body and creativity through their body is the center of the work. Through individual and collective kinesthetic participation in unfamiliar patterns, related, but not limited to China, West Africa, United States, and Japan, the student is physically and conceptually challenged and informed. Using these learned dances as inspiration, students go on to re interpret, improvise and choreograph their own variations on dance forms in their class assignments. Dance experience is not necessary.


OART-UT 806 / OART-GT 2806 / 2 units

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of classical ballet technique. Looking into the evolution of ballet from the time of Louis XIV through the present, students will explore the different styles of training and performance presentation through the use of images, video, practice and discussions. Reading assignments will be provided to explain how social changes have affected the development of ballet technique and choreography. A thorough warm-up will be given in each class. The technical content will vary according to the skill level of the class and the individual dancer. Through the instruction of proper alignment and dynamic imagery, students will learn how to dance safely and improve their technical skills effectively. All levels are welcome. No previous dance experience is required. The course is designed to help students develop a clean and precise technical base for ballet dancing. Through practice and application, students will understand the unique structure of their own bodies and expand their awareness of self and others. They will discover new technical capabilities regarding flexibility, strength, coordination, balance and their comprehension of the ballet form in relation to music, space, time and energy. Eventually students will experience how the mind, body and breath come together to produce greater freedom in movement. Discussions will examine how this informs personal interactions in everyday life. Students are encouraged to study the different styles of ballet and ballet performers around the world. For the final group project, students will choreograph a short ballet that incorporates ballet vocabulary, dance or pedestrian movements and an idea that’s related to today’s society.

Steps, Rhythm & Movement: Hip Hop Dance

OART-UT 808 / OART-GT 2808 / 2 units

This is an introduction to the dances and rhythms from different styles that comprise Hip-Hop dance today. The first stage of the course will explore the wide array of styles that comprise and influence Hip-Hop movement. This course will not only introduce steps, but investigate root moves and historical context that shaped contemporary Hip-Hop today. During the course, students will also discuss the current and emerging trends of the genre. As an ever-evolving dance, this class will focus on budding dance styles, such as Flexing, Lite feet and Finger Tuts, comparing and contrasting those to case studies of past styles that emerged, (or re-emerged) to become heavily popularized such as Gliding, Krumping and Waacking. Additionally students will explore the globalized nature of Hip-Hop. To see the full evolution, students will see how other cultures have embraced and left their mark street styles, and how international dance battles and competitions have emerged, ultimately changing the landscape of Hip-Hop dance. Over the course of study students will begin to realize the complexity, the history and the varying opinions focused around Hip-Hop.

Site Specific to Immersive Dance Theater: Choreographing for Unconventional Formats and Spaces

OART-UT 810 / OART-GT 2810 / NCRD-UT 810

In this course, New York City – from its celebrated urban expanse to its lesser-known gems – will be our studio and our stage. There is no better way to experience the city than by immersing your body and your art into its many diverse landscapes. Site-Specific to Immersive Dance Theater: Choreographing for Unconventional Formats and Spaces is a research-to-practice course reconsidering the function, philosophy and reality of an evolving stage, choreographic process, and performing body. Not only is New York a conduit for local to international dance and theater, but it is also a safe space for artists to resist the norm and re-imagine models for making. Students will have the opportunity to create original choreographies on Governors Island, Brooklyn Museum and alongside Third Rail Projects’ "Then She Fell." Past experience in movement and/or performance training is not required.


Embodied Performance: Collaborative Creations

OART-UT 145 / OART-GT 2145 / 2 units

Embodied Performance: Collaborative Creations is a 2-credit studio course that explores the instructor’s original performance methodology, a fusion of physical theater modalities culled from Western practices (Psycho-physical actions, Viewpoints), Eastern practices (Butoh, Kundalini yoga) and related performance disciplines (Mask, Puppetry). This course provides foundational training for students who are interested in investigating the field of performative and collaborative arts and will serve as an entry point for NYU students interested in movement and physically based acting. 

Acting I: Introduction to the Actor’s Craft

OART-UT 1906 / OART-GT 2906 / 2 units

This course provides a foundation for understanding and practicing the craft of the actor. Beginning with theater games and improvisations, class participants will be challenged to explore and stretch their physical and emotional ways of expression and the scope of their imaginations. Students will begin to work with scripted material in the second half of the course and will learn basic script analysis to support their work with text as they integrate earlier exercises into presentation of scripted material. 

Not open to Tisch drama majors.

Dramatic Literature students should register for DRLIT-UA 637.

Acting II: Advanced Scene Study

OART-UT 1907 / OART-GT 2907 / 2 units

(Tier II)

Building on Acting I: Introduction to the Actor's Craft, this class provides students with techniques and skills designed to help them make the transition from theater games, improvisation and basic text work to detailed scene study. After beginning with ensemble building exercises to create a safe and supportive environment conducive to bold, creative exploration, the class will focus on methods of script analysis; playing actions; particularizing emotional meanings; ways to make creative choices while respecting the playwright's intent, and how to balance spontaneity with precision and aspects of character development. The goal of the class is to enable students to make the journey from text analysis to a full, immediate and inventive embodiment of the given circumstances, character adjustments and dramatic action. Scenes will be drawn from a wide range of dramatic material. 

Not open to Tisch Drama majors.

Dramatic Literature students should register for DRLIT-UA 639.

Acting for the Camera

OART-UT 1908 / OART-GT 2908 / 3 units

This course is for actors who want to explore and cultivate their filmic talents and for directors who want to create performances that exploit the potential of the camera. Part one of the course reviews the fundamentals of the acting process. Through exercises, improvisations and scene work, techniques and criteria for performances are established. In part two, students work before the camera. The minimalism of film acting is the primary thrust, illustrating the camera’s ability to capture nuances of behavior, and requiring from the actor less physicalization, greater concentration and maximal inner-life. In the third part of the course, scenes are rehearsed, lit, framed, and taped in a series of camera set-ups. Each student in the course receives a tape of his or her major project suitable, after basic editing, as a work sample or audition piece.

The Bard Out Loud: Introduction to Shakespeare

OART-UT 1909 / 4 units

This course provides a hands-on, performance-based introduction to reading, understanding, and performing Shakespeare’s works. Students will begin with text analysis, gaining a broad foundation in Shakespeare’s text, including but not limited to: use of language, meter, scansion, alliteration and antithesis in order to approach sonnets, monologues, and scenes from Shakespeare’s canon. Students will work as a class group to analyze sonnets as an introduction to working on Shakespeare’s plays. Throughout the course of the semester, students will work on a monologue and a scene for action-based acting and character work. Students will be expected to prepare and rehearse material outside of class and will be paired for a final assignment of preparing a Shakespeare scene for rehearsal and presentation in class. Monologue and scene suggestions will be provided from a list handed out by the instructor. This is not a lecture-based seminar on Shakespeare’s writing, but rather an introductory approach to analyzing text for clues and insights into performing Shakespeare’s works. Open to all students of all levels of experience. Not open to Tisch Drama Majors.

