People

Projects and People 2022

WAVES OF BUFFALO (Canada)

Waves of Buffalo is an Indigenous-led, land-based, site-specific installation that seeks to envision a future where once again, the Great Herds of Buffalo walk freely. Following indigenous story knowledge, the buffalo’s impact reaches the above ground, on the ground, and below the ground. Team members: Tasha Hubbard, Jason Ryle and Marie-Eve Marchand.

Filmmaker, Scholar

Tasha Hubbard

Tasha began renewing her relationship with buffalo in 2003, after a visit to a buffalo stone near Regina, Saskatchewan. She holds a PhD from the University of Calgary. Her academic work has been focused on the relationship between plains Indigenous peoples and the buffalo, as well as Indigenous creative expression of the buffalo, culminating in her feature documentary. The deep and multi-layered process she brings to her documentary work provides a good foundation to move into new mediums. Her creative short animation Buffalo Calling was an experimental work inspired by the journey to survival by the last free herd of buffalo. It premiered at ImagineNATIVE and was programmed to be part of an Indigenous short film program in Venice during the Biennale in 2014. Her more recent feature documentaries have won extensive awards, including the Canadian Academy award for Best Feature Documentary in 2020. In recognition of her accomplishments in film, Tasha won the Discovery Award from the Director’s Guild of Canada in 2019.
Producer, Curator

Jason Ryle

Jason Ryle brings 18 years of knowledge of Indigenous-made screen content as a programmer and arts leader. As the head of imagineNATIVE for many years, Jason has the knowledge and experience of developing and delivering impactful programming, events, and projects that serve Indigenous people, communities, and nations in Canada and around the world. After leaving imagineNATIVE in June 2020, Jason has focused on developing his practise as an artistic and creative producer, while also maintaining his artistic practise as a film programmer and curator. He envisioned and executive produced the groundbreaking “2167” VR series and is in production on a new VR series for the NFB.
Director, Buffalo Relations Institute

Marie-Eve Marchand

Marie-Eve Marchand, is the Associate Producer/Production Manager on Singing Back the Buffalo. She is the Director of the International Buffalo Relations Institute supporting the implementation of the Buffalo Treaty with over thirty indigenous communities in the Great Plains of North America and she is Business Manager and Strategy for the UICN WCPA Beyond the Aichi Task Force working globally on setting global goals for people, nature and climate. She successfully coordinated the movement to bring the plains bison back to Banff National Park and received the Golden Leaf National Award for her conservation work in Quebec. She has a Business degree and a Master in Environmental Sciences and has participated in numerous interviews and given lectures in different spaces including Yale University and World Wilderness Congress in Hawaii and Marseille.

SEABREEZE BOP CITY (United States)

Seabreeze Bop City is a place-based, collaborative project focused on addressing land use and land rights issues that stem from systemic inequalities and climate change. Seabreeze, NC, is a historic Black-owned beach community with a rich but disappearing history characterized by Black land loss, hurricane destruction, and sea-level rise. After segregation ended, and after a sequence of human-made and natural coastal disasters, Seabreeze faded as a resort community. Today, there are few physical traces left to recall the vibrancy of its heyday. Many extended Freeman family members are still in residence, though much of the property in the neighborhood is undevelopable and under threat as heirs’ property. The project seeks to reveal the history of the place through immersive media and XR technologies and by extending these tools, create innovative community design tools.

Artist, Designer

Ash Eliza Smith

Ash Eliza Smith is an artist, designer, and researcher who uses storytelling, worldbuilding, and speculative design to shape new realities.
Storyteller, Writer

Kwakiutl Dreher

Kwakiutl L. Dreher grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, and going to the beaches around Seabreeze, NC as a kid. She is a storyteller that works across many different mediums including film, animation, and VR. Kwakiutl writes about African American literature, film, visual, and popular culture.
Land Use / Urban Planner / Place-Maker

Chris Lasch

Chris Lasch is a teacher, practitioner, and researcher dedicated to experimental architecture and design. Robert Wynn is the founder and director of Land Rich, a North Carolina-based non-profit.

