Department of Visual & Media Arts

Meet Jan Roberts-Breslin

In the opening chapter of her book, Making Media: Foundations of Sound and Image Production, Jan Roberts-Breslin writes, "Figuring out what matters to you, what moves you, and what in turn will move others is the true starting point of making media." That sentence distills the creative philosophy Roberts-Breslin has developed as an independent media artist, producing feature films, documentaries, and experimental videos.

Creating the MFA Program

It could also be the manifesto for Emerson's MFA in Media Art program, which Roberts-Breslin helped create. She now serves in the multiple roles of program director, faculty member, and student advisor.

"The program is designed to support a process of continual creative development," she says. "Students will come to understand themselves as media artists and define more clearly what it is they want to say. There's a strong expectation that they are always producing, always adding to their body of work. And we make sure they have the equipment, facilities, and mentorship to develop their creative voice."

A Nontraditional Approach to Media Making

Roberts-Breslin notes that the program encourages students to explore convergent and nontraditional approaches to media making, rather than immediately focusing on a narrow specialty as often happens at other institutions. "Students have the freedom to move fluidly from one medium to another," says Roberts-Breslin. "That's essential because of the ways digital networks and computer technologies are driving convergence out in the real world. It's no longer practical to categorize things according to traditional forms. Media makers need to be flexible. It's the only way to make creative work in the 21st century."

Read Roberts-Breslin's bio »