People

Incubator Projects and People 2023

The following five teams have been selected for WORLDING 2023, and they  will be participating in our intensive incubator in the Fall.

An illustration of a snow leopard emerging from a pop-up children's book

Living with Snow Leopards

Living with the Snow Leopards is a mixed reality documentary that explores the complex relationship between the human inhabitants of the Himalayan mountain desert and the endangered snow leopards. Team members: Gayatri Parameswaran, Felix Gaedtke, Tsewang Namgail

Founder, NowHere Media

Gayatri Parameswaran

Gayatri Parameswaran is an awarded director and producer of immersive works that examine contemporary issues through a critical lens. She co-founded NowHere Media, a Berlin-based storytelling studio working at the intersection of technology and social change. Her work has been exhibited at the Venice Film Festival, Festival de Cannes, Tribeca, IDFA, Hotdocs, SXSW and beyond. She is also a lecturer at Filmuniversität Babelsberg and Züricher Hochschule der Kunst. She is an Erasmus Mundus scholar in War & Conflict Reporting and a German Chancellor Fellowship alumnus.
Founder, NowHere Media

Felix Gaedtke

Felix Gaedtke, co-founder of NowHere Media, is an acclaimed immersive artist who has been recognized with multiple awards, including the prestigious Storyscapes Award at the Tribeca Film Festival and the ‘Best Use of Immersive Arts’ at SXSW. A Sundance New Frontier alumnus, Felix’s immersive pieces have been showcased at renowned venues such as the Venice Film Festival, SXSW, Cannes XR, the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, and HotDocs, as well as at the ZKM and other prestigious venues. He recently released the 360 project, You destroy. We create., which explores culture during the war in Ukraine.
Director, Snow Leopard Conservancy - India Trust

Tsewang Namgail

Tsewang Namgail joined Snow Leopard Conservancy — India Trust as its Director in 2013. He has an M.Sc. (zoology honours) from the Panjab University, Chandigarh, India, an M.Phil. In wildlife biology from the University of Tromso, Norway, and a PhD in community ecology from the Wageningen University in the Netherlands. For his conservation efforts, Dr. Namgail was honoured with the Conservation Award by the Adventure Nation in 2018, Mountain Prize Honourable Mention by ICIMOD in 2020 and Disney Conservation Hero Award by Walt Disney Company Foundation in 2020. He has co-edited a book on migratory birds in the Himalayan region for the Cambridge University Press.

Fisher Child

Fisher Child is a multimedia project which builds on the ancestral-archival work of sixth-generation fisher child Traci Kwaai. This repository of Indigenous marine knowledge from a small South African fishing village visualizes in 3D the precarity of coastal lives in a time of climate chaos. Team members: Traci Kwaai, Kyle Marais, Lo-Def Film Factory

Storyteller, Activist, Entrepreneur

Traci Kwaai

Traci Kwaai is a sixth generation fisher child of the indigenous fishing community of Kalk Bay. She is a storyteller, activist, teacher and entrepreneur who leads the powerful and impactful “Walk of Remembrance” focusing on the history and marginalisation of her community who have lived in Kalk Bay for more than 300 years.
XR Developer/Immersive Storyteller

Kyle Marais

Kyle is an XR developer and immersive storyteller from South Africa. They hold a MSc in Computer Science, and are fundamentally interested in the intersection and transection of technology and art. In the mediums of XR, they are particularly interested in how the medium allows narratives, worlds, and ideas to be woven into interactive and immersive experiences. The non-linearity and agency that the artistic medium of XR facilitates are critical components that influence his creative and technical practice.
Co-founder

Lo-Def Film Factory, Amy Louise Wilson

Based in South Africa, the Lo-Def Film Factory’s work involves archival research, dramaturgy, and visual strategies associated with video art, collage, sculptural installation and new media, to facilitate collaborative and experimental community storytelling. It was created by artist duo Francois Knoetze and Amy Louise Wilson. Wilson is the team’s WORLDING participant.

The Greenprint

The Greenprint is a real-world data city simulator game that connects people in designing sustainable communities. Beginning in Georgetown, SC, players and residents of the local community contribute to virtual reclamations of plantations and to building a new way of life. Team members: Jordyn Barber, Colleen McGregor, Ariella Gaughan

Founder, The Greenprint

Jordyn Barber

Founder of The Greenprint, Jordyn Barber is an educator, producer, storyteller, and creative director. Jordyn’s teaching experience includes being a mentor with Youth Cinema Project (Latino Film Institute), professor at Fullerton College, and guest lecturer at NYU and USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.
Co-founder, The Greenprint

Colleen McGregor

Co-founder of The Greenprint, Colleen McGregor is a director, production designer, creative XR producer and documentary professor. She has been a non-profit leader at several organizations in the areas of development, program management and STEAM education.
Masters Student

Ariella Gaughan

Ariella Gaughan is a member of the Chickasaw Nation. She is pursuing her Masters in American Indian Studies and Urban Planning at UCLA with research focused on integrating environmental history and Indigenous science to narratives to shape urban and conservation planning.