YEAR 2180 (United States/Brazil)

Studioteka’s 2100: A Dystopian Utopia – The City After Climate Change, presents a compelling vision of a world that has adapted successfully to 4°C climate change. Year 2180 amplifies the often unheard voices that carry solutions, empowering us in the fight for climate justice. We are harnessing the immersive power of VR in an open-world game where players make use of Indigenous knowledge and groundbreaking strategies and techniques to solve the climate crisis.

Year 2180’s rewilded cities are like nothing you’ve ever experienced before! In Wellington, you vertical farm, collect renewable energy, and tend wildlife habitats from right outside your window. In New York, you gather storm energy and help with preparations in advance of hurricanes to keep the city safe. In Johannesburg, the coexistence of humanity and nature is a reality. In São Paulo, the rainforest and city have become one. And the Yawanawà Shukuvena Village rainforest settlement is a model of Indigenous knowledge and innovative strategies. Familiarity with current village practices will help us design the 2180 settlement and create in-game activities. Referencing Indigenous futurism, knowledge, and practices paired with emerging green tech and strategies, Year 2180 will address current and future issues relating to flooding, availability of potable water, energy, and the celebration of culture through ancestral knowledge, stories and rituals that create meaning and help us understand who we are and what we can become.

Architect

Vanessa Keith

Vanessa Keith is a registered architect and Principal of Studioteka, an award-winning design firm founded in 2003. Along with years of professional practice, she has experience teaching architecture, urban design, and development practice at University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Pratt Institute, and the City College of New York. Vanessa is especially interested in the issues cities face as they adapt to climate change and envision design-oriented engineering solutions to environmental problems. Her research interests include Eco-, Afro, and Indigenous Futurism and harnessing cutting-edge tools and technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, to create life-affirming, socially just, and sustainable tomorrows. She is the author of the book 2100: A Dystopian Utopia – The City After Climate Change.

Roberto Múkaro Borrero

Roberto Múkaro Borrero has a distinguished and diverse background in policy & program development, and human rights advocacy, including a specialization on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. He retains over 25 years of experience actively engaging the United Nations system in thematic areas such as Sustainable Development; Climate Change; the Information Society; and the Organization of American States; among others. He has served on the staff of the International Indian Treaty Council and the American Museum of Natural History, as well as an independent contracting consultant for UNESCO, UNDP, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, PBS, and other notable institutions. A published writer, an accomplished artist, and musician, Borrero is a member of the Taíno Tribal Nation, an Indigenous Peoples whose traditional homelands extend through the Greater & Lesser Antilles to the Southern tip of Florida in the U.S. In 2012, he was traditionally sanctioned a kasike (chief) of the Guainía Taíno tribal community. He has an educational background in communications and cultural studies. In 2013, Borrero was awarded an honorary Doctorate Degree, Philosophy in Humanities, from Kayiwa International University, Kampala, Uganda.
Storyteller, Writer

Sachem Hawk Storm

Sachem Hawk Storm, a hereditary sachem (chief) of the Schaghticoke People, is a fierce advocate for the rights of his people, the Schaghticoke, as well as other Indigenous Peoples in the New York region and beyond. His work focuses on cultural heritage, education, and tribal sovereignty.  Sachem Hawk Storm has participated in the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, focusing on economic and social development, cultural preservation, water and food sovereignty, self-determination, human rights and environmental justice. He works in close partnership with the United Confederation of Taíno People, Ramapough Lenape Tribal Nation of New Jersey, and the Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe to strengthen unity among East Coast Indigenous relations. Sachem Hawk Storm is an advocate for environmental justice and the preservation of Indigenous land and waters. He helped lead People’s Climate marches in 2014 and 2017 as well as the Native Nations Rise March in 2017.

WILD Natures (UK)

WILD NATURES is a new artwork in development in the north of England. It is lead by socially engaged artist Hwa Young Jung and young people excluded from mainstream education in the UK working in early stage partnership with the The Howard League for Penal Reform, Dr. Will Jackson (Liverpool John Moores University), NACRO, and Natural England.

