Global Impact of A Very Special Christmas

New Digital Media Lab Gallery Exhibit

Global Impact of
“A Very Special Christmas”

During the fall 2017 semester, four University of Miami graduate students travelled the world to film stories of athletes and communities who have benefited from A Very Special Christmas Record Grants which supports Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities. This exhibit consists of screen captures from their video series, 2017 A Very Special Christmas Impact Stories.

Nearly 50 years ago, Special Olympics was founded with a bold idea – using sport to transform the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. People with intellectual disabilities make up three percent of the global population. All over the world, they are denied a fair chance at life due to stigma, intolerance and injustice.

The Special Olympics now reaches 172 countries and five million athletes. This global reach is made possible by a venture that started began in 1987 when an album series called “A Very Special Christmas” raised more than 126 million dollars for Special Olympics, making it the most successful benefit recording of all time.

Watch the video series on vimeo:

Gallery Event: March 2, 2018 | 6 p.m.

Otto G. Richter Library, 3rd Floor Conference Room

Join us for a film screening and talk with the student film creators. A question-and-answer session will follow the screening. Light refreshments will be served after the session at a reception in the Digital Media Lab on the first floor of Richter Library.

This event is free and open to the public.

Black Hair Magic Exhibit

DML Fall 2017 Gallery Exhibit – Black Hair Magic

Alexis McDonald
Bachelor of Science/Electronic Media/May 2018

Exhibit Event:
October 26, 6:00pm
Richter Library Conference Room
Third Floor

Alexis McDonald is an artist from Atlanta, GA studying electronic media, Africana Studies, and education at the University of Miami. Alexis has always had a passion for telling stories. Whether it is through her writings or photographs Alexis aims to demonstrate the beauty of Black culture in her work. She came up with this photo collection because she wanted to showcase the diversity of Black hair. Alexis first began this collection in 2015 when she took a documentary photography class but when she took introduction to photography through the art department she decided to expand on this collection. Alexis hopes this collection will serve as a constant reminder of the uniqueness of Black culture.

Join us on October 26th for a talk by Alexis McDonald about her exhibit and her work as a photographer.

Exhibit Event:

October 26, 6:00pm
Richter Library Conference Room
Third Floor


Adobe Creative Cloud is Here – And it’s FREE!

Click the image to learn more.

UMIT and UM Libraries have partnered with Adobe to provide free access to Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) for all University of Miami faculty, staff, and students starting on August 1, 2017. The Adobe CC suite includes Acrobat Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, InDesign, free mobile apps for designing on the go, and much more! For a full list of available programs, please click here.

Download Adobe CC anytime after August 1, 2017 using the following link:

Need some assistance:
Do you want to create a poster or brochure? Perhaps you want to make a video or simply enhance your photos? The Digital Media Lab located in the Learning Commons (at the Otto G. Richter Library) provides expert project-based support and consultation in the use of Adobe Creative Cloud.  Whether you are a novice or a long-time user our staff is here to assist you. During staff hours, we are available to work with you to find a solution for any creative project you may have. Drop-ins are welcome, but appointments are better if you are new to Adobe or need more extensive one-on-one help.

Faculty members who are interested in integrating a digital aspect into their classes or assignments should consult with Vanessa Rodriguez, Digital Media Lab manager. We are available to instruct small groups of students or can help you come up with ideas for developing a digital media project your students can create.

To make an appointment for software consultation or class instruction please contact us at or 305-284-2548.

Q&A with Video Game Curator for UM Libraries, Bobby Green


Bobby Green,  M.M. in Media Writing and Production, next to the collection he helped create.

This past school year, UM Libraries debuted its new game video game collection.  This collection was the collaborative work of members from the UM Libraries, The School of Music and School of Communication. When it came time to select the titles for the collection, the library relied heavily on the work of Robert “Bobby” Green, a Long Island, NY resident, graduate music student, and aspiring video game music composer.

Early on, Bobby created a list of essential video games that the library should purchase. Others in the group added to the list, but Bobby’s recommendations were thorough enough that the current collection is nearly half based on his picks and half based on donations. Bobby may have graduated this semester, but he’s left his mark at the University and as the library acquires different video game consoles, we will continue to make purchases from his initial list.

We sat down with Bobby to talk about his work with the video game collection in the following Question & Answer session.

What interested you in working with the UM Libraries to build this collection?

When I first came to UM in August 2015, I wanted to work in the University’s library system. I have a long-held appreciation for libraries as an institution that provides people with access to information and culture. Before coming to UM, I had noticed that most libraries held works from creative mediums in some form or another. Literature, music, visual arts, and motion pictures were all represented. The most glaring omission, from my perspective, was video games. Video games, while being a very new creative medium, have matured to the point where I believe they belong in libraries, especially in academic institutions such as this one where many students may go on to work in the growing video game industry. Shortly after starting my work as a graduate assistant in the libraries, I was given the opportunity to help start a video game collection, and I was eager to help due to my lifelong passion for video games and other creative mediums.

How did you choose the video games you recommended for the library?