Our Family Garden

Our Family Garden is a participatory digital memorial situated as a medicinal plant garden, imagined within the 32km line of the abandoned war trenches surrounding Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Designed as an interactive audiovisual experience, it allows local users to preserve their memories of the siege of Sarajevo and the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1995), as well as their memories of traditional plant medicines used for healing during wartime, when other types of medicine were hardly available. At the same time, it becomes a global community garden – a safe space for users from across the world to plant their personal memories of social and ecological violence, while empathizing with Bosnian citizens and their stories. Team members: Smirna Kulenović, Félix de Rosen, Christina Chi Zhang

Media Artist

Smirna Kulenović

Smirna Kulenović (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina) is a transdisciplinary media artist, researcher, filmmaker and lecturer currently based between Vienna, Austria and Sarajevo, Bosnia. She graduated (MA) from the department of Interface Cultures at the University of Arts and Design Linz, Austria with her thesis “Performing Landscapes of Care.” Her practice focuses on transdisciplinary performance, art/science, participatory and public art – as methods of addressing cultural, personal and environmental embodiments of identity and memory in post-crisis societies.
Restoration Landscape Designer, Author

Félix de Rosen

Félix de Rosen is a restoration landscape designer and author based in Oakland, California. His practice, titled Polycultura, focuses on design strategies that amplify biodiversity and cultural ties to biodiversity. With an undergraduate degree in Government from Harvard University and a graduate degree in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley, and with experience as a gardener, landscape designer, and exhibit designer in the San Francisco Bay Area, he now works with Regenerative Resources Co (RRC), a company that designs and consults on regenerative seawater agroecosystems.
Harry der Boghosian Fellow

Christina Chi Zhang

Christina Chi Zhang has been named the Harry der Boghosian Fellow for 2023-24 at Syracuse University. She will be teaching full-time at Syracuse School of Architecture starting from this fall. Prior to this year, she was traveling as a recipient of the 2021 George Nelson Travel Scholarship. She won the scholarship with her independent project “Thank You for Loving Me till the End: Past, Memory and Everyday Life in Post-Atrocity Public Spaces”, focusing on post-genocide restoration in Rwanda and Bosnia.

ATL

ATL is an interactive and immersive documentary that transports viewers on a journey aboard a chinampa in the ancient Lake Texcoco during the pre-Hispanic era in Mexico. ATL offers a unique experience to understand Mexico City, a city built on a lake and facing a severe water crisis. ATL (meaning ‘water” in Aztec) advocates action and sustainable practices, using technology and narrative to raise awareness. Team members: Miguel Ángel Sánchez, Meztli Cambray, Omar R. Godínez Ortega

Filmmaker, Activist

Miguel Ángel Sánchez

Miguel Ángel Sánchez is an independent Mexican filmmaker and activist. His work has premiered and been awarded nationally and internationally, and addresses humanitarian and urgent social issues in Mexico, from an angle of reality and empowerment through the use of stories.
Masters Student

Meztli Cambray

Meztli Cambray, KTH scholar, pursuing a master’s in Sustainable Urban Planning in Sweden. Focuses on urban informality, women’s sustainable practices, and precarious work. Researcher at UNAM/OECD, consultant at Elementa HR and CDHVitoria for human rights defense and promotion.
Sociologist

Omar R. Godínez Ortega

Omar R. Godínez Ortega is a sociologist with a master’s in Human Rights and Democracy. He works as a Project Manager and researcher at CIESC, ITESM. Grounded in Human Rights and gender studies, he focuses on designing and evaluating policies from a territorial perspective.

Keynote

FRAMERATE: Pulse of the Earth.

A five year exploration of LiDAR storytelling as a climate research, scientific dataset & artwork.

November 7, 2023, 12 noon – 1:30 PM ET 

FRAMERATE

UK-based ScanLAB use their craft as a way to bear witness to landscapes in flux- collaborating with scientists, dancers, journalists, playwrights and musicians on evocative and meaningful stories. ScanLAB experiments with scanning technology across various creative mediums including films, VR, theatre, online, immersive art installations and more.

The conversation will focus around FRAMERATE: Pulse of the Earth, an immersive, environmental artwork which uses timelapse LiDAR scanning to reveal landscape scale alterations caused by human-centred industry and the immense forces of nature. This keynote will explore the R&D and making of the work involving local landscape photographers across the United Kingdom. How R&D test datasets are becoming the focus of peer reviewed papers in Nature and how the project was designed and produced with sustainability principles in mind. And we’ll explore how these breathtaking visuals and the way in which the audience are invited to experience them tells multiple stories about the climate crisis and humanity’s impact on the planet.

