Photo by Amy Pierce
The IMRC Center is a multi-use facility that simultaneously supports diverse uses, including research and development in all MEIF sectors as well as in the arts, but specifically in new media development and prototyping, graduate education in Intermedia, social science research for the Sustainable Solutions Initiative, 3D and spatialization and visualization research, creative production in the arts, and a range of commercialization and business ventures from across the University of Maine campus and the state. The IMRC Center project was a joint proposal to the Maine Technical Asset Fund, titled the University of Maine Innovative Industries Initiative, that brought together faculty, staff and students from CMJ, New Media, Innovation Engineering, Intermedia, and Psychology, as well as partnering with five design and media production companies from across the state of Maine. The IMRC is more than 15,000 square feet that is an addition to the old Stewart Dinning Commons (which was renovated to house programs from the art department) and consists of Intermedia graduate research labs, two computer/technology classrooms, an electronics lab, a prototyping lab, CNC lab, FAB lab, seminar room and distance classroom node, visiting researcher lab/studio, audio recording studio, video editing suites, electronic and experimental music studio, adaptive presentation environment, sound stage, film and video production studio, visualization presentation environment, and an outdoor performance and film stage.
The IMRC Center, in line with the mission of the University of Maine, stimulates Research, Development, and Commercialization (R, D, & C) statewide and help target growth in IT areas. It functions as the nexus of future development in New Media and related areas of business creation, and its research and development initiatives fosters continued growth by creating a comprehensive, institutionalized network of public and private partnerships. Further, the programming of the Center is intended to help stimulate wide-reaching economic growth, training in media tools and technologies and bolster the visual, musical and theatrical arts on campus and across the state. The aim of the IMRC Center is to generate a comprehensive, sophisticated stage of creative development that will have a multi-level effect: support R & D initiatives, provide workforce development, expand innovation and creative production, support innovative graduate degrees in the Arts (Intermedia MFA and on line graduate certificate in new and social media: Innovative Communication Design), provide a means to make Maine nationally and internationally competitive in this sector and make UMaine an international leader in creating new opportunities in interdisciplinary arts and technology.
The IMRC Center not only creates a first-time physical plant and foundation for existing programs in New Media, media production, innovation, and R, D, & C at the University of Maine, but also supports a range of participating programs and units to more fully meet their potential in ressearch and production areas as well as to help mold a future creative and economic cluster for Maine. Grouping this technology and creative arts into one facility with multiple users, with the proposed programming, maximizes the ‘multiplier effect’ of getting the best and broadest uses of facilities and equipment. Students, faculty, stakeholders, and leaders in Maine’s information, innovation and arts economy have the ability to work and develop together as they have never before. Further, graduate and undergraduate students gain high demand skills to become active practitioners in this critical sector of Maine’s economy.