Comic Relief

OART-UT 1910 / OART-GT 2910 / 2 units

This class explores the acting of comedy through theater games that focus on comedic techniques such as quick change, neurosis, obsession, shift of status, body part out of control, etc. as well as through analysis and performance of comedic text. If drama holds a mirror up to life, comedy holds up a magnifying glass. The boldness of choice and degree of commitment demanded by comedy are what make it so difficult to perform, especially because bold choices must be supported by psychological truth. Characters' objectives, obsessions, needs and phobias are what compel them to act in comical ways; if actors don't find the pain and truth of these catalysts, their behavior becomes silly, and the comedy, shtick. The exercises employed in this course (many of which have their roots in commedia dell'arte) help participants to free their bodies and voices, allowing them to commit both boldly and truthfully, and will be used to analyze and bring to life comedic text from television, to movies and theater.

Auto Performance Lab

OART-UT 1913 / 4 units

This is a creative workshop designed for playwrights who yearn to act and actors who have an itch to write. Using one’s self as material, participants create a short solo performance for an end-of-semester presentation. The lab combines physical work (both group and solo) with in-class/out-of-class writing exercises aimed at enhancing students’ capacities to transform the stuff of their real lives into mimetic fiction. The final composition may stand alone as a finished, self-contained piece or may be an extended monologue planned as part of a full-length play, given the creator’s primary interest (solo-performance vs. playwriting). In-class exercises, group critiques (though the instructor prefers the word “responses”) as well as analysis of other artists’ solo performances are used to shape students’ final compositions.

Open Arts Actor's Workshop

OART-UT 1916 / OART-GT 2916 / 8 units

Acting for Stage and Screen is the Open Arts Studio at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. It is designed for a select, diverse student body, ready to challenge and stretch the physical and emotional instrument of the actor. The studio is dedicated to developing the actor's entire instrument-the body, the voice, and the imagination. Training frees the actor, so that he/she is able to go with his instincts and impulses; out of the head and into the viscera. In scene study classes the student discovers the importance of text analysis and staying in the moment, and the need for selecting strong objectives, formidable obstacles, varied actions, and meaningful personalizations. The Alexander technique and teachings of Linklater is used in voice production. The movement component includes yoga, circus, and the teachings of Laban. 

The Open Arts Acting Studio is a six component acting conservatory that focuses on the entire actor's instrument body, voice and imagination. If you have enrolled in any college-level acting class or you have equivalent experience, be in touch with the Director of the Acting Studio, Angela Pietropinto ( to receive a permission code to register for the 8pt studio. In some cases, a meeting/audition may be required.

Downtown Theatre

OART-UT 1921 / 4 units

This course explores the ecology of artistic creation in the "downtown" New York scene. New venues, performance forms and modes of expression and distribution are attracting audiences to unconventional experiences in "the cracks of the city." Three themes are explored. First, geography and location; where the non-traditional performance activity is taking place; then hierarchy, or how the venues and institutions of “downtown” relate to each other and finally; networking, or how and why audiences connect with artists and performances within in contemporary performance.

Dramatic Literature students should register for DRLIT-UA 301.

History of American Musical Theatre

OART-UT 1922 / 4 units

A survey of American musical theatre, with an emphasis on its significant and unique contribution to US popular culture. Through audio and video recordings, slides, demonstrations, and visits to live performances, the course traces the musical’s relation to 19th century popular entertainments such as minstrelsy, vaudeville, and burlesque, as well as its relation to popular song and dance forms throughout the 20th century to the present day.

Dramatic Literature students should register for DRLIT-UA 296.

Fundamentals of Acting I

OART-UT 1924 / OART-GT 2924 / 4 units

An introduction to the central tools and skills that make up the actor’s art and craft. Through theatre games, structured improvisation, and beginning scene work, students will exercise their imaginations, learn how to work as an ensemble, and develop a sense of their bodies as expressive instruments. All techniques covered have been developed by the most celebrated 20th century theorists, such as Stanislavski, Grotowski, and Bogart, and are the same theories that underlie the training of the Tisch undergraduate acting conservatory. No prior experience necessary.

Not open to Tisch Drama Majors.

Dramatic Literature students should register for DRLIT-UA 649.

Dramatic Writing

Fundamentals of Developing the Screenplay

OART-UT 35 / 4 units

The course combines lectures on the basics of feature length screenwriting with the development of the student’s own writing work. Students are required to complete 25-50 pages of a full length screenplay. The students study story structure, conflict, and character, in conjunction with the screening and study of several films and screenplays. The emphasis will be on visual storytelling and developing a strong and distinctive screenwriting voice. All students must come to the first class with two ideas for full-length screenplays.

Intermediate Screenwriting

OART-UT 36 / 3 units

(Tier II)

A continuation of the training presented in Fundamentals of Developing the Screenplay. Required work in the class includes extensive scene work. Guided by their screenwriting instructor, students will complete the screenplay begun in Fundamentals of Developing the Screenplay and then do a rewrite or they may begin, complete, and rewrite a new full-length screenplay. The focus in this class will be on story structure and development and the completion of a full-length screenplay. If you plan to do a new work, you must come to the first class with three ideas for full-length screenplays. Each idea can be described in one or two paragraphs.

Playwriting Practicum

OART-UT 1040 / 4 units

An introductory course on the basic techniques employed in writing a play. Class includes discussion of samples of the students’ work in addition to discussion of theory and various theatrical exercises. Students read selected plays to enhance discussions of structuring a dramatic piece of writing. The course addresses actors writing material for themselves and focuses on character and dialogue as well as examining scene work, outlining, and the completion of a first draft of a one-act play. This course counts towards Theatre Studies requirements for Drama students and as elective credits for other TSOA students.

Playwriting Practicum II

OART-UT 1041 / 4 Units

(Tier II)

One hundred years ago, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch famously advised writers: “Murder your darlings.” (The Art of Writing, 1916.) Harsh words, perhaps--but it is in the process of revision that the real writing begins. This course is a continuation of the principles learned in Playwriting Practicum I, with a special focus on the workshopping and developmental process of a new work for the stage. Class discussions and exercises will examine methods for improving dialogue, crafting satisfying reversals, generating material, enriching characters while maintaining consistency, as well as advanced structural considerations of the 3-act form. The semester begins with a revision of the student’s already-written play (or, in some cases, extended scene). A sustained analysis of methods of critiquing—both self and others—is an ongoing concern of the course. Students will emerge with a revised one-act or full-length play. Enrollment prerequisite includes Playwriting Practicum I, a submitted writing sample and permission of the instructor.

Writing the TV Sitcom

OART-UT 1045 / 4 units

Adapted from the Dramatic Writing Program’s popular “Introduction to the Sitcom” course, this intensive scriptwriting class answers the question, “What do I need to break into TV writing?” – the student will be guided through the step-by-step development of an episode for an ongoing TV sitcom, from premise line to one-page outline, to pages and revisions. The course will require the completion of a polished draft while introducing students to the rigors of professional standards through weekly story goals.

