ART AND CODE is the software wing of the DIY movement.” — Tom McMail, Microsoft Research

Just as true literacy in English means being able to write as well as read, true literacy in software demands not only knowing how to use commercial software tools, but how to create new software for oneself and for others. Today, everyday people are still woefully limited in their ability to create their own software. Many would like to create their own programs and interactive artworks, but fear that programming is “too hard.” The problem, it turns out, may not be programming itself so much as the ways in which it is conventionally taught.

Recently, a number of projects dedicated to democratizing the education of computational thinking have coalesced. Emerging primarily from the arts sector, a set of new programming tools (and accompanying pedagogic techniques) have been developed by artists, and for artists, to help regular folks and other non-computer-scientists learn to make software. Using visual and musical expression as the “hook”, thousands of people have not only learned to code using these new environments, but found new reasons to code in the first place. These toolkits – many of which are free, open-source initiatives – have made enormous inroads towards expanding the computational skills and interests of hundreds of thousands of creative people worldwide. You too can join this movement!

This conference is for:
• Artists, designers and musicians who want to create interactive art, information visualization, or personal software tools;
• Teens, undergraduates, and graduate students who wish to combine art, design, interaction, and computer science;
• Middle-school and high-school teachers who want a more expressive way of teaching programming and computer arts;
• College educators and professional artists who want to learn the most cutting-edge tools for interaction design;
• Computer-science education researchers interested in visually-oriented learning tools;
• Anyone who has been wanting to learn how to program their own software, but hasn’t known where to start!

Golan Levin, ART AND CODE Conference Organizer