Making new instruments from scrap at a junkyard challenge. Now it’s time to save STEIM from becoming scrap. Photo (CC) by termie.

Just a "niche", eh? I can’t think of a time in recent history during which creative technology research was as profoundly relevant to mainstream design as it is now. Tangible interfaces, sensor-rich environments and pervasive computing, multi-touch and gestural interfaces, rich media — virtually all of the trends now leading technology were pioneered by or deeply influenced by research by music and visual artists. So, you’d think one of the world’s leading centers for work in research and development for artists and performers, one that hosts theater, music, DJs, VJs, video artists, and the like, would be in good shape.

Instead, Amsterdam’s STEIM research center is under attack by a government board that claims it’s a niche. Fortunately, you can help.

Things are not well at STEIM. We are in the danger of losing our structural funding from the government, based on a review from the advisor board which called us ‘closed and only appealing to a niche audience’. The outlook isn’t exactly bleak, but at the moment our future is unclear.

What you can do is to send a letter of support, and make sure we receive it by May 26. We hope that these letters will show the variety and depth of the effect STEIM has in the real world. The contents are up to you, a few good lines will suffice. You could tell how you or someone you know benefited from their contact with STEIM: making or refining an instrument or an idea for a performance or meeting fellow artists, or what you feel would be lost if STEIM ceased to exist, or waxing aphoristic, just 12 words about STEIM.

STEIM needs your support!

Thanks to Tom and Music thing for the call to arms; Tom forwarded this to me, so please forward to people you know

STEIM’s work includes a vital series of workshops and residencies / hosted research with international reach. I expect a number of readers here have either worked their or know folks who have. In addition to writing that letter, it’d be great to hear, in one place, ways in which you’ve been connected to STEIM.

Add to comments by Monday morning the 26th, and I’ll send my own email with the CDM community’s thoughts then.