Writing Your Life

OART-UT 1047 / 4 units

If autobiography is a retelling of the events of your life from beginning to end, then memoir—from the French for “to remember”—is an examination of some events of your life through a particular frame. We tell stories drawn from our lives all the time, but we sometimes fail to consider the themes and ideas that connect those stories with themselves and with each other; that failure robs us in turn of the opportunity to understand better both the world and ourselves. Each week of this course you’ll both read and write thoughtful memoir; by the end of the semester, you’ll be able to write reflectively about your own past, examining not just the stories you tell about your life but also those stories’ deeper meanings, their part in shaping your identity, and their echoes in your present and your future.

Musical Theatre Writing Workshop

OART-UT 1050 / OART-GT 2050 / 4 units

A team-taught workshop that encourages composers, lyricists, and book writers to find their own voices and learn to merge their unique artistic visions with those of other collaborative artists to create exciting new songs in a theatrical context. Rotating teams write and present a series of projects culminating in a short musical theatre work to be presented at the end of the semester by Broadway actors. Theatre songwriting craft, issues of communication between artists of different disciplines, and storytelling through music and text are emphasized. Great musical theatre works of the 20th century are read and discussed to support the students' examination of their own creative process. Poets, playwrights, and writers from other genres, and composers from a wide variety of stylistic background ranging from pop to classical-country, hip-hop, rap, and jazz to fusion, are welcome to participate.

Film & Media Production

Special Effects Makeup I

OART-UT 14 / OART-GT 2014 / 4 units

This is an introductory level hands-on workshop designed for students wishing to explore their artistry, experienced makeup artists seeking advanced techniques, non-makeup artists just starting out, and anyone who has ever wondered “how’d they do that?” This course explores the art of special effects make-up. Topics include “out-of-kit” makeup effects including contusions, bruises, burns and frostbite; skin safe molding procedures; casting and painting silicone replica props, frozen death makeup; and designing and creating a 1:4 scale character maquette.  Anatomical reference and safety using materials is also addressed. Students receive their own specially designed makeup kit with all materials necessary to complete all in-class assignments. No artistic background required

Special Effects Make Up II

OART-UT 16 / OART-GT 2016 / 4 units

(Tier II)

This course expands upon Special Effects Makeup I in an even more rigorous and challenging hands-on workshop environment. It is designed for students who have already successfully completed Special Effects Makeup I and wish to further develop and build upon the skills and techniques learned in the class for their own film productions, photo shoots, or fine art projects. Special Effects Makeup II projects include molding/casting and painting a 1:1 scale silicone human face specimen in jar prop, application/blending and painting a ready made foam latex prosthetic, designing/sculpting/molding/mounting and painting a 1:1 scale mummified fairy in  shadow box and much more. Students will receive all materials and tools necessary to complete each in-class assignment. (NOTE: this class uses latex.  Please contact the instructor if you have latex allergies.)

Fundamentals of Filmmaking I: The Art of Visual Storytelling

OART-UT 560 / OART-GT 2560 / 4 units

This practical workshop is designed to introduce students to the techniques and theory of developing and producing short film ideas that are shot on digital video and edited digitally on computer using Adobe Premiere Pro software. The course centers on learning elements of visual storytelling through a spectrum of aesthetic approaches. Working in crews of four, students learn directing, shooting, and editing skills as they each direct three short videos (three to five minutes in length). This course is specifically designed to fulfill the major requirements in production of students not majoring in film and therefore, students who need to fulfill this requirement are given registration priority. 

Production Guidelines

Fundamentals of Documentary Filmmaking I: Making a Short Observational Documentary Film

OART-UT 580 / OART-GT 2580 / 4 units

Fundamentals of Documentary Filmmaking I is an intensive 14 week course combining lectures and creative workshops to introduce students to documentary film production, basic film production tools, and basic film grammar. Students work together in crews to research, discover, design, pre-produce, shoot and direct short documentary film exercises and a final short Observational documentary Film. No pre-arranged interviews, or prepared recreations are used. Only a directional camera microphone is employed to acquire diegetic sound while observing and filming real life activity.
    This course serves to expand the Open Arts program’s film production course offerings by making an introductory documentary filmmaking class available. It is similar in structure and technical scope to the existing Fundamentals of Filmmaking I course - which is a narrative based course.
    Fundamentals of Documentary Filmmaking I will also serve as an introductory film production course for other NYU students who may have an interest in non-fiction, documentary film production courses. This course will count towards the Documentary minor. Please email Tisch Special Programs at to ask to substitute this course for the minor.

Production Guidelines

Fundamentals of Filmmaking II: Directing & Producing the Short

OART-UT 561 / OART-GT 2561 / 4 units

(Tier II)

In this course, students will build upon the visual storytelling skills learned in the prerequisite course, Fundamentals of Filmmaking. Students will be introduced to color cinematography, aesthetics, sound recording, casting and directing actors, production logistics, and editing. This course is aimed at the film enthusiast who would like to further explore digital filmmaking. Students will shoot on HD digital video cameras, and edit with Adobe Premiere Pro software on Apple computers. Students will have access to a compact lighting and mini mic kit for use on their productions. Students are required to purchase their own portable hard drive to use during the editing process.
NOTE: Freshmen may not enroll.

Production Guidelines

Cell Phone Cinema

OART-UT 566 / OART-GT 2566 / 4 units

Hollywood in your palm. That is what this combination of lectures, screenings, demonstrations and practical production workshops will offer to the students in this course. 
There will be several professional guests making presentations and Q&A sessions from the mobile phone filmmaking industry. 
In addition to the historical and critical overview of the emergence and exponential growth of global cell phone cinema, students will shoot all footage on cell phones and download them for computerized editing. The final project will be under three minute shorts. 

Projects will include all genres of film and television: news, mini-documentaries, animation, music videos and narrative shorts. Completed student projects will be suitable to be posted on the Internet and entered into domestic and international mobile phone film festivals. For example, two minutes long improvisations of Bollywood Style Music Videos shot on Cell Phones by the students have been projected at the Tribeca Cinemas as part of the New York Indian Film Festival. It is suggested but not compulsory that students bring to the class a cell phone capable of recording video. 

Live Video Performance Art

OART-UT 567 / OART-GT 2567 / 4 units

This course will combine a history of video art and experimental film with practical training in the use of live video performance art technology. Students will explore new ways to create and edit films and videos using VJ software, projections, and multi-channel video surfaces. Workshops will demonstrate concepts and software that can be integrated into the creative process of video performance art and video art installations. COURSE OBJECTIVES At the completion of this course, the student will be able to: 1) Draw inspiration from the recent history of incredible video and multi-media artists. 2) Develop an understanding of audio and visual hardware used by VJ’s. 3) Use Modul8, live VJ software to manipulate digital media in real time to create Video Performance Art. 4) Use Projection Mapping techniques to project video art onto 3D surfaces. 5) Create original video performance art, video installations, and other performance pieces. 6) Utilize skills to make video art in the professional market.