Through a co-creation gaming project the young people at risk will explore the intersection of criminal and environmental justice. An interactive gaming artwork will be co-created with the young people using socially engaged methods and driven by an approach involving workshops, with collaborators across gaming, music and performance, resulting in a large-scale interactive artwork that will have online and live exhibition iterations. Through the project we will examine ideas of what is ‘natural’, who belongs where, and how these decisions are made for humans and non-humans from the point of view of young people who have been let down by the mainstream education system. The young people’s voices are brought forward to the environmental discourse, centering their opinions on the current and future state of the planet, exploring wilding the city as part of the solution to the climate crisis.

Director, Abandon Normal Devices

Ruth McCullough

Ruth McCullough is the Director of Abandon Normal Devices with over 15 years’ experience as a commissioner and producer of pioneering artists and artworks. Prior to her time with AND, she began her career launching Digital Arts Studios in Belfast before taking up the role of Digital Media Manager at the Regional Cultural Centre, Donegal.
Artist

Hwa Young Jung

Hwa Young Jung is a multidisciplinary artist working in the arts, cultural and sciences, facilitating collaborative projects and workshops. She works with people to co-create projects, often using games and play to explore social issues. Based in the Northwest (of England) she has been producing work with a range of people (Young People in libraries, care workers, freshwater biologists, criminologists) in England and internationally for almost ten years. She is ⅓ of Domestic Science, a collective of artists exploring narratives around science and data that surrounds us everyday. She is ¼ of Re-Dock, an artist collective working with people and technology based in Liverpool & Manchester. She has worked with Universities (Lancaster, LJMU, MMU) and cultural institutions (FACT Liverpool, Metal Culture, International Slavery Museum, National Trust ) to create a mixing ground for diverse disciplines and divergent communities to come together and make something new. She received her MA from Ravensbourne College in Interactive Digital Media in 2005, worked for design agency Amoeba in Seoul, Korea for three years before that, and got a BFA from Parsons School of Design, NY in Communication Design in 2000.
Artist

Angela YT Chan

Angela YT Chan is an independent researcher, curator and artist. Her work reconfigures power in relation to the inequity of climate change, through self-archiving, rethinking geographies and speculative fiction. Her recent research-art commissions span climate framings, water scarcity and conflict, and has held residencies with Arts Catalyst, FACT/Jerwood Arts’ Digital Fellowship and Sonic Acts’ environmental research residency. Since 2014, Angela has produced curatorial projects and workshops as Worm: art + ecology, collaborating with artists, activists and youth groups. She co-founded the London Chinese Science Fiction Group and co-directs the London Science Fiction Research Community. Angela is also a research consultant, having worked in international climate and cultural policy and on climate and sustainability projects for major cultural institutions. Angela holds a joint honours undergraduate in History of Art and Scandinavian Studies with Norwegian (UCL) and an MA in Climate Change: History, Culture, Society (KCL).

100th Meridian (United States)

100th Meridian is a feature film that unpacks the hardship and conflicting interests brought on by the longest-running drought in the United States. The project follows people who are working the land as they come to terms with dwindling sources of water in three essential river basins of the American West.

Creative Technologist

Mint Boonyapanachoti

Mint Boonyapanachoti is a Bangkok-born New York-based creative technologist and 3D designer working at the intersection of storytelling, art, and technology. Her work focuses on 3D capture and immersive visualizations that push the boundaries of reality and augment the potential of visual journalism.
Storyteller, Documentarian

Jon Cohrs

Jon Cohrs is a filmmaker and technologist whose work uses public engagement, collaboration, and site-specific explorations to address issues around the environment and technology.

Organizers

Unity Technologies

Marina Psaros

Marina Psaros is the head of sustainability at Unity Technologies and the author of The Atlas of Disappearing Places: Our Coasts and Oceans in the Climate Crisis. Psaros is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Arsht-Rock Resilience Center and is a recipient of the C40 Cities award for San Francisco’s clean energy initiatives. She has led climate change action programs across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors for over fifteen years, including co-PI positions through NSF, NOAA, and state and regional agencies. She holds a Master’s Degree in urban planning and environmental policy from MIT and an undergraduate degree in political science from UCLA. Her mission is to unite science, creativity, and technology to solve our most pressing environmental issues.
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.
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.