Matt Shaw (ScanLAB co-founder) and Anetta Jones (senior documentary producer) will discuss Framerate in the context of the studio’s award winning work spanning over a decade.

Senior Producer, ScanLAB

Anetta Jones

Anetta is Senior Producer at ScanLAB. Since joining the studio two years ago, Anetta has produced immersive art installation FRAMERATE: Pulse of the Earth (La Biennale, SXSW, PHI Centre Montreal) including a chapter in Taiwan, the hybrid digital play Felix’s Room which opened at the prestigious Berliner Ensemble and is currently producing a major artwork commission by the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. Prior to ScanLAB, Anetta produced award-winning documentary films, XR projects and branded content. This includes Anagram’s ‘Goliath: Playing with Reality’, which featured Tilda Swinton and won the Grand Jury Prize for VR at La Biennale, The Guardian’s documentary film series ‘Divided Cities’ which saw over 1.5 mill views, and multiple VR experiences for The Guardian and The Economist.
Co-founder, ScanLAB

Matthew Shaw

Matt is co-founder of ScanLAB Projects. His background is in architecture, storytelling and speculation about digital cities of the future. Matt has led the successful delivery of high profile, large budget projects across the Arts, TV and Immersive Media including IUK AotF R&D project FRAMERATE, the BBC series Invisible Cities and Post-lenticular Landscapes that resulted from a successful LACMA Art + Technology Grant. He is fascinated by the creative and critical role of the

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Lightning Talks

James Weldon Johnson Professor, New York University

Reginé Gilbert

Reginé Gilbert is a seasoned UX designer, esteemed educator, accomplished author, and distinguished international keynote speaker. As the James Weldon Johnson Professor at New York University, she is a respected authority in user experience design. In 2019, she published “Inclusive Design for a Digital World: Designing with Accessibility in Mind,” warmly received by industry professionals and readers. Her research focuses on digital accessibility, inclusive design, and immersive experiences, seeking ways to build inclusive digital environments.
Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT

Taylor Perron

J. Taylor Perron is the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT. His group studies how geology, climate, and life intertwine to shape the surfaces of Earth and other planets. Prof. Perron is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. He holds an AB in Earth and Planetary Sciences and Archaeology from Harvard University and a PhD in Earth and Planetary Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Research Scientist, MIT

Rachel Connolly

Rachel Connolly is a research scientist at the MIT Media Lab. She works in advancing science education through Big Data and data visualizations. Her research explores strategies and techniques for leveraging digital assets from scientific research to design educational experiences and advance pedagogies in STEM-specific content areas.Her long term goal is to work towards answering the question of how can we best support educators in the integration of “Big Data” and visualizations, among other emerging formats of scientific data, into their instruction.
Senior AR Developer, Unity

Daniel Miller

After four years of working as a Developer Advocate / Evangelist at Unity Technologies he’s shifted roles and is now working on an internal project as a Senior AR developer. His primary interest is programming, but he also enjoys the design and art aspects of game and application development. Dan loves exploring the new kinds of experiences and interactions that are made possible by new mediums, such as virtual and augmented reality, and he often finds himself bouncing around ideas and prototypes with friends.
Deputy director, strategic initiatives and partnerships in the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center

Nidhi Upadhyaya

Nidhi Upadhyaya is a deputy director, strategic initiatives and partnerships in the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center. She was formerly associate director in the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center. In this capacity, she contributed to the Center’s policy research initiatives and manages programmatic tasks. Previously, she worked as a researcher with policy consulting firm, Bower Group Asia, and as an assistant manager for the Social Media Content Management and Strategy team at India’s leading business news channel ET NOW. Nidhi graduated with a master’s in International Affairs from the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs in 2017.

Mentors and Advisors

Banks Family Preeminence Endowed Chair and Associate Professor of Artificial Intelligence and the Arts, Digital Worlds Institute, University of Florida

Amelia Winger-Bearskin

Amelia Winger-Bearskin is a Banks Family Preeminence Endowed Chair and Associate Professor of Artificial Intelligence and the Arts, at the Digital Worlds Institute at the University of Florida. She is also the founder of the AI Climate Justice Lab, the Talk To Me About Water Collective, and the Stupid Hackathon. In 2022 she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Award as part of the Sundance AOP Fellowship cohort for her project CLOUD WORLD / SKYWORLD which was part of The Whitney’s Sunrise/Sunset series. In 2021 she was a fellow at Stanford University as their artist and technologist in residence, made possible by the Stanford Visiting Artist Fund in Honor of Roberta Bowman Denning (VAF). In 2020 she founded Wampum Codes, an award-winning podcast and an ethical framework for software development based on indigenous values of co-creation, while a Mozilla Fellow at the MIT Co-Creation Studio. In 2019 she was a delegate at the Summit on Fostering Universal Ethics and Compassion for His Holiness, The 14th Dalai Lama, at his World Headquarters in Dharmsala, India. In 2018 she was awarded the 100k Alternative Realities Prize for her Virtual Reality Project: Your Hands Are Feet from Engadget and Verizon Media. This was also the year that nonprofit IDEA New Rochelle won the $1 Million Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge for their VR/AR Citizen toolkit to help the community co-design their city. Amelia is an enrolled member of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma, Deer Clan on her mother’s side; her late father was Jewish/Baha’i.
CEO and Co-founder, Planet3