Making Webisodes

OART-UT 569 / OART-GT 2569 / 4 units

Making Webisodes is an intensive 14 week course which combines lectures and workshops in which students create unique and compelling content for the web and then learn how to post that content on the web. Students will explore the basics of film production and online webisode distribution, working with - concept creation - writing - directing - acting - production design - camerawork - sound - editing - online tracking tools and social media - web monetization and advertising. The webisode is an exploding new art form. Web series, embedded ads, 5 second hooks, snapchats, vines and viral videos all present a variety of new media approaches within the entertainment industry, business, lifestyle, and politics. Webisodes are short visual presentations that either entertain us, directly sell us product, indirectly sell us product, or shock and engage our perspective, as in political propaganda videos. Lectures provide students with an overview of the emerging web series industry, concentrating on how the webisode is used to hook the audience, generate hits, and drive customers to websites and/or online advertising. Workshops then employ practical exercises to help the students conceive and create their own unique webisode, which can be narrative or non-narrative, fiction or non-fiction, experimental or satire, personal or political. The goal is to use the resources at hand and create instant media – webisodes. As the students produce their webisodes, they will learn by doing and they will be provided with practical knowledge of the art, craft, and commerce of webisodes.

Crowdfunding Video Production

OART-UT 570 / OART-GT 2570 / 4 units

One video can be worth a thousand backers in the digital age. Successful videos have raised millions of dollars for projects on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. This type of online fundraising is a whole new way for individuals to raise money. It is venture capital with no strings attached – direct donations not just to a philanthropic cause, but to business ventures as well. By donating online, people are sharing in the creation of marketable ideas and projects. Online crowdfunding is changing the shape of business innovation - and this class will explore all the techniques used to create a successful crowdfunding video that can capture interest and generate financial backers. Crowdfunding Video Production is an intensive course combining lectures and creative workshops to explore online fundraising for inventions, business ideas, artistic projects, social activism, scientific research, and community projects. Lectures provide students with an overview of the Crowdfunding industry and basic filmmaking, while practical workshops help the students conceive and create their own Crowdfunding Video. Students with existing personal projects can choose to post their videos on an actual crowdfunding campaign website - like Kickstarter. Students who do not have an existing project will create a mock campaign on a practice site, in order to produce a practice Crowdfunding Video. Students learn filmmaking techniques in class and then go on to shoot outside class, designing a simple attainable production. As the students produce their Crowdfunding Video, they learn by doing. The goal is to provide practical knowledge of the art, craft, and commerce of Crowdfunding Videos - concentrating on how their media presentations hook the audience and sell the project. Students will learn the business vocabulary of advertising and marketing - while they also conceive, create, produce, and direct their own Crowdfunding Video (or practice Crowdfunding Video).

Professional Lighting & Camera Techniques

OART-UT 571 / OART-GT 2571 / 2 units

Students will learn how to shoot professional looking shots on prosumer cameras with minimal lighting — by applying the lessons of professional cinematography to prosumer video cameras, DSLR’s, and cellphone videoography. A wide variety of Camera Exercises are assigned to train the students to shoot movies with natural light and limited prosumer camera gear. 3-4 person crews are selected to work together on all the Camera Exercises, and the Final Project as well. Students can shoot with their own prosumer cameras or choose from a selection of prosumer videocameras and DSLR’s provided by the course (SONY EX-1’s, SONY RX4K DSLR’s, and iPhones — pending availability). All camera exercises are then screened and reviewed in class.  Students analyze and discuss their own work and are assigned reshoots and pick-up shooting assignments to reinforce their in-class learning.

Film & Media Studies

Film: A Transformative Process, a Vision Beyond Technology

OART-UT 140 / 4 units

This course emphasizes the content, the aesthetics, and the purpose of cinema as a truly distinctive and dynamic art form uncovering the inner vision of the filmmaker, and the organic and transformative process where filmmakers projects their original truth, not compromising or borrowing ideas and themes from other films. Students explore the use of technology as a valuable tool that enhances the vision of the filmmaker without diminishing the organic texture of the work by its overwhelming presence. The course brings to light the stagnant and repetitious formulae of commercial cinema, resulting in diluted mainstream films. The works of iconic filmmakers who embrace and use film as an original, vibrant and reflective art form are reviewed throughout the course. Extracts and readings from relevant filmmakers are given throughout the course.

Understanding Story

OART-UT 568 / 4 units

Understanding Story is a class composed of lectures, discussions, screenings, readings, critical and creative writing, group critiques and presentations. The course is designed to expose the student to the fundamental principles of storytelling across a spectrum of mediums, including the written story, playwriting, film, poetry, dance, games, photography, fine art and music. How do all these different art forms tell stories? How can the student apply what is learned to their own creative work? History and theory of story will be studied and used to inspire personal and creative work in order to better understand how story can most successfully be expressed in different mediums and reach its audience.

Portrait of an Artist: Walter Murch

OART-UT 901 / 4 units

This course examines the artistic career and creative work of Walter Murch, Oscar-winning film editor and sound designer, and the first and only artist to win Academy Awards for both film editing and sound mixing on a single film (The English Patient, 1997). The class will provide an unprecedented inside look into Mr. Murch’s processes of sound designing, editing, mixing, writing, and directing on such acclaimed and memorable films as THX 1138, American Graffiti, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, Return to Oz, The English Patient, Touch of Evil, and Cold Mountain. Through interviews, articles, and materials from his private archives never before publicly available, students learn about the creative world of an artist who has brought the importance of sound and editing to a new level. In addition to his work in film and his inventions used in the filmmaking process, two additional areas of interest of Mr. Murch will be examined: translations of Curzio Malaparte’s writings and his passion for astronomy. Mr. Murch will participate on several occasions in the course as a guest lecturer by visiting the class and/or via video conferencing.

Impact Producing: Making Social, Political, & Cultural Change Through Documentary

OART-UT 1004 / 4 units

Impact Producing is an emerging field in the film industry that uses issue-driven films as catalysts to create social, political, or cultural change through advocacy and engagement. Just as films have producers to manage the creative and financial process from script to screen, they also increasingly need Impact Producers to take the film campaign from production to impact. This hands-on class will guide participants through the essentials for becoming an Impact Producer by identifying key skills and goals. Participants will learn the scope of work necessary for building allies and partnerships, creating and measuring successful campaigns, and transforming passion for social change into a viable career path. Each semester the class will work in groups to create an actual impact strategy for a film in current release as a final project.

