The New Reality

Today’s media and film students are gaining skill sets to work in some of the field’s most exciting areas with leading innovators like Ryan Murray.

Ryan Murray

Professor and Chair of the Department of Electronic Media and Film Ryan Murray began his artistic career as a painter, but the advent of new technologies and their capabilities in producing visual and audio content lured him into electronic media and film. Today, Murray introduces his undergraduate students to the brave new world of immersive media and virtual reality (VR), while creating conceptually driven artwork that combines VR, video, music, sculpture and painting.

“Students at TU have an opportunity to discover themselves in this department, no matter what type of media interests them,” explains Murray. “From day one, they begin creating and telling their stories, in more amplified, intelligent and informed ways.”

A three-time winner of Towson’s Innovation in Teaching Award, Murray notes that many students, particularly the new generation of students spend more time watching TikTok and YouTube than traditional media. “Today’s student is part influencer, part artist, and part Internet presence,” says Murray. “By the time they arrive at TU, they are experienced at getting their messages to the public.”

“ Part of my job is to demystify new media and take away the sense of intimidation that can come with mastering the latest technology. ”

Ryan Murray

The current wave of media interest focuses on immersive media and virtual reality (VR). “The entertainment industry has not put VR in a box yet, so it is exciting to be at the leading edge of what VR is all about,” describes Murray, whose recent VR music video won best 360 film at the Amsterdam International Film Festival.

Murray predicts widespread adoption for VR in ways that are approachable, affordable and accessible. “In this field, it is good to have a do-it-yourself, guerrilla artist mentality,” says Murray. “Our students are getting into VR on the ground floor, and who knows what opportunities will open up for them.”