Program Faculty

J. Leighton Pierce

J. Leighton Pierce

Leighton PIerce is an experimental and documentary media artist and educator working in film, video, sound, installation and more recently in TikTok, Instagram etc. with over 500 screenings in international venues including multiple screenings at Sundance, Rotterdam, New York, and Ann Arbor film festivals. He has won over 100 festival awards and has had numerous retrospectives (Paris, Belgium, New Zealand, etc.), grants, fellowships and residencies. Pierce integrates his creative practice with his holistic approach to teaching and learning. He has taught in three distinct institutions and in all of them, has served as either program head, chair, or dean. Pierce has received grants and/or fellowships from Creative Capital Foundation, The Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, The Camargo Foundation, as well as numerous state, regional, and institutional fellowship awards.

Teaching Specialties
Pierce takes a transdisciplinary, holistic approach to teaching film/video/audio. Every class examines the student’s comprehensive relationship to all aspects of filmmaking, even in classes nominally focussing on particular processes or technical details such as sound design, for example.
-Disruptive project development and writing for film
-Interdisciplinary classes such as film+architecture, film+fashion, film+cognition, etc.
-Sound design
-Multichannel site specific video installation
-Image Design
-Curriculum Design

Pierce’s site specific and gallery video/sound works include installations at Sundance Film Festival, Musée d’art Contemporain de Montreal, Austin Museum of Art, Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India, Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Iowa Museum of Art, Slusser Gallery at U of Michigan, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, The Exploratorium San Francisco, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Palm Beach Museum of Contemporary Art, Flatland Galerie, Utrecht, Netherlands, and Laviola Bank Gallery in New York City.

Academic appointments
Faculty, California Institute of the Arts, Experimental Animation, 2014---
Dean, School of Film/Video, California Institute of the Arts 2014--2019
Acting Dean, School of Art and Design, Pratt Institute 2012--2014
Chair, Film/Video Department, Pratt Institute 2011--2012
Area Head and Professor, Film/ Video Production, University of Iowa 1996--2011
Assistant Professor/ Associate Professor, University of Iowa 1985-1995