History of Documentary Film

OART-UT 1701 / 4 units

The course traces the documentary film from its origins to the present day. Pioneer documentarians like Dziga Vertov and Robert Flaherty saw in documentary film the ability to portray life with a kind of truthfulness never before possible. Early Polish filmmaker Boleslaw Matuszewski wrote that while “the cinematograph does not give the whole truth at least what it gives is unquestionable and of an absolute truth.” Since those heady days, it has become all too clear that documentaries have no special access to the truth. Nevertheless, as this still-young art evolved, documentarians of different schools constantly sought new means to tell the human story. Documentary filmmaking has always been a blend of artistry and technical means and we will also explore this critical relationship. The course explores the development of the documentary and the shifting intentions of documentary filmmakers through the evolution of narrative approach and structure paying special attention to the documentary tradition’s relationship to journalism. Students examine how different filmmakers have gone about trying to convey “reality” on screen both through the use and avoidance of narration, through interviews, editing and dramatizations. Throughout the semester, students investigate how image-driven medium attempts to report stories and the ways an emotion-driven art can be problematic for journalistic objectivity. Finally, the ethical and journalistic responsibilities the documentary filmmaker are discussed. Special attention is given to dramatic re-creations, the filmmaker’s relationship to his/her subjects and the construction of narrative through editing.

Master Class in Documentary

OART-UT 1702 / OART-GT 2702 / 4 units

Note: Fall semester only

This course, while not a production class, is designed to give students the opportunity to learn each stage of the documentary filmmaking process from the best working professionals in their field. Each week we will watch a documentary and meet someone who had a pivotal role in the making of that documentary. Our guests will include producers, directors, cinematographers, sound engineers, editors, writers, film composers and sound mixers. These professionals will share their experience and expertise with the class and answer questions about their work thereby providing a foundation of insight into the decisions, tools and skills that go into the making of good documentaries. Class discussions will explore the creative and technical decisions involved in the making the film.

The Art of the Interview

OART-UT 1930 / 4 units

The interview is at the heart of the documentary film and many forms of media programming, print journalism and theatrical performance. It is a basic tool in academic research. This course will analyze the skills required to produce a successful interview: selecting subjects; preparing and posing questions; and focused listening. Students will be exposed to some of the finest examples of interviews across disciplines demonstrating the range of styles and contexts for the interview. Whether with a random stranger, a family member or a well-known personality, students will develop the ability to conduct meaningful interviews during the course of the semester. 


See the Game Center for more information about Games at Tisch

Games 101

OART-UT 1600 / 4 units

Games 101 is the foundational course for the NYU Game Center. The focus of Games 101 is game literacy – a shared understanding of games as complex cultural and aesthetic objects. The class will incorporate lectures, discussion, readings, and writing assignments, but the primary activity of the class is critical play – playing games in order to better understand and appreciate them. The class will cover games on and off the computer, including classic and contemporary board and card games, sports, and games on the PC, internet, and consoles.

Introduction to Game Development

OART-UT 1601 / 4 units

(Tier II)

Introduction to Game Development is a practical course that introduces students to the methods, tools and principles used in developing digital games. Over the course of the semester, students will work alone to create a two digital prototypes or ‘sketches’, before building on them to produce a final polished game, using the lessons learned in the earlier prototypes. This is a hands­-on, primarily lab­-based course, and so the focus is on learning ­by ­doing rather than on reading and discussion.

Intro to Game Design

OART-UT 1605 / 4 units

This is an intensive, hands-on workshop addressing the complex challenges of game design. The premise of the class is that all games, digital and non-digital, share common fundamental principles, and that understanding these principles is an essential part of designing successful games. Learning how to create successful non-digital games provides a solid foundation for the development of digital games. Students will analyze existing digital and non-digital games, taking them apart to understand how they work as interactive systems. A number of non-digital games will be created in order to master the basic design principles that apply to all games regardless of format.

Intro to Game Studies

OART-UT 1606 / 4 units

This class is an overview of the field of video games that approaches them from several theoretical and critical perspectives. No special theoretical background or prior training is needed to take the course, but to have had a broad practical experience with and basic knowledge of games is a distinct advantage. Also, an interest in theoretical and analytical issues will help. You are expected to actively participate in the lectures, which are dialogic in form, with ample room for discussion. The course will prepare the student to:

  • Understand and discuss games from a theoretical perspective - what are the components of a game?

  • Apply new theories and evaluate them critically.

  • Assess and discuss game concepts and the use of games in various contexts.

  • Analyze games, and understand and apply a range of analytical methods.

Intro to Game Programming

OART-UT 1617 / 4 units

Introduction to Programming for Games is a course that introduces students to the concepts, problems, and methods of computer programming, and how these apply to the creation of video games. Throughout the semester, students will have weekly programming assignments, first using Processing with the Java programming language, then the Unity3D Game Engine with C#. There will be a midterm game in Processing and a final game in Unity. The course assumes no prior programming knowledge, and is designed to touch on the basic principles of digital design in form of computer code. There will be an emphasis on programming fundamentals; they will be motivated through the lens of designing and producing video games.

Tackling Representation in Games

OART-UT 1618 / 4 units

Identity and representation are two of the most pressing and complex issues for contemporary video games, that without recognizing them an artist or critic would be missing a large part of how games are important in culture. With growing art and activist communities, video games are diversifying and grappling with a wide range of topics rarely seen before in the genre, and with it a greater need for informed perspectives on the topic of how marginalized people are depicted in media. This course discusses foundational theories of identity and encourages students to contribute their own ideas towards the design and interpretation of representation in games.

Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP)

See the Interactive Telecommunications Program for more information about ITP at Tisch

Creative Computing/Interactions Lab

OART-UT 20 / 4 units

What can computation add to human communication? Creating computer applications, instead of just using them, will give you a deeper understanding of the essential possibilities of computation. Conversely excitement about your computational project ideas whether they be in the domain of art, design, humanities, sciences or engineering will best propel your acquisition of skills necessary to realize those ideas. In this class student will learn computer programming primarily in the context of images and video. The course focuses on fundamentals of computer programming (variables, conditionals, iteration, arrays, functions, objects) as well as more advanced techniques such as image processing, networking, data parsing and computer vision. The Java-based ‘Processing’ programming environment is the primary vehicle. While the example applications will be primarily in a screen based, visual domain, motivated students are encouraged to incorporate more physical interface to their projects using tools such as the Arduino. The course is designed for computer programming novices but the project centered pedagogy will allow more experienced programmers the opportunity to play further with their project ideas and make lots of friends by helping the other students.

2016 SUMMER ENROLLMENT: If you would like to enroll in this course for Summer 2016, please register in the course code ITPG-UT 1000 Creative Computing. You can find that course information here.

Music Studies

Music for Film and TV

OART-UT 564 / 3 units

A professional composer leads a theoretical and practical course dealing with artistic and technical aspects in composing music for film and television. Through analysis, demonstration, and controlled practice, students learn and deal with the specifics of the composer’s job, duties, and responsibilities, and develop listening and production skills necessary for the creative use of music. The course provides an inside look into a relationship between composer and music editor, and explores music as a creative tool. In addition to musical considerations, the business and personal relationship between composers and directors/producers is discussed. 