Kelly McGrath

Kelly McGrath is CEO and co-founder of Planet3, a climate video game publisher, on a mission to save the planet through gaming. As an engineer, teacher, product developer, and collaborative executive, Kelly thrives on building and scaling high-functioning teams who do more with less. She is an executive with deep experience building and sustaining market-leading products for major edtech companies, including Pearson and McGraw-Hill. Kelly also currently serves as interim Board Chair for the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, IGES, a non-profit trusted leader in environmental education, communication, and outreach. She also advises and consults in the area of edtech for several investment advisors. Kelly is passionate about adding value and positivity to the world, and enjoys mentoring and helping others in need.
Founder, Hum Studio Interactive

Diego Galafassi

A Brazilian-born transdisciplinary artist and producer now living in Sweden, Diego Galafassi has been exploring the connection between arts and sciences for his entire career. With a Ph.D. in Sustainability Science, as well as a collection of works that include films “The Life of Lines” and UNESCO Patronage project “Charismatic Megafauna”, he continually sees the unity between the two disciplines, and the power of merging the two. Diego is the founder of Hum Studio Interactive, an emerging media and collaborative studio based in Stockholm, Sweden. Diego recently co-hosted the Creative Climate Leadership program Scandinavia with Julie’s Bicycle, which explored the future of the creative sector in Scandinavia. Diego is a Sundance Institute New Frontier Lab Programs Alumni within Sundance’s “Future of Culture” initiative and has experience directing, writing, and producing documentaries, new media, and participatory performance.
Senior Programmer, Sundance Film Festival

Shari Frilot

Shari Frilot is the Senior Programmer of the Sundance Film Festival & the Chief Curator of New Frontier at Sundance. Her focus in the Sundance film program is American and World Cinema dramatic features, as well as films that experiment and push the boundaries of conventional storytelling. She is also the founder and driving creative force behind New Frontier at Sundance, an immersive exhibition of works being created at the intersections of art, film, and new media technology. She also helped found the New Frontier Storylab (2011-2020). She served as co-Director of Programming for OUTFEST (1998-2001), where she founded the Platinum section, which introduced immersive performances and installations to the festival. As Festival Director for MIX: The New York Experimental Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (1993-1996) she co-founded the first queer Latin American film festivals, MIX BRASIL and MIX MÉXICO, as well as, introduced interactive digital art installation & immersive performance to the festival through creative collaborations with artists and filmmakers such as Shu Lea Cheang, Jim Lyons, Todd Haynes & Christine Vachon.
Co-founder, Movers and Shakers

Idris Brewster

Idris Brewster has a background in Cognitive Science and Computer Science. As an artist, Idris spends his time focusing on blending technology and the material world as a means of creative expression. Idris is the co-founder of Movers and Shakers, an education non-profit that uses Augmented Reality as a tool to shed light on narratives from communities of color, as well as a tool to educate in classrooms, cultural institutions and public spaces.
Artist

Lena Thiele

Lena Thiele designs and produces digital media formats in the fields of film, games and transmedia since 2003. In 2012 she joined Miiqo Studios, where she focuses on creating meaningful experiences through innovation in storytelling, technology and design. Her production netwars/Out of CTRL webseries received numerous awards like the SXSW Innovation Award, Grimme Online Award or Prix Italia. In addition she works as trainer and consultant for the international media industry. Furthermore she was juror in the digital program (non-fiction category) for the 2011 and 2012 International Digital Emmy Award. Lena Thiele holds a Masters of Arts degree from the University of Arts Berlin in Communication in Social and Economic Contexts with focus on experimental media design and cinema studies.
Founder and CEO, Emblematic Group

Nonny de la Peña

Nonny de la Peña is an American journalist, documentary filmmaker, and entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of Emblematic Group, a digital media company focused on immersive virtual, mixed and augmented reality. De la Peña is widely credited with helping create the genre of immersive journalism. She combines Unity graphics with real witness audio to recreate powerful events the user can experience using virtual reality headsets. De la Peña was selected by Wired Magazine as #MakeTechHuman Agent of Change and has been called the “Godmother of Virtual Reality” by Forbes, Engadget and The Guardian. Additionally, Fast Company recently listed de la Peña as one of the “13 People Who Made the World More Creative.”
Chief Impact Officer, Carbon Counts

