siat spotlight

One half of my degree is the painfully wonderful world of Interactive Art and Technology. In it, I get to challenge my creativity while developing new skills. Truth be told, that part of my degree and I have a love-hate relationship going on. I'm two courses away from finishing and I cannot wait. But before I left, I was asked if I wouldn't mind being featured online in the 'SIAT Spotlight'. Of course I jumped at the chance to share some knowledge and wisdom, and I thought I should share some of the feature with you!

It has taken her six years to get here, but Megan is just about to enter her final semester of study as a Communication and Interactive Art and Technology Joint Major. The past six years has provided her a lot of joy, headache and sometimes injury, but most of all they have given Megan the experience and drive needed to enter the workforce.


What were your expectations coming into SIAT? What has changed?

To be honest, I decided to add the SIAT component to my degree on a bit of a whim, and I’m thankful for that. I basically went in with no expectations other than the hope to strengthen and explore my creative side. I have since learned to enter my SIAT classes with no expectations and rather just be open to the different experiences and ‘a-ha’ moments that may come.

What has been your favourite course and why?

I loved IAT 222, Interactive Art, because of the opportunities that came with it. Our group produced an interactive performance art piece, of which I was the performer, that explored the long-term effects domestic violence has. We were even featured in that year’s FCAT Undergraduate Conference. It was a piece that certainly touched a lot of people affecting them in various ways, and it’s shaped me as an artist immensely. On the other hand, I also enjoyed IAT 340, Sound Design, because the content challenged me. I was, and still am, fairly weak when it comes to sound design skills. I just don’t have the natural ear for it. But I took the class with Andrew, who is an incredible instructor, and survived. Not only survived, but walked away with a pretty decent grade. The class forced me to take something I don’t enjoy and don’t have a natural talent in, and make it my own. I had to find ways to make sound design doable and interesting for me. And that is a priceless skill.

What advice would you give to new students coming in to SIAT?

I probably shouldn’t, but I want to share my SIAT horror story with you. It was my first semester of study with SIAT, but my fifth semester overall so I really should have known better. To set the scene, there had recently been a flood in the basement suite I was living in so the place kind of looked like it was falling down around me. It’s roughly 11pm the night before my final IAT 100 assignment is due and I only just open my dinosaur of a laptop to start it. I knew what I wanted the project to look like, I just didn’t quite know how to do it. I also didn’t drink coffee at this point in my life so I was working on pure adrenaline.  It took roughly seven hours of non-stop work to complete and about halfway through my right index finger starts bleeding around the nail uncontrollably. I have no Band-Aids and no time to wait. I literally wrapped papertowl around my finger and held it together with a twist tie, then kept working. It slowed me down but I managed to finish just on time and walked away fairly proud of my finished product. 

So, my advice is: update your technology, always have Band-Aids at the ready and learn to drink coffee. Of course, I recommend not procrastinating but there are times where it’s just going to happen, it’s a part of the university experience. You just need to be prepared for it and know how to handle the curveballs when they come.

You can check out the rest of the article here.

Megan te Boekhorst