Race in 20th Century American Popular Music

OART-UT 1153 / 4 Units

Contrary to the suggested notion of a “post-racial” U.S., unrest and protests against racial profiling and policing in places such as Florida, Ferguson, and New York highlight the persistent impact race has upon contemporary society. This impact is furthered by how racial identity is portrayed, performed, and understood by the masses through popular media, both historically and at present. In an effort to highlight the more covert ways that race continues to shape identity and society, we will explore its construction in the development of global popular music and the culture of sound in and before the 20th century in the United States. We will focus on music of the global African diaspora, produced primarily in the U.S., from the late nineteenth century until the civil rights era. Beginning with the sounds and performance of blackface minstrelsy, you will learn how racial identity has been constructed through the development of popular American music, ranging from Tin Pan Alley to blues and jazz, as well as to country and rock and roll. Irving Berlin, Big Momma Thornton, Elvis Presley, The Supremes, Johnny Cash, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, and Jimi Hendrix are but a few of the many artists who will be considered in relation to the history of American popular music and (racialized) sound.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.

The Sound of Fashion: Music’s Influence on Iconic Fashion Brands from Song, to Runway, to the Street

OART-UT 1189 / 2 Units

Raf Simons. Supreme. Undercover. Rick Owens. Takahiro Miyashita The Soloist. Helmut Lang. Number (N)ine and many more have built collectible fashion empires and massive secondary resale markets with soaring price points for rare items inspired by the attitudes and in collaboration with the greatest music and artists of all time: Bowie, Cobain, Jagger, Yeezy, Public Enemy and many more. This course will look closely at the timeless iconic brands, artists, and spirit which transfers from song, to runway, to street. We will look at rare and collectible pieces, the resellers marketplace, limited collaborations, licensed images, an the new generation of designers who carry the torch of music in the pieces they create. 


Music, Politics, & Culture in the 1960s

OART-UT 1199 / 4 Units

Fifty years after 1960s, the tumultuous events of that decade haunt our consciousness. Music is the most obvious example of how the “spirit of the 60s” still fascinates us. But no one can grasp the power of ‘60s music without understanding its political and aesthetic context. The style and substance of rock are intimately related to broader social currents of the time. This course will help you to understand those connections, and the logic that informed the music.

We will explore major movements associated with the ‘60s, including the counterculture, the sexual revolution, the New Left, Black Power, Second-Wave Feminism, and Pop Art. We will consider the roots of 60s sensibility, from the Beats, hipsters, and existentialists of the postwar era to the folk revival of the early part of that decade. We will examine the philosophical currents of the ‘60s through some of its leading literary figures, including James Baldwin, Allen Ginsberg, Marshall McLuhan, Herbert Marcuse, Susan Sontag, Ellen Willis, and Tom Wolfe. In addition, we will discuss the aesthetic strategies of Andy Warhol, who influenced everything from rock music to cinema and art. We will discover how the rebellion against distinctions between “highbrow” and “lowbrow” culture produced a new aesthetic sensibility central to the rise of rock. These artifacts will be examined alongside music with a similar spirit, so that they can be experienced contrapuntally. Iconic songs will be presented against material from other media so that their congruencies are evident. I will use my own experiences as a prominent rock critic in the ‘60s, and my personal interactions with important rock creators—such as the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison—to bring the era alive, leaving you with a new perspective on how the music and the values of that generation were related to your life. And hopefully it will be groovy.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.

The Business of Music Publishing

OART-UT 1235 / 4 Units

This course focuses on the business of music publishing, which has served as a powerful engine fueling the growth of the music business since the first decade of the 20th century. Song copyrights are among the most important and valuable assets that musicians and songwriters have. Knowing how to protect, manage, and monetize these rights is more critical than ever. This course is targeted to students who aspire to careers as recording artists, songwriters, record producers, artist managers, and music executives, among others. Course topics include: roles and responsibilities of music publishers identifying new markets for songs, structure of the music publishing companies, different music publishing deals and their terms, music publishing revenue flow, practical aspects of music publishing administration and licensing, and music publishing as an investment. You will leave with a practical understanding of music publishing as a business and with tools and strategies for turning songs into sustainable sources of income.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.

Music Licensing Lab

OART-UT 1241 / 2 Units

Music supervision and music licensing are two of the hottest topics in the music business. This class will introduce you to the creative, financial, legal, and technical sides of music supervision as well as teach you the nuts and bolts of music clearance and licensing. We will look at the many different facets of a music supervisor’s job, and the services they provide for all types of media projects, including film, television, advertising, video games, online/apps, and more. If you aspire to have a career as a music supervisor, licensor, publisher, artist, songwriter, composer, producer, and/or creative entrepreneur, this course is for you. Some of the topics include: breaking into the field, opportunities for music placement, how to pitch and get your music placed, different parties involved in all sides of the licensing transaction. You will be exposed to complex business challenges that music supervisors face and learn the mindset and strategies needed to successfully overcome. Through readings, discussions, lab assignments, and case studies like Straight Outta Compton and Broad City, as well interactions with special guests, you will gain a real-world understanding of the music supervision field as well as the many opportunities that music creators, and rights owners can leverage to take their career to the next level by understanding music licensing.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.


OART-UT 1250 / 4 units

Brands generate loyalty, trust and familiarity with consumers. Nearly anyone (with skill, patience, and funding) can release an artist or an album into the marketplace or start their own label or new media company or music festival, but those versed in branding have the ability to successfully capture the attention of their audience and speak to them in clear and persuasive terms. Creative branding is the key to understanding what makes audiences/consumers tick and to increasing sales performance. This hands-on course will give you the step-by-step tools to approach the craft and business of branding as it relates to today’s ever-evolving music industry. You will complete exercises in analyzing and developing brands, and will study why some brands succeed where others fail by reading key books and articles, studying branding theory, and talking to guest speakers. You will consider debates about the ethics of living in a corporate culture defined by brands and superstars and will master branding vocabulary like "brand equity," "brandscapes," "brand architecture," and "product differentiation." In the second half of the course, you will focus on methodologies for practicing branding as it relates to today’s music industry.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.

Artist Management Lab

OART-UT 1261 / 2 Credits

Artist managers are the central focus of the music business, the dealmakers behind the latest industry developments, and the brokers of power, influence, and revenue streams for not only recording artists, but creative entrepreneurs and technology startups as well. The role of the artist manager is to help creative talent find commercial success. We will study the basics and fundamentals of artist management, and its many different functions. We will learn about the different roles that artist managers play as well as understand how artist managers build and develop their teams, and the different kinds of leadership positions that they assume. We will look at different styles of artist management, and discuss best practices by reviewing case studies, and speaking with special guests. Through a class lab, we will analyze various potential problems and scenarios, and develop techniques and skills for forming solutions, simulating the artist management experience. We will hypothetically take over the management duties for an existing artist and help them re-organize his/her career in a comprehensive final project. Artist managers now serve as the gatekeepers of commercial and brand value in the talent food chain, and they not only help grow careers, they create many new ones along the way. From Troy Carter and Scooter Braun, to Amy Thomson and Kelly Clancy, artist managers are the thought leaders of this business and catalysts for industry change.

