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Full Description


Course Summary: 

"Creative programming" is a course aimed at artists, designers and all sorts of visual people with non-specialised backgrounds who feel curious about the potential of computer programming in their creative pursuits. It purposefully leaves aside most of the 'fundamentals' behind computer languages. "Creative programming" instead focuses on hands-on activities and related reflection processes that will help people put code into creative practice from the very first session. The course is focused on visual programming and uses open-source platforms such as Context Free Art and Processing. 

Learning Goals:

The aim of this course is to get you started with the code, and "believe it or not" its main challenge is to show you that it ain't difficult! Once you grasp the fun side of programming with all the visual and interactive rewards, this course will provide the means to keep you motivated, share your achievements with your peers and get support from the community of creative learners. Your task is twofold: to adopt an open attitude to programming, and to immerse yourself in long hours of experimentation with computer code. By the end of this course, you will feel confident about learning computer code and empowered as a "creative geek" ;)


Computer programming and creative visual skills are usually separated in practice. Lots of artists and designers want to explore new possibilities through computational means (not just the use of commercial software), but there is a lack of courses, books and teaching materials aimed at learning computer programming without all the sophisticated theoretical foundations of computer science. I myself spent countless hours frustrated at specialised and tech-oriented courses and books. For this reason, I have developed an approach to teach computer programming in a visual, interactive and engaging way. This is a course I have taught since 2003 in Australia, Mexico and Ecuador both at the undergrad and postgraduate levels. 

  • Creative, visual people, usually artists and designers interested in exploring the world of computational code
  • Also computer programmers who are interested in applying their skills into rich and engaging visual solutions

Note: An essential component of this course is the time spent by each individual student exploring the code, modifying it, experiencing the process of programming. Also, peer-support is a strong element of this course as students are expected to work together and provide support and feedback to each other.



  • Visual literacy is necessary: fundamentals of shape composition, colour combination, design language, etc.
  • Basic to intermediate computer skills including word processors, presentation slides, and preferably image editing software, website design, etc.
  • An open attitude to explore and push the frontiers of computational art.
  • Students need to follow intermediate to advanced instructions to install open-source software and development platforms such as Java in their computers.

  • Sign-Up Task

    Dear All, thank you for your interest. Applications closed yesterday and here are the results.

    We had a total of 35 applications. After carefully reviewing all of them, I've had to deny enrolment to 9 applicants mainly due to two reasons:

    1. Insufficient time allocation. Based on previous experiences, I think that at least 10 hours per week are necessary to follow the assignments and to explore the code and help others. Accepting people who can't commit enough time would slow down the group.

    2. Not the main intended target. Again, opening the course to a wide range of proficiency in programming would most likely result in chaos. For this particular course I want to focus on people with none to little experience in programming, but probably in the future we could open an intermediate-level (and even an advanced) course on Processing. Integration with Arduino seems like a nice way to go next year. Also, some applicants are seeking more "information design" oriented courses (including me!), which would be nice to see in the future here in

    Please check your application status later today. Some people have been accepted but I've sent comments that need your input to confirm your enrolment.

    Thanx to all!

    Please respond the following questions:

    1. What are your current "creative tools" (hardware, software, traditional media and tools, etc)?
    2. Have you ever tried to learn a computer programming language? If yes, which one and how proficient are you?
    3. What type of work have you imagined that you could create if you could program even at a basic or intermediate level?
    4. Do you know of any creative application of computer programming that you consider paradigmatic or exemplary? If yes, which one? (provide URL if available)
    5. How many hours would you be able to work per week on this course? (mainly completing basic programming tasks and exploring code on your own, plus the occasional reading)

    Task Discussion