Nicole Rustad

Nicole Rustad is the Chief Impact Officer at Carbon Counts. Nicole is also the co-founder of Unboxals Creative Studio and the founder of VortoVia. Rustad has dedicated their career to fighting for social and environmental justice. Nicole is passionate about using their skills as a business leader to help purpose-driven organizations make a positive impact on the world. Rustad has a long history of working with indigenous communities. In their previous role as Interim Chief Executive Officer of Mamawapowin Technology Society, they worked to expand connectivity to rural and indigenous communities in Canada.
CEO & Founder, Power to the Pixel

Liz Rosenthal

Liz is Curator of Venice Biennale’s International Film Festival’s Official Selection and Competition programme Venice VR, Executive Producer of immersive content accelerator programme, CreativeXR, led by Arts Council England and Digital Catapult and the CEO & Founder of trail-blazing innovation company Power to the Pixel. She has an extensive network and knowledge of international talent, financiers and distributors across the immersive entertainment and arts space. Throughout her career, Liz has helped international media businesses and artists to innovate and adapt their practice to evolving platforms, tools and audiences. She has advised countless leading international festivals, media organisations and national and regional funds.
Artist

Violeta Ayala

Violeta Ayala is a multifaceted creator spanning the roles of filmmaker technologist writer and artist. In 2020 she became the first Quechua member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Co-founding unitednotions.film and koa.xyz Ayala has been instrumental in driving innovative projects. Her latest project Prison X (2021) is an interactiveVR animation that premiered to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festivaland Cannes XR and has been showcased at prestigious venues like the ForumDes Images in Paris Games For Change in NY as well as galleries and museums in Santiago Bogota Prague Warsaw and Brisbane among others. Ayala’s artistic work “”Las Awichas”” (grandmothers in Aymara) a series of large format prints honouring her female ancestors with the use of AI first opened in September 2022 at the prestigious El Martadero art gallery in Bolivia.Subsequently this work has been selected for the GLoW3 major exhibition atKing’s College London in March 2024 where it will incorporate augmented reality (AR) showcasing the fusion of traditional art with advanced digital storytelling techniques.
Artist & Researcher

Milad Mozari

Milad Mozari is an artist and researcher working in sonic investigations that draw connections to surfaces and social layers. While studying for his BS in International Studies at the University of Utah, he began to make and exhibit work about language and place. He continued his studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received an MFA in the Department of Sound. Exhibitions and performances include the Hong Kong Arts Centre, International Symposium of Electronic Arts, Chicago International Film Festival, IndieLisboa, Litmus Community Space, Chicago Cultural Center, the Studebaker Theater, and Experimental Sound Studio. Fellowships and residencies include Asian Cultural Council Grant to Individuals, Wave Farm, Pioneer Works, Ox-Bow, Incheon Art Platform, Taipei Artist Village, Madou Sugar Industry Triennial, and soundpocket. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Utah.
Artist

Ryat Yezbick

Ryat Yezbick is a visual artist who uses their training in cultural anthropology to inform the issues they tackle as a maker. They investigate the surveillance state’s impact on group identity, relations, and morals through public archives and collaborations. Figuring their lived experience centrally in their work, Yezbick addresses a complex set of questions around security, gender, home, family, love, violence, power, and responsibility in the era of digital surveillance and decentralized global conflict. They work in a variety of mediums – notably live performance, experimental documentary, and installation – that have garnered support from audiences and curators internationally. They are a published author, multi-time grant recipient, organizer, art and technology consultant, and an academic in the Narrative and Emerging Media Program at Arizona State University.
Creative Technologist in Residence, MIT Open Documentary Lab

Halsey Burgund

Halsey Burgund is a new media artist and Emmy-winning interactive director whose work focuses on the combination of modern technologies – from mobile phones to artificial intelligence – with fundamentally human “technologies”, primarily language, music and the spoken voice. He is the creator of Roundware, the open source contributory audio AR platform, which has been used to create art and educational installations for cultural organizations internationally. Halsey was a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow, a Research Affiliate at the MIT Media Lab and is currently Creative Technologist in Residence at the MIT Open Documentary Lab and an affiliate in Harvard’s metaLAB.
Game Developer

Max Musau

Max Musau stands as a prominent figure in the African gaming industry, boasting over a decade of expert proficiency in the realm of technology. With a remarkable focus on digital platform design and development, Max’s accolades encompass the triumphant launch of three platforms and the initiation of two community-driven learning and innovation programs. His fervent commitment centers around harnessing novel technology to amplify creativity and productivity within gaming communities, a testament to his devotion to advancing technological horizons.
Artist