The Basics of Social Entrepreneurship in the Music Industry

OART-UT 1269 / 2 units

This introductory course is targeted to all students who have a strong sense of their individual purpose and are motivated to change the world through music.  In this course, students learn about social entrepreneurs, how they think, the problems they address, the business tools they leverage and the strategies they employ to create social change.  Through readings, participatory class discussions, class activities, self- reflection and occasional guest speakers, students examine current issues, opportunities and challenges that social entrepreneurs and their ventures face.  In addition, they acquire skills, actionable tools, and practical approaches to help advance their social change agenda now and in the future.  Ultimately, the aim is to inspire and empower students to put their ideas for social change into action and to start manifesting the change they wish to see in the world.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.

Topics in Recorded Music: James Brown

OART-UT 1286 / 2 units

Variously referred to by such luminous titles as “the hardest working man in show business” and “soul brother number one,” James Brown may well be the most important figure in 20th century recorded music. His thrilling stage and recorded performances starting in the late 1950s helped elevate expectations for soul music. And in the 1960s he became the chief innovator behind funk music, creating the singing‐and‐dancing template that inspired later‐day luminaries like Michael Jackson, Usher and Justin Timberlake. In addition to his multi‐decade chart successes and his major contributions to the soundtrack of the civil rights movement (“Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” for instance), Brown excelled as an entrepreneur, emerging as one of the first African‐Americans to own his own record label and retain control of his publishing income. This unique course will investigate the early career of James Brown and the changing musical and sociopolitical context of the 1950s and early 1960s that informed his celebrity. Students should walk away from the course with a more sophisticated understanding of one of the great musical innovators in the history of recorded music and a greater sense of how those innovations tied into changing musical field and identity politics of the latter half of the century.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.

Topics in Recorded Music: Joni Mitchell

OART-UT 1286 / 2 CUnits

Joni Mitchell looms as one of the most adventurous, literary and iconic songwriters of the last century. Though reductively known for hippie-era, folk-pop touchstones like the starry-eyed anthem “Woodstock,” the ecology-theme’d “Big Yellow Taxi” and the broadly philosophical “Both Sides Now,” Mitchell’s work far transcended any quaint ‘60s ideologies or styles. As a musician, and songwriter, she is regarded by her peers as second only to Dylan in influence and awe. Mitchell’s honed her skills in the politically-charged, Bleecker St. folk revival of the mid-’60s, then perfected them amid the Laurel Canyon, introspective singer-songwriter movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Even amid those forward-thinking milieus, Mitchell stood apart. From the word choices in her lyrics to the chord structures of her music, Mitchell’s songs have resisted categorization at every turn. Beyond her free approach to genre, Mitchell’s work has stirred controversy for her examinations of women, her representations of race and her commitment to the politics her lyrics seem to espouse. Fascinating contradictions abound: Mitchell has expanded the roles, and perception, of women in music while disavowing feminism. She helped bring to pop aspects of African-American jazz and African music while also appearing on the cover of her album “Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter” in black face. She has written anthems of the environmental movement and the counter culture while looking askance at the role of pop stars in politics. In “The Boho Dance” she detailed her own bourgeois values, as well as the hypocrisies of rebellion. The course will unpack these contradictions while also detailing the artist’s impact on popular music and her uncommonly intimate role in the life of her fans. The course will illuminate the scope, and specifics, of Ms. Mitchell’s poetry, while establishing her placement at the pinnacle of modern wordsmiths. Unlike her closest peers, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, Mitchell never leans on abstractions in her writing. She’s amazingly literal, yet still manages to achieve poetic leaps. By detailing Mitchell’s verbiage, the course will be of special use to students interested in lyric writing.

Topics in Recorded Music: Sound Studies & Pop Music

OART-UT 1286 / 2 units

In the past few decades, “sound studies” has emerged as an official field of critical inquiry: it is best defined as the study of the production, circulation, and materiality of sound and its historical, social, cultural and political effects. Investigating sound — beyond investigating music alone — is a fascinating and rich way to engage in the power and politics of pop music performed by artists as wide ranging as the The Velvet Underground, The Smiths, Nina Simone, Sun Ra, Kendrick Lamar, and FKA twigs, and to delve into the powerful writing of scholars like Daphne A. Brooks, Alexandra T. Vazquez, Gayle Wald, and Alexander G. Weheliye. This course offers an overview of the sound studies with a focus on how the burgeoning interdisciplinary field’s diverse range of issues and methodological questions contribute to ways of writing music criticism on popular music.  Students will specifically consider how becoming more aware of our relationship to sound in its various forms creates new ways of understanding how race, gender, and sexuality are heard, felt, and experienced in popular music. 

Topics and approaches to sound studies discussed in the course include the following: how theories and concepts of listening, of the voice, of noise, and of affect and/or emotion relate to the formation and production of racial, gender, and sexual difference and vice versa; understanding sound reproduction in relation to technology and audiovisual media; and how sound or soundscapes structure everyday life. Students will be asked to experiment with their writing in weekly response papers on music that both students and the instructor will share with the class as well as with critical karaoke presentations.  At the end of the course, weekly response papers will be collected into a portfolio, which will include an introduction by students that summarizes their writing for the course. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to create their own experimental sound pieces as well as attend a music performance in New York City, for which students will write reviews that incorporate sound studies theories and concepts.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.

Topics in Recorded Music: The 1980s

OART-UT 1286 / 2 units

This class will analyze how specific changes in the way popular music was produced, distributed, promoted and categorized during the 1980s led to the economic and legal challenges which began to erode existing business models within the entire multinational music industry through the 1990s and beyond.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.

Topics in Recorded Music: J Dilla

OART-UT 1286 / 2 units

This 7-week course explores the career, impact, and legacy of music producer/composer James Dewitt Yancey. Known variously as “Jay Dee,” “J. Dilla” or simply “Dilla,” Yancey’s professional music career was short, spanning a dozen years before his death from a rare blood disease in 2006. But his influence in that period shifted the sound of popular music; and in the decade since the passing of the Detroit-born artist, his ideas have compelled a new generation of musicians — both in the electronic and traditional realms — who have drawn inspiration from Yancey’s music and seized upon his rhythmic and compositional ideas, chief among them a unique conception of time. As part of our journey to understand the context and contributions of Dilla, the class will take a three-day trip to his hometown, Detroit.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.

Photography & Imaging

Photography I

OART-UT 11 / OART-GT 2011 / 4 units

A basic black-and-white photography course designed for those with little or no experience in photography. Emphasis is placed on the application of technique in terms of personal expression through the selection and composition of subject matter. Class size is limited, providing for a greater degree of individual critique and class participation. The course comprises technical lectures, dark demonstrations, slide lectures on historical and contemporary work as well as class critiques. Each student must have a camera with manually adjustable aperture and shutter speeds. The program reserves the right to drop any student from a course who does not attend the first class. 