Because this is a university library collection, the collection needed to be curated based on attributes of academic merit. For that reason, I chose games based on their cultural significance, their influence on video games as a creative medium, and the presence of “artistic” aspects which could warrant serious academic inquiry. With that set of criteria in mind, I started with games I was immediately familiar with, and then grew my list by talking to gamers and reading “best game” lists, reviews, and game award lists. I made sure to carefully research each game and sorted them into “tiers” based on how well they matched the established criteria.

How would you describe the role of music in video games?

The most important role of music, not just in video games but any visual medium, is to communicate emotion. Music tells a viewer or player how they’re supposed to feel about what’s happening, ideally in a way that is unobtrusive. It can create feelings of suspense, excitement, and triumph, and can emphasize emotions such as sadness, anger, and joy in the context of the game’s narrative (provided there is one). Game music differs from scores for other forms of visual media not so much in the role it plays, but more in how it fills this role. Where other forms of visual media are generally linear, with a consistent timeline to be scored, video games are a uniquely non-linear medium. The timing of events varies heavily based on the player’s actions, and so instead of scoring action, game music must create a general mood which serves as a backdrop for the gameplay. With the advent of adaptive music tools, musical elements can be triggered by gameplay events, which adds an extra dimension to the role of music in games; however, these elements must still be flexible rather than specific the way scoring is for other visual media.

What’s your favorite thing about gaming?

My favorite aspect of video games as a creative medium would have to be immersion. In other mediums, the consumer is generally restricted to the role of a passive observer; you listen to music, you watch a film, you read a book. All of these activities can be deeply immersive, but I think being given a controller and becoming a participant, rather than just an observer, adds an extra layer of immersion. Although I enjoy a variety of games, I have always been particularly fond of story-driven video games and have found getting to be part of a game’s story to be particularly engaging.

Where do you see the video game industry in the future?

The video game industry is currently growing, and I believe that it will continue to do so as the technology is improved upon and innovated. Virtual reality will undoubtedly be important, though the technology has a long way to go before becoming the standard. There has been an increasing trend towards “cinematic” style games which blur the line between film and video games, and I believe that that line will be blurred a great deal more in the future.

More Information

The video game collection is located in the Digital Media Lab, First floor Richter Library.  Check out our video game website for a list of games and policies.

If you are interested in contacting Robert Green, please visit his LinkedIn Page.

Visit the Galapagos Exhibit

Kevin Reagan is a graduating senior at the University of Miami studying Marine Science and Biology. As part of the UGalapagos program with Study Abroad, Kevin spent August-November 2017 living on the island of Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago.  An exhibit of images from his time on there is on display in the lab for the Spring 2017 semester.  View the entire exhibition in the Digital Media Lab or on our online gallery.

Read what Kevin has to say in the following Question & Answer session.

What motivated you to do UGalapagos?
I initially found out about the program during my first year here at UM, and I knew after one info session that no matter what, I was going to go there during my undergraduate career. There was something extremely alluring about the opportunity to go to the very same islands where Charles Darwin was inspired to think of natural selection and evolution.  I tailored my class schedule over my first three years at UM to ensure that I would be able to go my senior year.

What most surprised you about the experience?
The scenery was not at all what I expected; I had a vision in my head of lush green forests teeming with wildlife, but found that most of the islands were closer to deserts than rainforests. The highlands offered me the lush green experience I was looking for, but in the lowlands it was all lava fields and cactii.

What part of the trip was the most exciting for you?
There was a field trip that we took to the western side of Isabela Island that was an all-day journey. It took about three hours to get to our destination, which was a small inlet in a completely uninhabited part of the island, where we had the opportunity to snorkel and photograph some of the wildlife. The water was freezing, but the snorkeling was beautiful, and when we made it to the second destination (an inlet only about 10-15 minutes away from the first), we caught a serra mackerel and made fresh ceviche right there on the boat. The best part was the return trip back home. I was sitting on top of the boat speaking with the guide and looking down at the water when I saw a manta ray about a foot underneath the surface. I got excited, as it was the first one I had seen, and pointed it out to the guide, who told me “Just wait.” Two minutes later, we were completely surrounded by feeding, jumping manta rays, who can grow as large as 20 feet in width (wingspan). It was by far one of the most exciting experiences of the trip, as well as my life.

What inspired you to photograph your experience?
I have always enjoyed photography. When I had the opportunity to travel to such a unique place that has things and animals found nowhere else in the world, I knew I had to document the experience and bring those photographs back to people that may never have the opportunity to travel there themselves. That’s why I am grateful for this photo exhibition; it allows me to bring the place to the people.

What do you look for in a great picture?
The general rule that I follow for myself is that if something catches my eye, I photograph it. Not only is it likely that it will catch someone else’s eye as well, but at the end of the day, you photograph to document your life and your experience. In other words, you’re photographing for yourself, not everyone else. You don’t have to follow the rule of thirds and have the perfect aperture and shutter speed all of the time. A photograph can be technically bad, but if it is a snapshot of a memory that means something to you, it doesn’t matter.

Could you share some advice for other students who want to do travel photography?
If you’re blessed with the opportunity to not only travel but to travel and photograph, seize that opportunity and do not let go. Once you’re there, photograph everything. You may end up with several thousand photographs, but I can guarantee that in that large number are a smaller number of fantastic photographs. Don’t ever second guess yourself; with phone cameras what they are today, anyone can be a photographer. There’s never an excuse to not take a photo if you have the chance.