Rashin Fahandej

Rashin Fahandej is an Iranian-American multimedia artist, immersive filmmaker, futurist, and cultural activist. Fahandej’s artistic initiatives are multiyear experimental laboratories for collective radical reimaginations of social systems, using counter-narratives of care and community co-creation to design equitable futures. A proponent of “Art as Ecosystem, her projects center on marginalized voices and the role of media, technology, and public collaboration to drive social change. Fahandej is the founder of “A Father’s Lullaby, “ a multi-year, co-creative initiative that interrogates racial bias and structural racism in the United States criminal justice system. Fahandej defines the project as a “Poetic Cyber Movement for Social Justice”.
Documentary Maker and Artist

Joanna Wright

Joanna Wright is a Welsh documentary maker and artist who works with photography, film, archives, and digital platforms. Her projects are often long-term collaborations with communities, collections, and scientists, that re-examine established narratives and relationships between people, place, environment and time. She was artist in residence with the Zero Carbon Britain research project at the UK’s Centre for Alternative Technology, a multi-decade initiative that models a zero-emission society using currently available technology. Her collaborative project, Atomfa (and other stories), documenting the closing days of a rural nuclear power station, has recently been awarded in the Digital Communities category at Ars Electronica. She has presented work at the UK Government All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group, BFI, Channel 4, BBC, The Space, The Institute of Contemporary Art London, IDFA, Seattle Film Festival, Open Engagement, True/False, and the United Nations. She is a fellow at the MIT Open Documentary Lab and honorary senior research fellow at Bangor University, Wales.
Coral Reef Scientist

Dr. Erika Woolsley

National Geographic Explorer Dr. Erika Woolsey is a coral reef scientist and leader of The Hydrous, a non-profit dedicated to translating ocean science into public understanding. As a marine biologist, divemaster, and virtual reality filmmaker, she loves bringing people to the ocean, in real life as well as virtually. Her work has taken her to coral reefs around the world, including to Palau, where she produced the award-winning 360º film Immerse. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Dr. Woolsey conducted her PhD research with James Cook University on the Great Barrier Reef, earned her Masters of Applied Science in Coastal Management from the University of Sydney, and studied biology and art history at Duke University. She is currently a Lecturer and Visiting Scholar at Stanford University.

Organizers and Facilitators

VP and Global Head of Social Impact / Education at Unity Technologies

Jessica Lindl

Jessica Lindl is the global head of social impact and education at Unity Technologies, running both an internal business unit with a P&L and a Corporate Donor Advised fund. In addition, Jessica is responsible for Unity’s ESG and sustainability, social impact, education, and upskilling strategy and teams. 

 

As an accomplished CEO and General Manager, Jessica has raised both venture capital and philanthropic funds to launch new business ventures. She has over 15 years of experience running various business ventures and P&Ls, consistently exceeding her targets. She has experience in launching both B2B and B2C businesses with expertise in strategic partnerships, digital user acquisition, product strategy, and product development. Industry experience includes SaaS, technology, gaming, education, and media.

 

Over her career, she has focused on empowering millions of learners building careers and businesses with technology. Jessica has spent over 15 years overseeing companies and teams that design, develop, market, and distribute high-impact learning offerings to the global education market. In her work at Unity Technologies, Common Sense Media, GlassLab and LRNG (now part of Southern New Hampshire University), Scientific Learning, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, she has worked to improve learning outcomes and earning potential for all learners worldwide by blending effectiveness with ground-breaking engagement. 

 

Jessica is an Aspen Institute-Pahara Fellow focusing on the global connection between learning and earning opportunities. She is also an advisory board member for GSV AcceleraTE, an early-stage venture fund, that partners with exceptional entrepreneurs and their companies in the $75 billion learning and talent technology sector. Additionally, she’s an advisory board member for California State University Entertainment Alliance Advisory Council, the largest four-year public university system in the U.S. with nearly 500,000 students. Jessica is a graduate of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, where she received a Masters in Business Administration with a focus on entrepreneurship and education. She lives in San Francisco, CA with her husband and two sons. 

Lead, Unity for Humanity Program

Paisley Smith

Paisley Smith is an imaginative filmmaker who utilizes the power of Virtual Reality to create compelling films that inspire introspection and drive meaningful change. Paisley’s VR films, including Unceded Territories and Homestay, have received international acclaim for their immersive narratives and stunning visual aesthetics.

Paisley leads the Unity for Humanity grant program and community at Unity Technologies, championing innovation and support for artists and technologists who harness their skills for global social good. Their goal is to inspire creators and audiences worldwide to critically consider the potential of technology and storytelling in creating positive impact. Paisley Smith lives and works on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish First Nations, known as Vancouver, British Columbia.