Intro to Digital Tools

OART-UT 823 / OART-GT 2823 / 4 units

This course will explore the basic tools of digital imaging. During the semester we will cover the 3 main adobe products for creative imaging - Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Through a series of short weekly assignments we will look at various graphic design and layout ideas using Illustrator and Indesign. We will also touch on the wealth of image enhancement and manipulation techniques afforded by photoshop. Several small assignments will introduce the basics of scanning, printing and compositing images drawing on the strengths of the individual pieces of software. Students will have the opportunity to complete a small project of their own for the end of the term. Class time will be divided between lectures, critiques, and work in progress sessions. This course is not intended to completely cover the software listed, but will give students a fundamental understanding of the possibilities of digital imaging. 

Photographic Narratives

OART-UT 833 / 4 Units

This course provides the foundation for basic technical proficiency in black and white photography and a method of working to discern and discuss imagery in class critiques. In this class it is equally important to see, listen and to talk. We will discuss way we see and how the camera sees. We will explore the process by which photography transforms the three-dimensional world in color into a two- dimensional black and white image. We will discuss how we relate to photographs, both in terms of the image’s form and it’s message.

Producing & Arts Business

1-Credit Workshop: Devising & Documentary

OART-UT 144 / 1 unit (weekend only)


(takes place over two weekends in February)

In Devising & Documentary, students engage in an in-depth exploration of methods and materials for generating theater and artistic performance from interviews and other documentary sources. Participants will experience practical approaches for conducting interviews and facilitating story circles; engage with questions of ethics and representation in interview-based art-making; and will activate strategies for creating performances. This is a collaborative workshop; participants are invited to craft shared definitions of “devising” and “documentary,” and to contribute their own experiences and approaches to this work. Finally, the course examines concrete strategies for making collaborative interview-based performance in education settings, for participants who may wish to pursue work at the intersections of education and the arts. Participants will explore and critique the existing and past work of a range of theater artists whose practices operate at the intersections of devising and documentary, including: Cornerstone Theater, Sojourn Theater, Ping Chong + Company, Theater Mitu, Tectonic Theatre Project, Life Jacket Theater Company, Anna Deveare Smith, Sarah Jones, Jerry Stropnicky, and Nilaja Sun. As they engage in these studies and explorations, participants will devise their own short documentary theater performance pieces, to examine and embody their discoveries about these unique forms in practice within a peer community of support and experimentation.

Media Moguls in the 20th Century

OART-UT 562 / 4 units

This course attempts to track the American entertainment industry from its plebian origins through its rise to becoming the predominant mass entertainment culture in the world. Students discover the origins of the production practices that are employed in the entertainment industry today by following the legendary characters, movie moguls, and media titans of the early 20th century and the companies they built. The emphasis is on the way the visionaries of the time impacted seemingly risk-averse systems to invigorate and sometimes completely revolutionize them. These innovative men and women include, but are not limited, to Louis B. Mayer, George Lucas, Maya Deren, Shirley Clark, Nam Jun Paik, Lucille Ball, Russell Simmons, Clive Davis, Julie Taymor, and Steve Jobs.

Impact Producing

OART-UT 1004 / 4 units

Impact Producing is an emerging field in the film industry that uses issue-driven films as catalysts to create social, political, or cultural change through advocacy and engagement. Just as films have producers to manage the creative and financial process from script to screen, they also increasingly need Impact Producers to take the film campaign from production to impact. This hands-on class will guide participants through the essentials for becoming an Impact Producer by identifying key skills and goals. Participants will learn the scope of work necessary for building allies and partnerships, creating and measuring successful campaigns, and transforming passion for social change into a viable career path. Each semester the class will work in groups to create an actual impact strategy for a film in current release as a final project.


Producing Essentials

OART-UT 1006 / 4 units

The role of the creative producer in the entertainment industry is integral to bringing a project to fruition. This introductory course covers both the creative and physical production time-line and provides students with an understanding of the producer's role through a semester-long team-based pitch project, which culminates in written and verbal pitch presentations. Students are encouraged to work on a project that best suits their area of interest: feature film, episodic/streaming, theatre, performance, podcasts, VR/AR or individualized multi-media. The course focuses on the dynamics of producing, including producer skill sets, tasks and responsibilities necessary to effectively and efficiently develop a project.


Film Development: The Tools of Creative Movie Producing

OART-UT 1010 / 2 units

This course de-mystifies the film development process and teaches students the key tools necessary for a successful career as a film executive or producer.  This course will chart the key stages of finding and preparing a good script for production. These steps include how to find, evaluate and shape material from the producer's perspective. Students will learn the practical art of writing script coverage and notes, as well as how to establish a tracking group and develop tracking reports for new material. Other topics include the role of key players in the process, such as agents and studio executives, and how to avoid "development hell." 

Creative Fundraising

OART-UT 1093 / 4 units

This course will cover both traditional and non-traditional financing and fundraising in the worlds of entertainment and the arts. Although our focus will be on the film world (with an emphasis on feature films), we will take occasional forays into the worlds of television, theatre, and music. We will also look at product financing. The goal of the course is to provide students with a framework for understanding the dynamics (as well as the specific routes) to raising funds for artistic endeavors.

Many entertainment projects require significant capital before they can be realized. The negotiation and structuring of these deals may be a humbling experience, fraught with compromises that affect creative control over the final product. Producers need knowledge of financing tools and structures, an understanding of current economics driving the business, and skills in understanding new technologies and trends in funding. At its core, the course will help students develop a general understanding of fundraising and financing in the world of entertainment and refine the skills necessary to develop proposals that allow them to one day realize a creative vision.

Producing Off-Broadway

OART-UT 1923 / 4 units

A comprehensive introduction to producing for New York's professional Off-Broadway theaters. The goal of this course is to equip students with the skills to enable them to manage the responsibilities inherent in a professional production. Following a review of the Off-Broadway theater movement, traditions and current trends, the class will take a practical approach to preparing a play for the stage. Students will complete a semester long project which will have them guide a play from "option to opening." Course study will include: play and venue selection; comprehending agreements; fundraising; budgeting; assembling a creative team; marketing and audience development; pre-production, performances and the closing.

Casting and Auditioning

OART-UT 1926 / 4 units

Casting is the most recently recognized profession in film and theater. In this course, students learn how to cast a film and learn the skills casting directors employ to become indispensable members of any production, including script and character analysis, scheduling, and negotiation. Students develop protocols for evaluating resumes and auditions, and learn strategies for communicating with directors and producers to ensure the talent pool has been effectively identified. Techniques for delivering convincing and fruitful casting sessions before learning to close deals between producers, actors and agents also are presented. This class will also make students ‘audition ready’ -- equipping them with tools and techniques to better understand and get through the audition process. The course will cover the various disciplines of theater, films, commercials and voiceovers. Through lectures, character exercises and workshops students will learn strategies for preparing for an audition, developing characters, and working with professionals in the industry.