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The faculty and staff of the Herberger Institute engage in research projects that address today’s most pressing challenges. We position artists and designers at the center of public life in order to advance culture, build equitable communities, and imaginatively engage the urgent questions and problems of our time.

The right shade in the right place: Thermal assessment of natural and engineered shade in Tempe

Thermal Assessment

Many cities in the Southwestern US have recognized the significance of shade for healthy urban environments and developed tree and shade master plans with city-wide canopy goals to reduce heat vulnerability. The City of Tempe’s Urban Forestry Plan envisions 25 percent tree canopy cover by 2040 with emphasis on “shading sidewalks and paths, cooling people and reducing radiated heat from hard surfaces”.

Landscape Architecture Foundation ASU Orange Mall Green Infrastructure Landscape Performance

Landscape Architecture

Advance the knowledge of green infrastructure and low-impact development design process and social-ecological outcomes in the hot and arid environment to be sustainable and resilient

Home(less)ness Studio: Dwelling in a desert city

Students posing for photo

Addressing the issues of the built environment surrounding homeless shelters and spaces in Maricopa County.

Technological Anxiety and Hope: Artificial Intelligence in Digital Culture

Artificial intelligence graphic

In the last 50 years, the rise of computing and artificial intelligence (AI) has transformed our society. Futuristic applications such as autonomous vehicles are now driving on Arizona roadways, websites can now recognize and identify faces in an image, and our stock trading is driven by machine learning algorithms.

Sounding Out Spaces

Plant with purple flowers

Sounding Out Spaces explores how we can use digital means to participate directly in our environments, leading to novel and inclusive experiences. This research proposes an approach to incorporating both acoustic and environmental factors within a large-scale multichannel sound installation.

Software-Defined Imaging for Energy-Efficient Visual Computing

Device Circuitry

From augmented reality and autonomous vehicles to computational photography and the Internet of Things, applications built on real-time, high-quality visual sensing are becoming central to everyday computing. All of these applications exhibit two competing demands: complex, domain-specific sensing capabilities on one hand and energy efficiency on the other.

Scalable Topological and Geometric Methods for Multimodal Activity Modeling

Scalable Topological and Geometric Methods for Multimodal Activity Modeling

Computer vision and machine-learning techniques have revolutionized our world in recent years. However, for robust operation, these techniques need very large amounts of data and annotation. This requirement places real limits on their utility in critical situations where access to data may be limited.

REU Site: REU: Computational Imaging and Mixed-Reality for Visual Media Creation and Visualization

Rasberry Pi Device

Training the next generation of STEM researchers in visual media experiences from new forms of imaging to augmented and mixed reality requires integrating knowledge from several disciplines and effectively communicating that information to students and trainees.

Middle School Teacher and Student's Experiences with Artificial Intelligence via Computational Cameras

Teacher showing student projection mapping

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology applied to images and video is transforming society with broad applications to many social and economic sectors. To develop a citizenry that will participate in this technological revolution, it is essential to develop learning experiences for K-12 learners on the foundations of AI literacy in order to adequately prepare the workforce of the future.

Listen(n) Project

Arizona Desert Landscape

Documenting the acoustic ecology of protected, pristine environments such as National Parks in order to develop new tools to track a measure climate impact from the sound recording database. The project also runs listening workshops and field recording workshops for the public.


Ecosonics Device

This project aimed to develop tools to track climate impact from sound recordings alone.

Enmei (Long Life): A Dance and Aging Project

Two dancers performing

As the populations of both the United States and Japan grow older, it becomes increasingly critical to understand how cultural discourses about older women (who make up the vast bulk of the older population) affect individuals’ lives, as well as to understand how women work with and around those discourses as they age.

Bridging the Divide: A Youth and Elders Creative Collaboration

 Students and senior citizens with hands stacked

A primary intention of the project was to address issues related to wellbeing and quality of life in populations of older adults.  Particularly in the U.S., older adults often grapple with issues related to social isolation and lack of meaningful exchanges with young people.

Projecting All Voices: Broadening the role of universities in building a thriving ecology for underrepresented artists

Projecting All Voices

Our goal was to better understand the ways in which universities and their internal and external networks can support and advance the careers of artists who have been historically under-represented, particularly in the Southwest in both higher education and cultural institutions.

ASU Herberger Institute Supports Thriving Cultures

The Long Road

What does a thriving arts ecology look like in Arizona? What are the conditions necessary to support deep collaboration between artists, culture workers and community leaders that center arts-engaged practice as a means to address wider civic challenges?

Pause and Play (Engage Design Innovate Transform: EDIT)

Pause and Play

The purpose of this project is to explore how to establish compatibility between design and build academia and community theory and practice, and learning and playing while looking at the relationship between culture and play.

From Turrell to Leonardo

View of Roden Crater Tunnel

To design a long-term partnership with visual artist James Turrell to accelerate completion of Roden Crater and pilot innovative transdisciplinary education at a world-renowned site for human inspiration and learning

Sound Explorations: Creating, Expressing, and Improving Communities

Sound Explorations

Sound Explorations addresses two pressing issues across music learning and teaching: 1) A need for support in expanding the types of musical engagement and learning that occur in K-12 and after school settings and 2) A need to address youth’s unequal access to quality formal and informal music learning across the United States.


Yolanda Stevens’ inked feet

The Map(ing) project, established in 2009, was a biennial event that investigates the personal and cultural histories of Native American and Indigenous artists. Each year five artists are invited to work collaboratively with students from ASU’s School of Art.

Who Stays and Who Leaves the Arts: Understanding the Career Trajectories of Arts Alumni in America

Students with backpacks walking down hallway

Career success for arts alumni can take on an assortment of forms, including the success associated with maintaining a desired career in the arts. However, there is little research focusing on the career patterns of arts alumni who stay in the arts after graduation compared to arts alumni who leave.