WORLDING Design Lead, Artistic Director and Research Scientist of Co-Creation Studio at MIT ODL

Katerina Cizek

Katerina Cizek is a Peabody and two-time Emmy-winning documentary director, creator and leader in the emergent tech and media space. She is the Artistic Director of the Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab where she authored (with Uricchio et al.) the MIT Press book Collective Wisdom: Co-Creating Media for Equity and Justice, forthcoming November 2022. For over a decade at the National Film Board of Canada, she helped redefine the organization as one of the world’s leading digital story hubs with two major projects HIGHRISE, and the NFB Filmmaker-in-Residence. Cizek‘s earlier independent films include the Hampton-Prize winner Seeing is Believing: Handicams, Human Rights and the News (with Peter Wintonick). She has served  as an advisor to Sundance Institute Labs and is a member of the  Peabody Inaugural Board of Jurors for Interactive.
WORLDING Producer, Co-Creation Studio at MIT ODL

Srushti Kamat

Srushti Kamat is a producer who recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Comparative Media Studies from MIT. She was a researcher at the MIT Co-Creation Studio and Open Documentary Lab. Her thesis was focused on Virtual Production and the intersection of games, technology and creative labor as it manifests through shifting workflows and  production atmospheres. She also leads the Virtual Production Bulletin for Immerse.News and has co-led reading groups at MIT on Civic Media and the Metaverse/Web 3.0/decentralization. She received a fellowship and grant from the MIT Center for International Studies, the MISTI Global Seed Fund and more recently, MIT’s Priscilla King Gray Public Service Fellowship to continue working on how emergent technologies like game engines can be used to include marginalized voices at their nascent development. She has co-founded and directed media arts projects that challenge notions of place, identity and home, aiming to always heighten contradictions.
Research Assistant

Mrinalini Singha

Mrinalini Singha is an artist and creative technologist currently pursuing her MS in Art, Culture, and Technology at MIT. Her work addresses socio-political, cultural and environmental urgencies across mediums such as film, installation, tangible interfaces and XR. She wears many hats, from researching at the MIT Open Documentary Lab (on WORLDING– a partnership between the Co-Creation Studio and Unity exploring climate futures and game engine technologies) to nurturing the Himalayan Folk Collective (an experimental archive and community of practice in the Western Himalayan Region.)

Her recent exhibitions include:

  • Forensic Artifacts of a Democracy in Crisis at the ACT Student Gallery at the MIT List Visual Art Center builds upon her engagements as a design researcher at Alt News, the leading voice against misinformation and hate speech in India in the face of polarized nation-state politics and a drastically changing media landscape.

  • Stata Island – a worlding exploring the terristories, indigenous histories and climate futures of MIT- displayed at the MIT Museum as part of the Contractions Showcase.

Some of her work can be seen at mrinalini.xyz and read on her medium.

Director, ODL

Sarah Wolozin

Sarah Wolozin is director and co-principal investigator of the MIT Open Documentary Lab. In her prior work as an award-winning media maker, she experimented with storytelling and emerging technology to make information and new technology more accessible and to shed light on alternative and unknown narratives.  She is founder and editorial director of Docubase, co-founder and editor-at-large of Immerse, and co-founder of the Co-Creation Studio. She co-curates a bi-annual conference on topics relevant to documentary and emerging media and is a frequent speaker at festivals and conferences.
PI, ODL

Vivek Bald

Vivek Bald is a scholar, writer, and documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on histories of migration and diaspora, particularly from the South Asian subcontinent. He is the author of Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America (Harvard University Press, 2013), and co-editor, with Miabi Chatterji, Sujani Reddy, and Manu Vimalassery of The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (NYU Press, 2013). His films include “Taxi-vala/Auto-biography,” (1994) which explored the lives, struggles, and activism of New York City taxi drivers from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and “Mutiny: Asians Storm British Music” (2003) a hybrid music documentary/social documentary about South Asian youth, music, and anti-racist politics in 1970s-90s Britain. Bald is currently working on a transmedia project aimed at recovering the histories of peddlers and steamship workers from British colonial India who came to the United States under the shadows of anti-Asian immigration laws and settled within U.S. communities of color in the early 20th century. The project consists of the Bengali Harlem book as well as a documentary film, “In Search of Bengali Harlem,” (currently in production), and a digital oral history website in development at bengaliharlem.com.
Climate Change Resilience Strategist, WORLDING Co-Creator

Marina Psaros

Marina Psaros is a sustainability expert and has led climate action programs across public, private, and nonprofit organizations for over a decade. She is a co-author (with Christina Conklin) of The Atlas of Disappearing Places: Our Coasts and Oceans in the Climate Crisis (The New Press) and one of the creators of The King Tides Project, an international community science and education initiative. An amateur cartographer and ocean advocate, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Urban Planner, Futurist

Lafayette Cruise

Lafayette Cruise is an urban planner and futurist. He holds an immense sense of awe and wonder for people, nature and the imaginative possibilities of how we can exist together that continues to inform his diverse academic and professional career. Cruise’s practice engages projects at the intersection of urban planning and speculative fiction. He leverages the radical imagination and world-building capabilities of speculative fiction and the multidisciplinary, strategic implementation tools of urban planning in order to imagine, plan and build a more just, liberating and sustainable future.
Unity Certified Instructor and Programmer

Thomas Winkley

Thomas is a Unity Certified Programmer and Instructor, fighting game commentator, community organizer, and an amateur pizza enthusiast. Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, he supports Unity’s work in the academic and non-profit space, from presentations to curricular implementation. If Thomas isn’t prototyping a far-fetched game idea or playing the latest iteration of Street Fighter, you can find him figuring out the best way to cook a new pizza style, or diving in with students to help shape the future of real-time 3D.