RESPONDENTS

Crossoverlabs

Mark Atkin

Mark heads up Interactive at CPH:DOX, Denmark, and curates the immersive exhibition at Silbersalz Science and Media Festival in Germany. He recently established Electric Dreams, a festival dedicated to Immersive Storytelling, with its editions in London, Adelaide and online. He runs Labs and workshops around the world designed to empower the creative community to express themselves through digital technologies. He has produced 10 theatrically-released documentaries and his award-winning immersive and interactive work has been exhibited at major arts institutions around the world.
Artist

Marisa Jahn

An artist, filmmaker, and creative technologist of Ecuadorian and Chinese descent, Marisa Morán Jahn’s artworks redistribute power, “exemplifying the possibilities of art as social practice” (ArtForum). Characterizing her playful approach, MIT CAST writes, ‘[Jahn] introduces a trickster-like humor into public spaces and discourses, and yet it is a humor edged with political potency.” She is the founder of Studio REV-, a non-profit organization that codesigns public art and creative media co-designed with low-wage workers, immigrants, and women. With Rafi Segal, Jahn is the co-author of the forthcoming book, Design Solidarity: Conversations on Collective Futures (Columbia University Press). Jahn lectures internationally and regularly teaches at Columbia University, MIT (her alma mater), Parsons/The New School where she is an Assistant Professor and the Director of the Integrated Design program.
Doc Society, Chief Executive

Jess Search

Jess is the Chief Executive of Doc Society. Before that, she was a Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 and a founder of Shooting People, the online filmmakers network. She is also a board member of the UK think tank IPPR and has an MBA from Cass Business School. Jess likes to moderate for IDFA, the Skoll World Forum, the Trust Women conference and Doc Society’s Good Pitch. Jess works with independent film-makers globally, to help them tackle challenging subjects and ambitious stories by providing funding and other support. Credits include Oscar nominated CITIZENFOUR, Virunga, Whose Streets, Hooligan Sparrow, The Square and The Look of Silence.
Duke University

Stephanie Owen

Stephanie Owens’ background stretches from creator to curation. Her experience as a filmmaker, photographer, and film festival programmer has equipped her with insight into various forms of storytelling and the multifaceted needs of filmmakers and artists. She has programmed for Sundance, Palm Springs ShortFest, LA Film Festival, IDA’s Getting Real Conference, and has also participated in festival and funding juries. Owens is driven to support distinct voices from emerging and BIPOC filmmakers and artists working in nonfiction. She’s excited to cultivate spaces that encourage and uplift artists developing their own language to tell stories and pushing the boundaries of form. Her personal work is rooted in collaboration with the people she records, often exposing the relationship between filmmaker and protagonist. Owens is continuously pulled to explore what it means to be both here and there—a part of and apart. She has a BA from the University of Virginia and MFA in Art and Film/Video from California Institute of the Arts.
Climate Story Lab, Doc Society

Julian Etienne

Julian is a cultural organizer from northeastern Mexico fostering diversity in storytelling and transformative encounters between media and the public(s). At Doc Society he works as Climate Story Fund Officer. He has undertaken film programming projects since 2009. He joined Ambulante in 2018 where he held different positions involving programming, outreach, impact, and fund-raising responsibilities. Julian studied linguistics in Mexico City and attended graduate school in Information Studies at the University of Arizona and in Media Studies at UT Austin. He writes occasionally on media cultures. He enjoys road biking and all things documentary in cinema, radio, theatre, and literature. He lives with his wife and son in Brussels.
American University, Associate Professor

Ben Stokes

Benjamin Stokes’ recent book is “Locally Played: Real-World Games for Stronger Places.” He is an associate professor with the Game Center at American University, where he leads the Playful City Lab. He is one of the original co-founders of Games for Change. Previously, Benjamin worked at the MacArthur Foundation in their portfolio on Digital Media and Learning. His designs for cities have been featured in the Smithsonian and the Guggenheim, from repurposed payphones to crowd-mapping by bicycle.
Artist

