BRIDGES is an international consortium for the study and exploration of interdisciplinary collaborative process. As technology becomes increasingly complex, creating with technology requires both deeper levels of specialization and greater levels of collaboration between people with creative and technical expertise. Differences in work styles, priorities, communication styles, educational principles, institutional frameworks, temperaments, and even fundamental values have the potential to become either obstacles or stimulants to effective collaboration. In fact, it can be said that the greatest challenge for those involved in the communication revolution is not technology, but communication between people. The BRIDGES Consortium, initiated jointly by the Annenberg Center for Communication of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (USC), California, and The Banff Centre New Media Institute (BNMI), in Banff, Alberta, Canada, will create an international forum for a dialogue on the process of interdisciplinary collaboration in the arts, science and technology.

The BRIDGES Consortium brings together top experts from educational and research and funding institutions and the private sector, as well as independent artists, technologists, and scientists, to explore art and technology interdisciplinary collaboration and its own unique set of issues, challenges, opportunities and skills. It pinpoints collaboration itself as a skill to be identified, studied, and learned, and proposes practical strategies for including it as a vital component in education, creation and research.

The BRIDGES Consortium is structured around an annual summit that includes case study presentations, discussion groups, and hands-on workshops in interdisciplinary collaboration. The first of these was held May 31-June 2, 2001 at the Annenberg Center. The second will be held in the Fall of 2002 at Banff Centre for the Arts.

The BRIDGES web site provides the general public access to the results of this work, including video and transcripts of each event, as well as special features form members. It also encourages ongoing dialogue, networking, and support, and the opportunity to form new collaborative partnerships. We are also forming alliances with other organizations working on related issues to help support and encourage further development of interdisciplinary skills in this growing arena.

BRIDGES was co-founded by Celia Pearce, formerly a Visiting Scholar at The USC Annenberg Center for Communication, and currently an independent writer/artist, and Sara Diamond, Artistic Director Media & Visual Arts, Executive Producer Television & New Media, The Banff Centre for the Arts, with financial and administrative support from the Annenberg Center.