Community Cohort

The following additional projects will participate in our Community Days panels, organized around six themes for discussion, to advance our key research questions at WORLDING.

entanglement

Symbiotica

Multiplayer VR experience inspired in the symbiotic relationships of the lichen; a multi-species tissue that ignites ecological succession and multi-kingdom collaboration.

#entanglement

Forager

Using sight, sound, touch and scent, you will experience the complete life-cycle of fungi: spores, mycelium, fruiting body, and the inevitable decay.

#entanglement

The Forest that Breathes Us

An immersive experience made collaboratively with ground-breaking forest ecologist Suzanne Simard, The Forest That Breathes Us transports participants into a perspective of unfathomable interconnection.

#entanglement

Wild Grass

The Wild Grass Project aims to build an augmented experience of wild grass typology that exposes and makes visible the interconnected web of Caribbean entangled history through the perspective of the rhizomatic pattern intrinsic to the wild grass root system.

#entanglement

aqua

Wave 201: The Unwanted Atlantis

Every night, a mesmerizing city emerges upon the shores of Patagonia, as countless ships illuminate the horizon in pursuit of squid, within the international waters of mile 201, evoking profound reflections on sovereignty, ecological equilibrium, and the unforeseeable consequences of future settlements.

#aqua

WaterTales, Shaping Resilient Futures: VR Chronicles of Life, Loss, and Hope

Water Tales is an immersive project that combines cutting-edge VR technology, world-building techniques, and compelling storytelling to showcase the breathtaking beauty of Regência in Espírito Santo, Brazil, while addressing the pressing challenges it faces.

#aqua

Saving Cloud Forest 2070

“Saving Cloud Forests 2070” is a speculative design project that creates an immersive narrative of artificial cloud generation in Costa Rica’s cloud forests, exploring the impact of climate change and fostering awareness for proactive conservation efforts.

#aqua

city

play + ground

Invoking the sense of “playing” and “grounding”, “play + ground” brings together an innovative approach to rejuvenation and placemaking for the urban poor within Malaysia.

#city

From Factories to Algorithms

“From Factories to Algorithms” provides an interactive, gamified exploration of Hangzhou’s metamorphosis from industrial hub to smart city, insightfully encapsulating the significant shifts in land use and urban planning driven by China’s economic reform and the pressing realities of climate change.

#city

caves / mines

We are the canaries

“WE ARE THE CANARIES” is a virtual journey within the transformative storm of progress that unfolds through the narratives of destroyed coal mining communities.

#caves/mines

Rocks for Rivers

Rocks for Rivers is designed as an initiative to co-create VR storytelling through cross-disciplinary fields addressing the intersection of land-use, speleology, and complex systems in the Heart of Borneo.

#caves/mines

Makhandzambili

This is a hybrid peer-learning seed project that reimagines Southern African natural heritage sites as venues for sharing of artistic research and practice in virtual and physical spaces.

#caves/mines

tools

Designing with Fire: The Lenape’s Forest Regenerative Practices

Designing with Fire: The Lenape’s Forest Regenerative Practices aims to spatially visualize the cycles of the Moshulu as a way to understand Lenape’s worldviews and biocultural processes rooted in reciprocal relationships with land.

#tools

Faire Monde AR (Worlding with AR)

Faire Monde AR is an artistic & educational program enabling invisibilized communities to reclaim public space with Augmented Reality.

#tools

The Challenge of Climate Change: TEK Gaming Platform

The project aims to discuss how traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) can deal with the reality of climate change in the context of epistemology and climate change.

#tools

Sensome

Sensome is an apparatus to connect worldbuilding with mental models.

#tools

Un-Common Senses

The interdisciplinary project “Un-Common Senses” curates an immersive narrative that chronicles our city’s transformation through past, present, and future proposals for an urban development site.

#tools

remediation

Villa Africana Colobo Garden

Villa Africana Colobó Garden is an immersive AR/VR documentary and community media project celebrating the oral histories of the Latine community in North Philadelphia and the legacy of Grupo Motivos, a group of Puerto Rican women who transformed vacant city lots into vibrant community gardens.

#remediation

Punta Soldado: Possible Futures from the Territory

Punta Soldado is an island in the Colombian Pacific, at the edge of climate displacement. We will use XR and co-creation to envision sustainable futures for this territory.

#remediation