Lena Thiele

Lena Thiele, writer and creative director of the Berlin-based creative studio Miiqo Studios has developed socially relevant and internationally acclaimed immersive media formats for over 25 years. At the intersection of storytelling, digital technologies and art, her work is characterized by an interdisciplinary, holistic, systemic approach to create new emotional perspectives to the complex issues of our time. Her productions received numerous awards such as the SXSW Innovation Award for the best visual media experience, Grimme Online Award or Japan Prize. Lena Thiele´s latest project, the VR-Experience “Myriad. Where we connect.” reached the official selection of the “Venice VR Expanded” section of the 78th Venice International Film Festival among other international awards and nominations. Lena Thiele additionally works as a trainer for international programs and universities and as consultant to the international media industry. In recent years, she has served multiple times as a member of the jury for the International Digital Emmy® Award non-fiction category and was part of the jury for the Grimme Online Awards as well as to serve as permanent member on the Grimme Institute’s Advisory Committee. Since 2016 Lena Thiele holds a professorship for “Digital Narrative– Art & Design” at the” ifs international filmschool cologne”, Germany. She is responsible for initiating and designing the international MA-syllabus in Digital Narratives.
Music Center, Senior Director, Digital Innovation

Kamal Sinclair

Kamal Sinclair supports artists, institutions, and communities working at the convergence of art, media, culture, and technology. Currently, she serves as the Senior Director of Digital Innovation at The Music Center in Los Angeles, which is home to TMC Arts, Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles Master Chorale, LA Opera, and LA Phil. Additionally, she serves as an advisor or board member to Peabody Awards interactive Board, For Freedoms, NEW INC.’s ONX Studio, Civic Signals, For Freedoms, MIT’s Center for Advanced Virtuality, Starfish Accelerator, Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation, and Eyebeam. Previously, she was the Director of Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Labs Program, External Advisor to Ford Foundation’s JustFilms and MacArthur Foundation’s Journalism & Media Program, Adjunct Professor at USC’s Media Arts + Practice program, and Executive Director of the Guild of Future Architects. She is the co-author of Making a New Reality. Sinclair got her start in emerging media as an artist and producer on Question Bridge: Black Males, where she and her collaborators launched a project with an interactive website and curriculum; published a book; exhibited in over sixty museums/festivals.
CampfireNYC

Mike Monello

Mike Monello is a pioneer in digital marketing and storytelling. He was one of the creators of the Blair Witch Project – a movie that forever changed how audiences engage with story, and how marketers approach the internet. Mike founded Campfire in 2006 and leads the creative team, working with some of the world’s biggest and most prestigious brands including HBO, Harley Davidson, Infiniti, National Geographic, FX, Verizon and more. His work has been awarded top honors at the One Show, Clio, Mixx, ad:Tech, Effies, and Cannes Lions.
Doc Society, Director

Megha Sood

Megha Agrawal Sood believes in the power of sharing stories and building unexpected collaborations to inspire action. She is a Director at Doc Society and leads the Climate Story Unit, a new initiative to support productions and impact campaigns of climate-themed stories across the globe. Megha’s previous work experience includes leading impact programming at the film company, Exposure Labs, and helping purpose-driven organizations grow at the innovation firm, IDEO. She was raised in Sugar Land, Texas, is a graduate of Northwestern University, and is currently based in Boulder, Colorado.

