Drawn to NTU's rich intellectual resources, Prof Vibeke Sorensen, an internationally acclaimed artist and scholar, took on the position of Chair at NTU's School of Art, Design and Media in August 2009.
"The emphasis at NTU on interdisciplinary collaborations is inspiring and can help to catalyse many new possibilities," says the Danish-born artist-administrator of her decision to take the helm of Singapore’s first and only professional art school offering degree courses in art, design and interactive media. Prof Sorensen is among a growing number of world-class professors that NTU has recruited in recent years to lead its academic and research initiatives.
A trailblazer in animation and the arts in the United States, she established one of its top art and media schools as the Founding Chair of the Division of Animation and Digital Arts in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. The school is widely regarded as a pioneer in animation education in the United States and "the Harvard of digital arts training". She has also developed interactive digital media programmes at a number of other research and learning institutions.
Prof Sorensen specialises in digital multimedia and animation, which is the crux of interactive digital media research, a priority area for NTU and one of Singapore's new economic growth sectors.
She has established a name for herself as a leader in digital multimedia and animation, interactive architectural installation, and networked visual-music performance, and has held complementary artistic, teaching and research roles throughout her career.
Prof Sorensen has built up solid partnerships with scientists in combining art and science to produce interdisciplinary work and to develop innovative technologies. More importantly, she has made outstanding contributions to the world of art, digital technology, and to the general role of art and science in society.
Before coming to NTU, she served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Media Study at the University at Buffalo, New York. She is a 2001 Rockefeller Foundation Fellow in Film/Video/Multimedia, and the 2005 Knight Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at the University of Manitoba in Canada.
Her work in experimental new media, spanning more than three decades, has been published and shown internationally on television, in galleries, in museums, and at live performances. In 1989, she was a co-recipient of a National Science Foundation grant for research in Interactive Stereoscopic Animation. The end result, Maya, a stereoscopic computer-animated work, has been exhibited internationally.
Prof Sorensen is interested in using media and technology to bridge cultures. Creating art remains an essential part of her identity, and she is looking forward to helping student-artists in Singapore realise their dreams.
The establishment of NTU's School of Art, Design and Media is in line with the Government's long-term vision to develop Singapore into a global interactive digital media hub. The School is home to some of the most advanced media facilities, including a range of digital laboratories and photography, film, animation and media studios. These facilities are housed in a "green" building with iconic turf roofs that not only insulate the building and save energy, but offer an informal outdoor gathering space.