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Music and Arts Technology joins Herron School, expanding opportunities for faculty, students

For Immediate Release Nov 13, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana University Department of Music and Arts Technology will join the IU Herron School of Art & Design on the Indianapolis campus, building on the strengths of the state’s top accredited arts and design program and expanding opportunities for faculty and students.

Students practice during Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, a course offered by the Department of Music and Arts Technology. The class teaches mu... Students practice during Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, a course offered by the Department of Music and Arts Technology. The class teaches musical and technological skills in live performance, integrating electronic and acoustic sound. Photo courtesy of the Department of Music and Arts Technology

The Department of Music and Arts Technology, an IU department within the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI, will join the Herron School effective Jan. 1. Offices and classrooms will remain in their current locations on campus while the department’s administrative functions transition to Herron.

The IU Board of Trustees approved the transition at its Nov. 10 meeting. The change was initially announced in August 2022, in anticipation of the realignment of IUPUI to create two separate and independent urban campuses: Indiana University Indianapolis and Purdue University in Indianapolis.

“We are incredibly excited about the transition of the Department of Music and Arts Technology to the world-class arts programs in the Herron School,” said Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, interim chancellor at IUPUI. “This will unite two very strong creative areas on our campus, introducing opportunities for student learning and interdisciplinary research collaborations, both of which are tied to our strategic plan and to the future of our campus.”

As technology is an increasingly relevant aspect in the arts, adding MAT’s two academic programs — music technology and music therapy — to Herron’s already robust list of offerings will increase students’ access to outstanding resources. Facilities include Herron’s Think It Make It Lab, as well as the MAT’s state-of-the-art CLEAR studio — Critical Listening Environment for Audio Recording — and Donald Tavel Arts and Technology Research Lab.

Greg Hull. Photo courtesy of the Herron School of Art & Design Greg Hull. Photo courtesy of the Herron School of Art & Design

“Over the years, I have worked with several MAT faculty members on projects that helped me understand how easily and naturally we can work together, and the value and impact of those collaborations was very strong,” said Greg Hull, dean of the Herron School. “There are natural intersections between visual art and music as well as in the arts and technology spaces we both embrace. By welcoming and connecting music therapy with our art therapy program, for example, there is great potential to develop a unique program that has a positive impact on the school, campus, university and creative arts therapy professions.”

The transition comes at an exciting time for the department. Chair Debra Burns was recently awarded a $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Endowment for the Arts to establish a research network that will explore neurological and biopsychosocial mechanisms of music-based interventions in the treatment of chronic pain. The Indianapolis campus is one of three federally funded research networks, along with Drexel and Case Western Reserve universities.

The Indianapolis network includes collaborations with researchers at Vanderbilt University, the University of Maryland and the University of Utah. Scientists and clinicians in the network come from a broad range of fields, including music therapy, psychology, engineering, neuroscience, social work and medicine.

Debra Burns. Photo courtesy of the Department of Music and Arts Technology Debra Burns. Photo courtesy of the Department of Music and Arts Technology

“We are bringing scientists together to examine how music is effective in alleviating chronic pain and how music might change neural pathways so that pain perception is minimized,” said Burns, principal investigator for the study. “We will look at mechanisms of how music-based interventions work as well as different ways to objectively measure pain within the context of music experiences.”

Burns and her research team are also working closely with the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction via a State Opioid Response Grant to assess the feasibility of integrating music therapy into opioid treatment centers. The funding builds on the department’s reputation as a national leader in music therapy research and IU’s reputation as a leader in addiction prevention and treatment research.

New research opportunities like these demonstrate IU’s continued commitment to innovative research that improves quality of life for residents of Indiana and beyond. The joining of the Department of Music and Arts Technology with the Herron School will expand these opportunities across the arts and arts-based health and wellness.

Changes to the department’s administrative home will not impact degree timelines for current students. The Herron School are arranging town halls for faculty and students to ask questions as well as an FAQ page with more detailed information related to the transition.

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