LIGHTNING TALKS

MIT ODL and CMS

William Urrichio

William Uricchio revisits the histories of old media when they were new; explores interactive and participatory documentary; writes about the past and future of television; thinks about algorithms and archives; and researches narrative in immersive and interactive settings. He is Professor of Comparative Media Studies, founder and Principal Investigator of the MIT Open Documentary Lab, and Principal Investigator of the Co-Creation Studio. He was also Professor of Comparative Media History at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and has held visiting professorships at the Freie Universität Berlin, Stockholm University, the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Lichtenberg-Kolleg), China University of Science and Technology, and in Denmark where he was DREAM professor. He has received Guggenheim, Humboldt, and Fulbright fellowships, the Berlin Prize, and the Mercator Prize. His publications include Reframing Culture; We Europeans? Media, Representations, Identities; Die Anfänge des deutschen Fernsehens; Media Cultures; Many More Lives of the Batman; Collective Wisdom: Co-Creating Media Within Communities, across Disciplines and with Algorithms, and hundreds of essays and book chapters, including a visual “white paper” on the documentary impulse (momentsofinnovation.mit.edu). He is currently leading a two-year research initiative on augmentation and public spaces with partners in Montreal and Amsterdam.
Marshmallow Laser Feast

Eleanor Whitely

Eleanor (Nell) Whitley has a reputation for driving forward ambitious work in a variety of forms – live events, art installations & digital media – her collaborations with Marshmallow Laser Feast (where she is Executive Producer) demonstrate a unique vision for the future of creative experiences. She has produced the critically acclaimed In the Eyes of the Animal (Sundance New Frontier 2016, Wired Award for Innovation in Experience Design) and other mixed reality works including; Chameleon (IDFA Doclab 2016), A Colossal Wave (SXSW 2018), Treehugger (Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes Award 2017) and most recently We Live in an Ocean of Air (Saatchi gallery) and Sweet Dreams (Sundance New Frontier 2019). She is a governor of the British Film Institute.
Unity Technologies, Senior Manager, Enterprise Solution Architecture

Elizabeth Baron

Elizabeth Baron leads Enterprise Solution Architecture at Unity Technologies. She manages the development of Digital Twin Enterprise Solutions for Manufacturing, Automotive and Transportation, based on the innovative Unity platform that connects knowledge with experience for cross-functional teams. She is also the Chair of ACM SIGGRAPH, an international community advocating for advancements in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Elizabeth was a Technical Specialist in Immersive Realities at Ford. She is the inventor of the Ford immersive Vehicle Environment process and technology, providing contextual data and real time global immersion, uniting teams for holistic problem solving. Elizabeth was awarded Ford’s highest award honoring her career in immersive visualization and her technical leadership. She has received the SIGGRAPH Practitioner Award, for contributions to industrial design in multiple industries, and was inducted into SIGGRAPH Academy. She is an XR Ignite Mentor, a member of Ford Retired Engineering Executives (FREE), and adjunct lecturer at Kansas University Center for Design Research.
Forensic Architectures

Samaneh Moafi

As Forensic Architecture’s Senior Researcher, Samaneh provides conceptual oversight across projects and oversees the Centre for Contemporary Nature. Her research is focused on developing new evidentiary techniques for environmental violence. She holds a PhD from The Architectural Association (AA), and a a BA and MA in Architecture from the University of Technology, Sydney. Samaneh’s PhD thesis examined struggle and resistance from the home, with a particular focus on gender and class relations in Iran. Before joining Forensic Architecture in 2015, Samaneh practiced as an architect in Australia, taught BA Architecture at the University of Technology, Sydney, MArch Urban Design at the Bartlett School, University College, London, and led a number of short courses at the Royal College of Arts and the AA.
AI Climate Justice Lab at University of Florida, Banks Preeminence Chair of AI and the Arts, Digital Worlds Institute, University of Florida

Amelia Winger-Bearskin

Amelia Winger-Bearskin is an artist who innovates with artificial intelligence in ways that make a positive impact on our community and the environment. She 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 the inventor of Honor Native Sky, a project for the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture: Honor Native Land Initiative. She founded Wampum.Codes which is both an award-winning podcast and an ethical framework for software development based on indigenous values of co-creation. Wampum.codes was awarded a Mozilla Fellowship embedded at the MIT Co-Creation Studio from 2019-2020 and was featured at the 2021 imagineNative festival. She continued her research in 2021 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).
SPHERICAL

