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Profile: Benjamin Britton

Date: March 13, 2000

Benjamin Britton, associate professor of fine art, came to UC in 1992 because this is "a wild west of a campus."

image of Britton

How I like to teach
I like working collaboratively with students and colleagues because I really enjoy the stimulation of being around creative people. I like hearing about their challenges and how they solve them. It's exciting being part of a problem-solving team, to work together. I like to teach by learning, learning new ways of doing things, going out into the world and finding out how other people see the world, how they think. Then, I can bring that back and share it with students and colleagues.

Creative interest
I like to use the latest state-of-the-art technology to explore what makes us human, what connects human minds and the human spirit. My most recent project (at is a Web-based, virtual reality work that allows participants to play the roles of Neil Armstrong or fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin during their historic capsule landing or during their first moon walk. Part of my reason for doing this was to help younger generations connect with, share and understand the drive and creativity of a previous generation. Similarly, a previous virtual reality project, recreating France's Cave of Lascaux where prehistoric humans left paintings and carvings, connects today's generations with our ancient ancestors.

Other interests
I enjoy archaeology and history, contemporary art and the outdoors. I'm a pretty good tennis player. I play once a week.

Though I've visited many historic sites like Chaco Canyon, Eleusis in Greece, Lascaux, and Emporium in Spain, I'm taking my interest in history a step further. I recently volunteered on my first archaeological dig: a Hopewell village site where I dug and then sifted through the soil for artifacts.

What makes UC distinctive
UC retains and embodies American traditions while being very forward looking in terms of growth and research. Who else is growing like us? We have a lot of high energy. We're a Wild West of a campus. The physical campus is fun, better than ever. It will just keep getting better and better.

How would you describe UC to others
We're a community of creative people out to do good.

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