Dawn Danby

Dawn Danby investigates technologies for regenerating the health and integrity of Earth’s living systems. She is co-founder of Spherical, an integrative research and design strategy studio based in Oakland, California. Dawn’s work as a designer and strategist traverses scales, from green chemistry to urban design. For a decade, leading Autodesk’s sustainable design initiatives, she focused on the development and use of advanced technology for managing the ecological and human impact of design decisions.
MIT, Associate Professor

Noelle Selin

Noelle Selin is a Professor with a joint appointment in the Institute for Data, Systems and Society (IDSS), and with the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. She is also the Director of the Technology and Policy Program, and Associate Director of IDSS. Her research uses atmospheric chemistry modeling to inform decision-making on air pollution, climate change and hazardous substances such as mercury and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Previously, she was a research scientist with the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. In addition to her scientific work, she has published articles and book chapters on the interactions between science and policy in international environmental negotiations, in particular focusing on global efforts to regulate hazardous substances. She was also a research associate with the Initiative on Science and Technology for Sustainability at Harvard’s Kennedy School, a visiting researcher at the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, Denmark, and worked on chemicals issues at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
MIT Urban Planning and Architecture, Professor of the Practice of Civic Design at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT

Ceasar McDowell

Ceasar L. McDowell is a Professor of the Practice of Civic Design at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. He is also Special Advisor to MIT’s Media Lab. His current work is on the design of civic infrastructures and processes to connect the increasingly demographically complex public. He co-host the TheMove a podcast series on civic design. At DUSP, Ceasar teaches on civic and community engagement and the use of social media to enhance both. Ceasar brings his deep commitment to the work of building beloved, just and equitable communities that are able to – as his friend Carl Moore says – ”struggle with traditions that bind and the interests that separate in order to build a future that is an equitable improvement on the past.” Ceasar is the founder of MIT’s CoLab and Civic Designers consulting. He served as Director of the global civic engagement organization Dropping Knowledge International, President of Interaction Institute for Social Change, co-founder of The Civil Rights Forum on Telecommunications Policy, and founding Board member of The Algebra Project. Ceasar is also a musician and filmmaker.
USAID, Chief Climate Officer and Deputy Assistant Administrator

Gillian Caldwell

Gillian serves as the Chief Climate Officer and is responsible for directing and overseeing all climate and environment work across the agency. She also serves as Deputy Assistant Administrator, overseeing DDI’s Center for Environment, Energy, and Infrastructure and the Office of Environmental and Social Risk Management. Ms. Caldwell has worked to protect human rights and the environment throughout her career. Prior to joining USAID, she served as the CEO of Global Witness, which has a focus on tackling climate change and deploys investigations into corruption and natural resource extraction to drive systems change worldwide. From 2007-2010, she launched and led 1Sky, a highly collaborative cross-sector campaign with over 600 allied organizations to pass legislation in the U.S. to address the climate crisis. Gillian also has extensive experience consulting in the areas of strategic planning and organizational development with over 70 non-profits, foundations, and universities. Ms. Caldwell has a B.A. from Harvard University and a J.D. from Georgetown University, where she was recognized as a Public Interest Law Scholar. She has received a series of awards recognizing her work as a leading global Social Entrepreneur.
MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing, Research Scientist

Mikael Jakobsson

Mikael conducts research at the intersection of game design and game culture. He investigates how gaming activities fit into social and cultural practices, and how this knowledge can inform the design and development process. He works with MIT Game Lab, where he also teaches classes in game studies and game design.

HANDS-ON SESSION DESIGNERS

Specialization: Planning

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.
Specialization: Climate

Marina Psaros

Marina Psaros is the head of sustainability at Unity Technologies and the author of The Atlas of Disappearing Places: Our Coasts and Oceans in the Climate Crisis. Psaros is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Arsht-Rock Resilience Center and is a recipient of the C40 Cities award for San Francisco’s clean energy initiatives. She has led climate change action programs across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors for over fifteen years, including co-PI positions through NSF, NOAA, and state and regional agencies. She holds a Master’s Degree in urban planning and environmental policy from MIT and an undergraduate degree in political science from UCLA. Her mission is to unite science, creativity, and technology to solve our most pressing environmental issues.
Specialization: Story/UX

Paisley Smith

Paisley Smith is a Canadian filmmaker & virtual reality creator from Vancouver, British Columbia, the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish First Nations. Paisley is the creator of Unceded Territories with artist and activist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, and Homestay, produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Homestay is the recipient of ‘Best XR’ for Change at the Games for Change Festival 2019.  Paisley leads the Unity for Humanity Program at Unity Technologies. Paisley uses worldbuilding skills to design solutions for deeper connection, and to imagine our Feminist Future.
Specialization: Tech/Worlds

Thomas Winkley

Thomas Winkley is an audio engineer, podcast producer and, Street Fighter junkie. As a Unity Certified Instructor and Programmer, he finds joy in teaching others skills and helping them skill up in whatever areas they prefer. He’s always ready to talk video production and Game Development
Specialization: Co-Creation

Katerina Cizek

Amelia Winger-Bearskin is an artist who innovates with artificial intelligence in ways that make a positive impact on our community and the environment. She 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 the inventor of Honor Native Sky, a project for the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture: Honor Native Land Initiative. She founded Wampum.Codes which is both an award-winning podcast and an ethical framework for software development based on indigenous values of co-creation. Wampum.codes was awarded a Mozilla Fellowship embedded at the MIT Co-Creation Studio from 2019-2020 and was featured at the 2021 imagineNative festival. She continued her research in 2021 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).

MENTORS AND OPEN DOCUMENTARY LAB FELLOWS

Project: 100th Meridian

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.
Project: Waves of Buffalo

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.
Project: Seabreeze

Shirin Anlen

Shirin Anlen is a creative technologist, researcher and artist based in New York. Her creative practice explores the societal implications of emerging technology, with a focus on internet platforms and artificial intelligence. She is the Media Technologist at WITNESS’s Technology Threats and Opportunities program.
Project: Wild Natures

Max Musau

“I build and distribute video games at Jiwe Interactive. A one of a kind Afro-centric game developer, distributor and esports organisation. After 10 years in technology, I have designed and launched 3 digital platforms and I enjoy creating and engaging in creative learning experiences, experimenting, and prototyping with technology. I have also designed 2 community learning and innovation programs and centers around Kenya and launched the first Microsoft App-Factory in Kenya, I enjoy supporting and mentoring technology communities helping them to connect and be more creative and productive by engaging them in new and playful learning experiences. To which I Co-Founded the Africa Creative Coding and Learning Foundation based in Nairobi. In short, I like to build things, explore the creative construction process, through experimentation.”

 

Project: Year 2180

Rashin Fahandej

Rashin Fahandej is an Iranian-American artist, immersive storyteller, and assistant professor of emerging and interactive media at Emerson College. Her projects center on marginalized voices and the role of media, technology, and public collaboration in generating emotional connections to drive social change. A proponent of “Art as Ecosystem,” she defines her projects as “Poetic Cyber Movement for Social Justice,” where art mobilizes a plethora of voices by creating connections between public places and virtual spaces. She is the recipient of 2021 Prix Ars Electronica Festival Award of Distinction in Digital Musics & Sound Ars and the Institute of Contemporary Arts’ James and Audrey Foster Prize (2019), Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship. And her projects are supported by Boston Mayor’s Office, MIT Open Documentary Lab, ThoughtWorks Arts and Scatter VR , Framingham Cultural Council, and Boston Center for the Arts Public. Fahandej is the founder of “A Father’s Lullaby, “ a multiyear initiative that interrogates structural racism in the criminal justice system since 2015. At Emerson College, she has launched a pioneering XR Co-Creation initiative where students, formerly incarcerated fathers, probation officers, and their children co-create personal documentary projects to speak to the social challenge of mass incarceration using AR, VR, and 360° technology. As a lead artist at American Arts Incubator-Austria Fahandej formed “Future of Inclusion Lab” in partnership with Ars Electronica; an experimental virtual laboratory to incubate ideas and project prototypes that aim for collective and radical imaginations of our social systems, centered on art, emerging technology, and community co-creation.